At a time when the world is battling issues like overpopulation, climate change, global warming, plastic pollution and rampant environmental destruction, our baby steps towards a sustainable lifestyle can actually contribute in creating an impact and saving our ONLY home, the earth.
It is said charity begins at home. Talking about home, the first thing that comes to the mind is the interior, the décor. And what better than opting for a home décor that’s eco-friendly and sustainable?
Sustainable home décor benefits us in a number of ways. First and foremost, it has very little or zero negative impact on the environment. Also, it prevents emission of harmful chemicals in our home and also helps us save energy. Also, mostly coming from upcycled or recycled materials, they are easier on the pocket.
But not just the environment, they leave a positive impact on your health and living also, says Pune-based Interior Designer and Makeover Expert Swati Sinha.
“Eco-friendly interiors give you breathable space; they are affordable, require a very low maintenance and are naturally available most of the times. Also, they are durable and last for a lifetime. They are beneficial not only for the environment but also for your health,” Swati told The CSR Journal.
“Even 5-6 years ago, people used to think that we have to spend a lot on home décor and we must opt for luxurious, clean and shiny finished look of the interior. But the taste is changing. Nowadays people want a modern look as well as organic and traditional things. For example, for the accent wall, people want a traditional, old brick wall. For furniture, they want to go for bamboo, cane or jute finish for example cane racks, jute planters or bamboo lampshades. For furnishings also, they want materials like cotton, linen etc. which breathe easily and look clean.
Even for the paint, oil based paint will give your interior the shiny look but they come with side effects. For example, if you stay for longer hours in a room having oil based paint, you will get a headache. So, this is not good both for your health and the environment. Even for home décor, we use old or antique furniture pieces by giving them a natural shine or structure,” she explained.
“These days the most high demand interior design is called modern organic design, which is a mixture of old traditional natural materials and modern aesthetics. Modern aesthetics comprises clean finished lines but it should have some organic elements like marble, oak wood, jute, i.e., mix of something that is already available.
DIY is basically what we ourselves do with things which are already available with us and we try to create something new. It can be a small furniture piece or any décor item. This saves cost and increases our thinking and creativity. Also, you can try something out of the box and customize it as per your requirement. In every project I add minimum 2-3 DIY items as per the client’s requirement,” informed the interior designer.
Avoid oil based wall paint
Oil based wall paint may look bright and glossy but they contain toxic and harmful chemicals which can enhance health problems like asthma and other respiratory problems, skin rashes or hormonal changes. They are particularly unhealthy for children and pet animals. How to choose a sustainable home décor?
“For any room that you pick up, be it a bedroom or living room, the first thing is the wall paint. The separately coloured accent wall enhances the look of the room. The other walls will complement it and make the room look bigger. If we are going for an eco-friendly home décor, we would definitely go for a paint that is very natural and not oil based or something that is mixed with harmful chemicals. Nowadays we mostly opt for water based paint that is free from chemicals and give the home a clean finished look. I normally suggest very light and natural colour paint that will make the room larger and spacious,” said the designer.
Natural materials and multipurpose furniture
“For the furniture pieces, multipurpose furniture like sofa cum bed, table cum sitting stool save both space and cost. For furniture I would suggest oak wood and mango wood which give a natural feel to it. Natural materials like marble, stone finish wall or natural brick wall are highly in demand. These give the house a natural look and also environment friendly,” she added.
Keeping indoor plants
“It is important to explain the importance of sustainable home décor to people. I always do that. They will only understand once you do it,” said Swati.
“After painting and carpentry is done, the way you decorate and arrange your furniture and placement of the things is very important. It should show most of the open space so that natural light and fresh air can travel into the room. Keeping a plant inside the room naturally elevates the entire space. Natural plants are always in trend, they will never go out. If you have a bare wall, just hang 5-6 plants on it, it will automatically uplift the look of the room,” she expressed.
At a time when multiple Indian cities are complaining of poor to very poor air quality and the issue of air pollution making headlines every day, it is important to plant trees in an attempt to make the urban areas greener. However, ensuring circulation of fresh oxygen in our indoors is equally important both for the environment as well as for our health.
“I would suggest keeping outdoor plants in the balcony as they mostly require sunlight and air. For indoors, you can keep Snake Plant, Aloe Vera, Spider, Peace Lily, Money Plant, they circulate oxygen inside the room. So, they’re healthy for us as well as eco-friendly. I would always suggest going for these plants for indoors,” the interior designer signed off.