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Eco-friendly Interior Design

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					Interior design is all about creating aesthetically pleasing spaces that are safe,
practical and in harmony with the rest of the surroundings. In order to carry this out
effectively we must source the best materials, furniture and fixtures and fittings for
the job, and in doing so, we inevitably have an impact on the environment albeit
inadvertently.

These days with so much emphasis being placed on global climate change, reducing
consumption, and recycling, interior design can be a bit daunting if we want to limit
our carbon footprint and still get the effect we want. However, armed with the right
information, it needn't be a big challenge and we can still create beautiful rooms that
are stylish, healthy and that are environmentally friendly too. So where do we begin?

First of all it's important to note that every single thing we buy has an impact on the
environment somewhere along the line either, from the way they are extracted,
manufactured and processed, or from the distances they have to travel to end up in our
home. Take for example paint, wood, glass, metal, textiles and furniture, each of
which can have a negative impact if we don't know what to look out for but with a
little effort and forethought, we are able to find eco friendly alternatives.

Paint

Conventional paint contains solvents and lot of other harsh chemicals and toxins but it
is possible to source paints that have a reduced effect on the environment and that
don't contain solvents, which are not only a much healthier option as they won't
release harmful gases into your home and the atmosphere, they can be just as
effective.

Wood

If possible, try to buy wood that is grown in a local forest so it doesn't have to travel
long distances to end up in your home. Also, choose woods that don't have a negative
effect on the environment. Look out for the FSC symbol which stands for Forestry
Stewardship Council, an international non-profit organisation that will ensure that
when you buy you will not be contributing to global forest destruction and threatening
the livelihoods of people who depend on the forest or timber to survive.

Glass and Metal

Glass and metal are fairly easy to recycle and one of the advantages of both is that in
most cases they can be recycled over and over again without losing any quality. Using
recycled glass and metal helps reduce the amount of resources needed to produce
these materials from scratch, also the process of recycling uses a lot less energy than
what is required to make new glass and metal.
Textiles

Textile production can include processes like dying and bleaching which uses a lot of
energy and will produce toxic gases which are then released into the environment not
to mention the harmful pesticides that are often used whilst growing the raw materials.
The main things to consider when choosing an eco friendly option is how renewable
the product is, in other words, can it be replenished quickly, whether the product is
dyed or if natural dyes are used, and whether a lot of chemicals are required to
produce it. Some of the more eco friendly choices include organic cotton, wool and
hemp although there are many others available too.

Furniture

How eco friendly your furniture is will depend on the material it is made from, how it
is processed and what finishes have been used, so choose carefully. Consider buying
second hand furniture or items made from recycled or reclaimed materials and doing
them up as this helps to keep existing items in circulation and reduces the amount of
perfectly useful items ending up in landfill.

When sourcing eco friendly materials for your interior design project, try to stick to
the following guidelines:

- Buy from local producers and suppliers as much as possible as the less distance an
item has to travel, the lower the impact on the environment

- Consider the type of materials you choose and whether they come from renewable
and sustainable energy sources

- Avoid materials that contain chemical additives or that use a lot of energy during
manufacturing processes

- When buying new items, try as much as possible to choose products that can be
readily recycled after use or that can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly
manner

- Consider low energy or energy saving devices and buy as much as you can from
recycled or reclaimed materials

Finally, as a result of the massive amount of publicity given to global warming and
the need for conservation of energy, many producers make claims about their products
that are misleading or even false so check out the credentials of any suppliers
claiming that their products are certified as natural, organic or eco friendly.

				
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