By: Julie Hartman
Julie Hartman is a Senior Interior Designer at Vertical Interior Design Studio. She enjoys incorporating sustainable design elements into all of her designs to create functional, healthy spaces to live and work in.
As we move into 2023 and beyond, one trend that will be here to stay is sustainable design. In fact, sustainable design will move beyond a trend and become the norm as the demand for sustainable, good for the environment, and healthy designs increases. With that in mind, let’s discuss sustainable design and how to incorporate it into everyday spaces!
what is sustainable design?
Sustainable Design is any design made with the effort to reduce the number of negative impacts on the environment in mind. And shouldn’t that always be on consumers’ and designers’ minds? Sustainable design seeks to cut-out waste and use products that are healthy for the environment and the people using them. A sustainably designed space is also made to improve the space’s performance and create a healthy space to work and live in.
Sustainable design should really become the norm, as the need for sustainably made products is high, the time to use them is now, and sustainable products and materials are more affordable and accessible than ever. Soon sustainable interior design will simply be called “interior design”.
how do you create a sustainably designed space?
Incorporating sustainable products and materials into any design is easier now more than ever, as many companies have embraced sustainability efforts when sourcing their materials and creating their products.
A simple and sustainable way to design a space is to find ways to reuse and repurpose antiques and other furniture. Both residential and commercial spaces can use current or second-hand furniture and accessories by giving them a fresh look with new paint, stain, cushions, or hardware, and more! A newly designed space doesn’t need all new and furniture and accessories. Not only does, repurposing and recycling decreases waste, but it adds character to any space! For example, you can add fresh paint and new hardware to outdated cabinetry to give them an updated look without getting brand-new cabinets and wasting the older cabinet wood. Designers can use their creativity to make one-of-a-kind spaces by repurposing and renewing older products and elements in a new design. Making old look new is an easy and affordable way to be sustainable!
Another simple way to think sustainably when designing a space is to consider the materials used. Swapping out standard materials for more sustainable options is easy to do as many manufacturers are taking on green initiatives. Just in the past few years, we have seen a huge increase in the number of sustainable materials to choose from. For example, when offering wall covering options to clients, you can intentionally choose coverings made from recycled materials. As you start to intentionally seek out sustainable products for your designs, you’ll likely find certain brands or companies that you love with wonderful products and great sustainability practices.
sustainable design elements–designer favorites
As mentioned, there are more sustainable options available every day for designers to choose from. For flooring, Interface provides excellent options for carpets, as well as their LVT flooring line. This company was one of the first to begin spearheading sustainable practices in their business plan–all the way back in 1994. They are now the first global flooring manufacturer to sell all products as carbon neutral across their full life cycle.
Another well-loved sustainable brand is Light Art. They have a lighting collection called “Coil” which is made from reclaimed ocean plastic. It’s great to know that their light pieces are made from recycled material and are not adding waste to our environment. These are just two examples of brands with entire lines of products you can choose from for your designs. The more you incorporate sustainable practices into your interior designs, the more amazing brands and one-of-a-kind products you’ll find!
A great way to add a unique, green (literally!) element into a space is by creating a Living Wall. Living Walls are walls of moss or other greenery that add beautiful dimension to a space. They are wonderful for acoustics and increase the air quality in the space. They’re also a great way to use organic materials in design! Another fun idea is using cork for a wall covering or an eye-catching wall piece. There are so many materials that you can get creative with to add dimension and beauty to a space. These wall ideas are always show-stoppers and conversation starters when added to a room!
sustainable design is the responsible way forward
In the past, many designers and consumers have been deterred from sustainable products and design because of cost, or because they thought it was a trend that would go out of style quickly. The great news is that sustainable products are much more accessible and affordable now! And sustainability is far from a trend–it is here to stay, and for good reason. We have a limited number of resources on our planet, and it will be even more limited for our children. We must turn from trend to habit when it comes to designing spaces with sustainability in mind and keeping sustainable practices throughout our lives.
As interior designers, it can be simple to make this responsible change in designs. Swap out harmful materials for better ones, repurpose and reuse as much as possible, and your clients may not even realize that you’re intentionally creating a more sustainable space for them.
Call Vertical Interior Design Studio today to get expert advice and recommendations on Sustainable Design for your residential or commercial space!