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Sustainable interior design: Everything you ever wanted to know

  • Sustainable Living
Jun 11, 2022
Sustainable home design with wooden interiors & efficient interior design - Beautiful Homes

As we learn more about our environmental responsibilities, the focus of modern design has inevitably turned toward creating spaces with a sustainable future. So let’s discuss how we can help to create interiors that are beautiful, functional and also good for our planet

Today, sustainability and green home design is the clear frontrunner in our fight for a livable future. Modern architecture celebrates eco-friendly house designs that ensure low environmental impact, reduced carbon footprint or reused materials for construction. The effect we have on our world and the environment we live in needs to inform our decisions when it comes to home interior design as well. Fortunately, technological improvements and a committed interior design sector can help to make your home as environmentally healthy as it is beautiful to live in.


So, What is Sustainable Interior Design?

The key points of building an eco-friendly house can be summarised into 5 basic principles:

1. Energy Efficiency

When exploring sustainable house designs, reducing energy consumption is probably both the simplest and the most economical step you can take. Heating and lighting are two of the most impactful areas where eco-friendly, sustainable interior design solutions can be incorporated, even post construction, into your home. These can be as simple as replacing old fashioned bulbs with energy efficient LEDS and decreasing the use of artificial lighting by painting interior walls in lighter colours and adding reflective surfaces to maximise light. Furthermore, high quality window insulation and appropriate curtains, blinds or shades are sustainable home design basics that allow you to regulate interior temperatures by simply opening or shutting windows based on weather needs.

Use indoor plants for sustainable home design & décor - Beautiful Homes

2. Low Environmental Impact

Another area of importance is the materials used in your home. As much as possible, pick sustainable materials for interiors, such as fast-growing bamboo or jute fibre. To help you identify green design interior products, look for GreenPro certified building materials or EcoMark certified textiles. eco-friendly house plans should focus on materials that are sourced and made in an environmentally responsible way as well, for example non-toxic or organic paint for interiors.


3. Minimise Waste

An unspoken advantage to sustainable interiors is that these can often be achieved at a relatively low cost; eco-friendly house designs lean into the movement toward recycling, upcycling and repurposing, giving new life to vintage design items or décor. Alternatively, you can choose modern synthetics made from recycled raw materials, giving your sustainable interior design a more contemporary touch while still minimising waste.


4. Flexibility and Longevity

The best sustainable interior design examples look to the future when planning a space. Your eco house design should not fall out of trend or break down with normal wear and tear. Create more sustainable interiors, by choosing good quality simplicity over flashy trends for the basics of your home. Explore the possibilities of modular flooring and furnishings to give your eco-friendly home design more adaptability over time. 


5. Healthy Environments

The final principle to sustainable home design is to ensure the space is as healthy and as free of polluting allergens as possible. Look for sustainable materials for interiors, such as paints and finishes, that have low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to reduce toxic air pollutants within your eco interior design. Maximise windows and natural light and choose real plants to help ensure that your green design house boasts a good quality of the air and ventilation.


Making Sustainable Interior Design Purposeful:

With eco-friendly home design there are three areas where you can make a large impact with little effort:

Use sustainable interior design materials for home design - Beautiful Homes

Pick Sustainable Interior Design Materials for Furniture, Flooring & Décor

  • Reclaimed Wood

    While first use wood is less nature friendly, house designs that utilise reclaimed wood have all the old world feel and traditional look without the negative impact. Reclaimed wood is an ideal material for modern rustic and blended interiors and sustainable interior designers are finding creative and interesting ways to incorporate it into their designs.

  • FSC certified Bamboo

    Absorbing 2x more carbon dioxide while producing 30% more oxygen than most plants and trees, bamboo is both fast growing and durable making it a favourite of low cost eco-friendly house designs. It also requires minimal water, pesticide or fertiliser to grow, making it both an economical and highly sustainable home design material. 
  • Recycled Metal

    Although not top of mind when discussing sustainable design, in interior design circles properly reused or recycled metal is much prized. By recycling, you cut out the energy waste of raw extraction and processing making steel or aluminium a durable and eco-friendly interior design option.

  • Bio-Glass

    Made from 100% post-consumer recycled glass, Bio-Glass is a good option for eco-friendly house designs that incorporate partitions or counter space. Additionally the bottles and jars that Bio-Glass is made from are diverted from landfills, reducing waste while also fulfilling a purpose in your green design interior plan.
  • Jute Fibre

    Another staple of eco-friendly sustainable interior design materials, jute shares all the growth and oxygen release advantages of bamboo. Furthermore, jute plants enhance the fertility of the soil they grow on, giving nature-friendly house designs the additional advantage of benefiting nature!
  • Cork

    Like bamboo, cork is fast-growing, and since cork is only made from the bark the source tree continues to grow, making cork arguably the best of sustainable interior design materials. Used mostly in ceilings, walls and flooring for its thermal insulation and shock absorption properties, cork is recently getting used for décor within eco home designs as planters, light fixtures or even tables.

  • Recycled Plastic

    While high-density polyethylene used in moulded furniture is well known in sustainable design, in interior design recycled PET actually has a wider range of application. From fabrics made from recycled PET ocean waste to wall claddings and fiberfill for cushions, recycled plastic is a mainstay of eco-friendly house designs.
Make use of jute & fibres in your sustainable house design & interiors - Beautiful Homes

Select Eco-friendly Interior Paints & Finishes

As discussed above, sustainable house designs need to eliminate pollutants and toxins from the home. Ideally your eco-friendly interior design needs paints and finishes that carry the Green Seal Standard such as:

Use sustainable lighting, natural light for eco friendly house design - Beautiful Homes
  • Anti-Bacterial Paint

    Silver ion infused Antibacterial paints, such as Royale Health Shield Luxury Emulsion, provide a healthier room environment by killing upto 99% of bacteria that make contact on the surface. This sort of paint is ideal for eco conscious bedroom design as it improves indoor air quality and reduces air pollution.

  • Low-VOC Paints

    Paints with VOC concentrations of less than 50 g/L of paint are healthier than conventional paint formulas. When building an eco-friendly house, options such as Royale Aspira provide a durable, washable surface that is both fire-resistant and environmentally safe. As such paints usually also come in soft sheen finishes, they are a good pick for your living room design in eco-friendly house plans.

  • Organic/Natural Paints

    Composed almost entirely of natural ingredients like whey protein, calcium carbonate and the antifungal and antibacterial neem oil, organic paints such as Nilaya Naturals are healthy, porous and odour-free. The nature-inspired palette is perfect for a green design interior with a rich matte finish and naturally sourced pigments.

Sustainable Interior Design - Quick Tips

  • Use Plants as Décor

    The simplest way for sustainable interior designers to improve the environment in your home is to bring more oxygen in. 

  • Choose Lighter Colours

    Lighter walls and décor need less artificial lighting for a relaxing, well ventilated feel.

  • Scandinavian Minimalism

    The open plan, reduced clutter ethos of the Scandinavian design trend suits eco home designs keeping the focus on nature while also limiting the use of non-renewable resources.

  • Recycle/Upcycle

    Don’t throw away the functional when a smart coat of paint or new upholstery could bring fresh life to it.

  • Rustic Décor

    Rustic themes are the perfect fit for sustainable house designs as recycled or reclaimed wood is ideal for the décor style.
Use sustainable decor elements like plants & woods for eco friendly homes - Beautiful Homes
  • Source Local

    Minimise carbon emissions and shipping costs by using locally sourced materials whenever you can.

  • Reduce Toxins

    Don’t use toxic cleaners in your home and ensure that materials are Low-VOC and non pollutants.


Sustainable Interior Design - Common Myths and FAQs

Using minimal design elements for sustainable interior design - Beautiful Homes

Myth #1 - Sustainable is Expensive:

As we’ve discussed, sustainable design in interior design does not need to be expensive to be effective. All you really need is a thoughtful, creative approach and in the long run, sustainability can actually be kinder to your pocket.


Myth #2 - Everything Must Change:

You don’t need a complete remodel to make your home more sustainable. Basic eco home designs can start with simple upgrades at first, such as changing lighting fixtures, replacing bathroom appliances, and improving waste management solutions.


Myth #3 - Sustainable Design is a Gimmick:

To avoid spuriously marketed “eco-friendly” or “green” products, look for established certifications of sustainability such as the previously mentioned GreenPro, EcoMark, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or EnergyStar labels. Research unfamiliar certifications to check their legitimacy.

FAQ #1 - Which are the best sustainable design materials?

Over and above reclaimed wood, FSC certified bamboo, recycled metals and the rest of the list discussed above, there are other natural options like hemp, rattan and rice straw. Also consider locally sourced natural stone and modern composites like precast concrete and AshCrete.


FAQ #2 - Which are the best eco-friendly fabrics?

For the most part, naturally dyed and organic fabrics such as cotton, linen, hemp, wool and Ahimsa silk are both environmentally sound and low toxicity. However, take care to check labels for sustainability and ethical standards. 

Smart eco friendly home interior design - Beautiful Homes

There are new options that are relatively eco-friendly as well, such as closed loop processed Tencel/Lyocell, Bamboo fabrics and leather substitutes like Piñatex which is made from pineapple leaves.


FAQ #3 - Which are the worst fabrics for sustainable design?

Avoid acetates, Rayon, Nylon, polyester, acrylic and surprisingly conventional cotton, the production of which accounts for 16.1% of the world’s insecticide use and 5.7% of global pesticides.


What Makes Eco-friendly Home Design So Important?

A smart eco-friendly interior design should make your home more comfortable, healthier and safer to live in by reducing your exposure to toxins and stressors. Ideally, your green home design will also cut your electricity and water bills by creating less waste and smarter use. And finally a well-planned eco house design should help the environment, reducing carbon footprint and waste, conserving resources and minimising the toll on the wildlife and natural world around us.


We hope that these sustainable interior design examples and ideas have sparked your interest in giving your space an ecologically sound glow up! And if you want a little help, we’re here for you!


Here at Beautiful Homes Service by Asian Paints, we’ll partner with you to craft the eco-friendly home of your dreams – from making those first design decisions to delivering the ideal final outcome, we’ll be with you every step of the way! We even make it easier for you to source the latest in sustainable furniture, home accessories and décor styles with our curated collection. So, if you’re eager to get started on creating that perfect haven, and live in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Pune or Kolkata, now’s a good time to get in touch with our team.

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