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Sustainability: Making Eco-Friendly Home Design Choices

If you've ever done construction (building a "forever home," gutting a room because of a leaked pipe) or remodeled (repainted, changed furniture, updated the '80s grout kitchen tiles), you may have remarked on the amount of waste a project can produce.

Old tile slabs, bathroom fixtures, outdated appliances, expired paint, and sagging (or perfectly good, but no longer "hip") furniture can add up.

An empty, white room sits in shambles. There are stains and leaks in the roof; the walls are discolored, and the flooring is half torn up.
Photo by Nolan Issac on Unsplash

The construction industry is responsible for 548 million tons of waste every year. Durable goods (appliances, carpets, anything that lasts three or more years) account for 57.1 million tons, and textiles 17 million.

The numbers seem overwhelming. However, many people making many small choices can add up to positive change.

Let's start with choices we can make that can mitigate our impact if we choose to embark on an interior design project. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Can I reuse it?

Do you really need to throw something away? If it's not showing signs of complete dilapidation, it may not have to go. Patch it up, throw on a new coat of paint, re-upholster...If it matches your aesthetic, it doesn't necessarily need to go to the rubbish bin.

Various reclaimed wood decorations hang on a bright, white wall. There is a bookshelf, fish and aquatic-themed art and carvings, and a long wall shelf holding more books. Everything is distressed and casual, with a childlike aesthetic.
Photo by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash

Can I repurpose it?

If you are changing your aesthetic, see if you can repurpose old items to match your current style. This could fall under the reuse category - small changes to fabric, color, paint, etc. can go a long way to creating something completely different.

Do I need it?

Before you replace every piece of furniture, wall art, and home accessory, ask yourself if you really need it. The previous two questions are also great filters that can help you decide what your necessary purchases will be. (Your wallet will also thank you for this one.)

Can I recycle it?

Recycling doesn't exclusively mean put it out for collection. It can also mean thrifting. Drop off what you don't need at a thrift store. Maybe while you're there, you'll find some "new" pieces and give them a second life in your home.

Who made it? What are the company values?

It's a chain reaction, from the extraction of raw materials to fabrication, shipping, and installing products in your home. Knowing what a company values can help you decide whether or not to shop with a brand. After all, our most powerful vote is the one we cast every day with our money.

Here are some materials to look out for:

-reclaimed wood

-recycled plastic

-recycled stone (ex. marble)

-recycled glass, steel, and plant material (ex. fibrous waste from palm oil production; bamboo, which grows quickly)

We peer over a cluster of open paint cans with every color: Gold, sea blue, yellow, white, brown, black, grey. A person's hand hovers over the paint. The hand holds a paintbrush and dips it into the brown paint can in the center of the frame.
Photo by russn_fckr on Unsplash

These are a few window fashions brands that make a sustainability commitment:

Above all, someone once noted that it's better to design for life than for a lifestyle. With this principle in mind, you can make design and buying choices that are durable, timeless, and better for the environment.

**If sustainability is important to you, talk to your designer during your consultation. They can make recommendations from all the brands listed above. Schedule a complimentary appointment today.**

Window-ology is a local, Diamond Certified business in downtown Pleasanton, CA. We specialize in custom blinds, shades, shutters, drapery, and motorized, retractable awnings. Contact us for a complimentary consultation.

We are the exclusive Northern California dealer for SunSetter Awnings, the number one manufacturer in the United States. We are an authorized dealer for Hunter Douglas, Norman Window Fashions, KE, and others.

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