The latest climate change report from the IPCC made for scary reading. It states that much of the damage to the planet is already irreversible, which can leave you feeling pretty helpless in the fight against global warming – but, it’s not a hopeless cause. We can turn things around and one way to reduce your own carbon footprint is through conscious interior design.
By making lifestyle changes (even small ones), we can make a big difference if we all take part. One area that you can look at straight away, especially if you’re planning any home improvements this year, is your home interior.
The carbon footprint of furniture
At Conscious Cribs, we’ve been whanging on about the environmental benefits of sourcing sustainable, renewable, natural and organic home furnishings for years!
Did you know the average piece of home furniture generates the same amount of greenhouse gas that burning 5.3 gallons of petrol does? The 2019 study found that sofas (and their fillings) were the biggest furniture culprit generating 90kg of carbon dioxide. Your living room has a big old carbon footprint!
In fact, where it has been traditionally thought that a building’s structure contributed to more greenhouse gas emissions, it turns out that the interior (the furniture, fixtures and equipment – FF&E) are responsible for the same, if not more, of the carbon footprint in construction!
What can you do about it?
Keep, reuse and repurpose furniture
If you aren’t planning any redecoration, the best thing you can do is hold onto what you’ve got. It’s about moving towards slower, more conscious consumption. We currently plough through home furnishings at alarming speed, discarding and disposing with every new trend. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, we chuck over 9 million tons of furniture into landfill every year!
We don’t stop to think about how those materials break down or what’s involved in the manufacture of each piece of new furniture, material or textile.
The message here is to refurbish, repurpose, reuse and re-love what you already have. Bring new life to it, use that piece of furniture or ornament in another room or give it a new use.
If you’re downsizing or really can’t keep hold of that armchair any longer, rather than a visit to the tip, give the furniture away, donate it to charity, sell it locally at a car boot sale or online via Facebook Marketplace or eBay, for example. There are so many people looking for bargains to upcycle. If you can’t see any mileage in keeping or restoring, give your furnishings away – and keep it from going to landfill.
Shop slowly and locally to reduce your carbon footprint
Firstly, slow right down when buying home furnishings. If you’re an impulse buyer, it’s time to change that habit. The new trend for planetary survival is to shop mindfully and consciously.
Really think about that item before you buy it. Sleep on it before pressing that ‘add to basket’ button. How long will that furniture last? Where was it made? How far does it have to travel to get to you? What manufacturing methods were used? Are the materials sustainable, healthy and renewable?
Great interior design always tells a great story. The rooms that take your breath away, that make you want to Instagram the heck out of them, contain items that mean something so much more than a cheap find from a mass-manufactured store. They’re beautiful, unique and, very often, pre-loved.
They contain one-off pieces of furniture passed down through generations or sourced locally from vintage markets or artisan crafters. Or, they’ve been lovingly restored from salvage. Yes, it takes more effort, but you will love that piece so much more – and, as a result, you’ll look after it with more care too. You just need to change your mindset and look at your home differently.
Help the eco-system and your immune system too
It’s not just the planet you’ll be saving by making more conscious choices with your interiors; you’ll be improving your health too. Mass manufacture is harmful to our eco-system and our immune system. Read more about that here: How toxic is your home décor and what’s it doing to your health?
We can all do our bit to slow down global warming to protect the place we all call home. Join us in the #consciousinteriordesign movement and let’s create beautiful, healthy and sustainable homes together.