Sustainable styling doesn’t mean that you have to compromise the look of your home. The good news is that there are many furniture and décor items - old and new - to suit your needs and home if you have an interest in sustainable design.

The key design principles of sustainable décor is keeping quality furniture and accessories for the long-term and sourcing them ethically. This means moving away from mass-produced items found in large department stores which have a short life cycle – items often thrown out and replaced every couple of years. Being more conscious of your choices is easy. Here are six tips to help you make more sustainable choices when decorating your new, eco-friendly home:

1.    Shop at op shops rather than giant retailers for decorative items. Where else will you find something truly one of a kind? Australian op shops can be hit and miss, but eventually, you’ll walk into one and find the right piece that’s perfect for your style. Even when you need to find items such as baskets and tubs for storage, op shops are affordable and perfect for sustainable living.

A woman browsing through an op shop looking for some hidden treasures!


2.    If op-shops aren’t your thing, head out to local art and craft markets. These markets are full of local art, homemade goods, candles, soaps and other goodies made from sustainable materials. You’ll be supporting your local craftspeople as well and picking up something unique.

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3.    If you have furniture you love but it’s in the wrong colour or fabric for current trends – don’t throw it out! There are plenty of ways to reuse furniture and other household décor items, whether it be giving them a fresh coat of paint, a new stain, or even replacing upholstery. If you do choose to paint, look for low or zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, as they have a smaller environmental impact.

4.    Use real plants inside the home! Not only do real, living plants look fantastic, but they also help to freshen up the air and bring nature inside. There are plenty of plants that thrive in indoor environments, including succulents, peace lilies, spider and snake plants, aloe vera and other low water use species. Plus, watering plants is a fun activity for young kids in the family home.

A variety of succulents, including some cactus, on a coffee table in front of a couch.


5.    If you do buy home décor products, buy something for life. Try to find items that are built with the best quality materials as they will last in your home longer and lessen your impact on landfill and the environment. Choosing items in natural tones and organic form will mean they are less likely to date. If these items have an electrical component, buying better quality often results in more energy efficient appliances too.

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6.    Re-use glass jars for storage purposes. Rather than throwing out the old jars every time they’re empty, use them to store other items around the house. You can even paint the lids to match the existing décor in your home or use them as vases. Less waste is the backbone of a sustainable house.

Multiple jars, reused to store pasta, oats and more.
A recycled jar used as a vase for some yellow flowers.

 

Following the above tips will help to reduce the number of items that we send off to landfill each year. While current trends can change at a rapid pace, there’s no reason that we can’t update our homes to be on style while keeping sustainability front of mind. Building a sustainable home isn't just about solar panels and renewable energy - what goes into your new home matters too! 


If you’re interested in sustainable home design and sustainable features, check out Metricon’s Zero Net Carbon Home in Victoria.