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Upgrade: 9 Tips for Sustainable Interior Design

Whether you need easy tips to help your client create a more sustainable home, or you are a DIYer with a clear vision in mind, we have effortless ways to incorporate sustainable design elements in your home.

1. Save energy from the start

The most important thing you can do to create a more sustainable home is to decrease the use of energy — one of the major contributors to climate change — not to mention, steeper utility bills. Designers and DIY'ers can gain more control over lighting and heating by using smart energy solutions like Nest, which is designed to help you reduce energy use without having to think about it (another major plus!). Also, consider adding a throw rug (the larger the better) as it helps insulate the room and retain 10% of the room’s heat.

2. Update your appliances

Speaking of energy, appliances play a big part in going green. Mindfully selecting appliances provides a tangible way to reduce your footprint. When thinking refrigerators, try using to just one for your home. This can be a challenge when you have a big family, but they are a huge energy source, so it's better to get a larger fridge than adding multiples. GE makes great energy-saving refrigerators, clothes washers, dishwashers, and electric ovens that feature the dual benefit of cutting costs and being more resource-efficient.. (Look for Energy Star washers, which can reduce energy and water consumption by more than 40% compared to conventional machines.)

Image: iAlicante Mediterranean Homes

3. Don’t forget the shower

There is no surprise that we waste a lot of water taking showers. Home Depot has a whole micro-site dedicated to water conservation, offering a host of water-saving options. According to Home Depot, “In the U.S. alone, we consume nearly five billion gallons of water daily. New high-efficiency showerheads use less water than standard models without sacrificing performance, helping you conserve water and save on energy.” (Just look for the WATERSENSE® label.)

4. Swap out your window treatments

Window coverings, blinds and shades also play a part when creating a more sustainable living space. The materials you choose for your windows also have a lot to do with maintaining the ideal temperature of your home, by maintaining the temperature you set, rather than letting outside heat or cold seep in. Hunter Douglas created energy-efficient shades to help better insulate your home. 

5. Go minimalist

Less consumption means less energy used. Decluttering and organizing your space creates more space for sustainability and purposeful purchases.

6. Choose eco-friendly furniture

Opt for furniture and decor that’s been previously loved, or made with use eco-friendly materials, following sustainable practices. We love sustainable furniture from vendors like Viva Terraand Bambeco.

Viva Terra

7. Swap out materials and surfaces

Renewable materials like bamboo, wood, and natural stone are great choices when you’re selecting surfaces. And, going green doesn’t mean your home can’t still be polished. Brands like Alkemi and Cambria make great surfaces that are super sleek and certified by GREENGAURD.

8. Get crafty

Tired of your nightstand or dresser? Completely over your vintage-inspired stools? Don’t give them away yet! Learn how to reupholster, refinish, or paint them, and breath new life into the features you already have and still love. You can reduce consumption and express your creativity at the same time.

9. Be mindful of color

Remember, lighter colors reflect light while darker colors need more artificial lighting, so when considering your wall paint colors, opt for lighter hues when it comes to the bedrooms, living room, and dining room. Esoteric (C2-989), Haddon Hall (C2-978) and Coconut (C2-932) are just a couple of our favorites for a dreamy, energy-efficient space.

Have more tips for sustainable design? Share with us in the comments!

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