At Impressive Interior Design, more and more we’re hearing from people asking about the environmental impact of different design choices. Is a wool rug on the living room floor going to be something that can last many years, and how will it be disposed of at the end of its useful life?

Like most organizations, we don’t pretend to have all the answers. However, we are becoming far more knowledgeable on this subject matter because of our interest in protecting the planet and the interest from our readers too.

Let’s look at some of the issues and what can be done through general home design and interior spaces to accommodate such concerns.

Environmentally Sensitive Design

While it has many different terms as people deal with how to think on the topic, essentially environmentally sensitive design is all about not hurting the environment while creating attractive homes to live in. It’s as simple as that!

Of course, it’s not simple in its execution, and there are many different levels to it with regards to environmental concern and wanting to only use certain materials and avoid using others. There are levels depending on how stringent a homeowner is desirous of being on this subject and what’s actually possible at the present time.

Energy Efficient Homes

Energy efficient homes go hand-in-hand with environmental design. The reason is that people with homes to redesign often wish to add eco-friendly elements or use environmentally friendly fabrics or manufacturing methods at the same time.

It stands to reason that addressing the amount of energy consumed in their home is a hot topic of conversation. Certainly, there are ways to reduce the energy sink. It can happen at the home design stage to create a thoroughly eco-conscious house, but when the building already exists, then it’s a different kind of challenge – implementing energy saving tactics to reduce energy usage is key here. A few ideas for this include:

  • Replacing home appliances to those that have an Energy Star certification
  • Using the dishwasher less if there’s a minimal number of plates or bowls to clean
  • Turning on energy saving modes on computers
  • Turning off electronic devices that don’t need to be powered up all the time
  • Using composting in the garden for nutritious soil for improved plant survivability
  • Fixing door and window seals that aren’t airtight
  • Replacing older windows with double glazing

Recycled Materials and Furnishings as Standard

It’s a reality that most interior design projects end up throwing out perfectly good furniture or other materials that were still very usable but no longer aesthetically pleasing. These end up in landfills most often unless the designer or homeowner is conscientious about freecycling the furniture, selling it, or donating it to a charitable organization that can find it a good home.

For truly environmentally conscious interior design, it’s necessary to use only recycled materials and furnishings wherever possible. For homeowners willing to cast their eye wider to different types of furnishings – couches, bookcases, cabinets, tables and so forth – that have a history but aren’t necessarily antiques, then they can avoid purchasing a newly made piece of furniture. Recycled raw materials such as reclaimed wood for new flooring or recycled plastic can give a home a new feel without being damaging to the environment.

Materials from Renewable Sources

There are also materials from renewable sources. Typically, this is based around a renewable resource like environmentally conscious timberland where a 30-year old tree that’s chopped down to make a table (amongst other objects) sees one or more new trees planted to replace it.

Sustainable forestry is an important part of the planet’s eco system. Trees clean the air which helps address the continued problem with manufacturing that’s causing air pollution. They’re an essential part of life as we know it. Therefore, wood products should use timber sourced from eco-friendly forests or reclaimed wood in one form or another.

Renewable Energy through Solar Panel Roofing

Returning to the energy angle, providing electricity through sustainable sources is important to homeowners focused on creating a home that’s not harmful to the Earth.

While electrical utility companies are becoming eco-friendlier with a greater percentage of their energy produced in an environmentally friendly way, it’s difficult to verify their claims. For some homeowners, they prefer to look towards putting in a system that generates its own electrical supply to accompany what is already provided by the local utility company. To do so, solar power is usually employed because it’s more predictable and provides a better return than wind power in residential situations.

Solar panels on the roof is the best plan for most houses. Usually the roof is large enough to have one or two rows of panels installed. It’s true that solar in Westminster is picking up in interest, being near the water, and benefits from sufficient sunshine to provide an excellent return on investment over time.

The best solar company in Westminster is reputably found at They have veteran values in business because the founder and a number of the employees have served and bring those stalwart, dependable values to their work. They’ve been installing solar on roofs for many years and use the latest solar technology for the best results.

Natural Light vs Eco-friendly Lighting

The eco-friendlier option with home lighting is to enable more natural light to filter inside the home during the day. This not only uses less power but makes the most sense. It does sometimes create issues with additional heat, so interior design can be used to shield rooms from the sun’s strong rays while still letting light filter in.

The next best option is eco-friendly lighting. Eco light bulbs are costlier initially, but have a much longer lifespan than fluorescent bulbs. They’re also brighter for lighter rooms while using less energy too. Truly you get more for less here. There is sometimes a need for a large lampshade to cover the elongated shape of most eco-friendly light bulbs, but replacing lighting fixtures is usually part of the interior design to see a completely new look come together perfectly.

Adding Plants as Alternative Beautifications

While it’s tempting to buy knickknacks and other decorations to fill empty spaces in rooms, there’s another way. Instead of purchasing items that most likely have been mass-produced in a factory, consider adding some plants presented in decorative plant boxes or pots.

Plants naturally provide a subtle fragrance that’s most pleasing. They help to clean the air quality in each room too, without the need for an air filtration system (some of the better plants for air quality are bamboo palm and lilies). Plants also feel earthy, natural and just right for a homeowner who’s environmentally savvy.

It’s surprising for some people that the environment has such a big impact on home design and interior design along with it. The sad reality is that not all building materials or building practices are eco-friendly. It’s certainly getting better in that area, but there’s still a way to go. And especially for existing homeowners, they must deal with the home they have and choose to take steps to create an eco-friendly interior (and sometimes exterior). Essentially, work with what you’ve got until all housing is environmentally conscious by default.