An Introduction to Sustainability + Interior Design
There are more conversations today about sustainability than ever before. That’s a great thing! But sometimes those conversations are filled with lots of technical jargon, acronyms, and big words that don’t always make sense to the consumer. Instead, let’s keep it simple and approach sustainability by using language that we can all understand. Sustainability consists of the materials that products are made of, how those materials are sourced, and how they affect people and the indoor environment. We'll start by understanding how toxins in the indoor environment are related to sustainability and interior design.
Truth: Toxins in the indoor environment are bad!
The most common indoor air contaminants come from sources that we least expect them to come from. Carpet, paint, and furnishings are just a few. All these products can produce off-gassing. Off-gassing is the release of chemicals from the stuff we bring into our homes, or that our homes are actually made of. These chemicals are known as Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs for short. These chemicals can cause symptoms such as allergies and headaches, as well as potentially lead to greater health problems.
What can you do? You can start by informing yourself about what’s in the products that you’re buying. Think of it like organic food versus non-organic food. Or food that isn’t filled with unhealthy preservatives. By consciously choosing to use products that are made of sustainable materials, you are choosing to invest in your health and the health of those around you.
How can you incorporate sustainable design into your interior environment? This is my favorite part! Why? Because the possibilities are endless. Sustainable materials include bamboo, tile, quartz, reclaimed wood, and metals that can all be used in products such as flooring, countertops, wall coverings, and furniture. These products are considered sustainable because they are made of either recycled, reclaimed, or natural materials, are responsibly sourced, or use fewer chemicals. Sustainable interior design goes even further than that into energy efficient lighting, daylighting, organic textiles, air purifying plants, and more!
There’s a lot you can do and so much room for you to be creative. As I like to say, “Sustainability is not a trend. It's a movement that's here to stay. We're transforming the way the world looks at sustainability through interior design.”