Eco Friendly Interior Design Products for Every Budget
Updated: Oct 16, 2020
Having a well designed home can be both sustainable and accessible. Eco friendly design can now be found in every price point.
The below pieces and ideas are from some of my favorite designers and companies around the world, all working to help establish a circular economy.
When I start on a new interior design project for a client I not only look at their space and style but also their values as well. I might be an interior designer by trade but I'm also someone who is passionate about climate change, equity and social justice and I want my home and projects to reflect that aspect.
There are many ways to be eco friendly when you are thinking of a new home project or product. Being eco friendly can be a practice for folks doing DIY design or for people who are looking for specialty custom made home goods.
It used to be that upcycled furniture was exclusively for do-it-yourselfers but the tide has shifted and upcycling can be a way to create a custom piece of furniture.
Noted designer Enrico Marone Cinzano has a line of one-of-a-kind upcycled furniture pieces. The above piece is the Fibonacci Coffee Table and is made exclusively of sustainable products.
Cinsano has stated, "in the future, sustainable design won't be a option, it will be a given". He, like many designers, knows that good design will endure and even thrive under material constraints.
You might think painted furniture is a DIY Pinterest activity but designers are giving vintage pieces a refreshed style.
Here is a good example from UK based designers Patience & Gough. They take vintage furniture and renovate it with sustainable products.
Innovative designers are tackling global challenges by looking at materials that most of us have hardly thought of.
Take the design studio ThusThat who is experimenting with Red Mud which is an industrial waste byproduct from the aluminum industry. After creating prototype designs of housewares they are researching and experimenting with other materials as well.
There is so much wood that can be reclaimed that even large retailers like Crate & Barrel are making pieces with this wood. Crate and Barrel have long been mindful about their environmental impact and now having furniture made from reclaimed wood elevates their position in the circular economy.
Shown left is Crate & Barrel's Rove dresser made in part from reclaimed White Oak.
Another approachable furnishing is the Bell Chair (below) made by Italian brand, Magis. The Bell Chair is made entirely from industrial waste produced by Magis and itself is recyclable.
Though it can be recycled, the Bell Chair is designed to have a long life and not to be another disposable plastic chair .
The Bell Chair is lightweight, stackable and can be manufactured in less than a minute. These features further add to reducing carbon emissions in shipping and packaging.
Oxgut has been one of my favorite upcycle manufacturer's for years. They take decommissioned fire hoses and create floor mats like the example above in addition to a weekender bag and a multi purpose carrier.
Fire hoses are incredibly durable but have to be put out of commission often to keep them safe and ready for use battling fires. It's awesome that Oxgut is diverting some of that waste out of the landfill. The creative name Oxgut honors the first fire hose of Ancient Greece.
Lighting using reclaimed materials is a widely diverse field. Many designers use items that weren't originally designed as lighting and rework them.
Here is an fun example of a upcycled, vintage camera, repurposed as a lamp. 1950's camera as a light? Yes, please!
I'd love to see this on a desk in an art studio with other found objects surrounding it.
While many vintage pieces can be made into lighting there are a good amount of new and modern designers creating upcycled lighting.
Take this Chime light fixture by Stickbulb. The designer has reinterpreted the traditional chandelier using LED lights and reclaimed Redwood.
The Stickbulb was created by the design group, RUX, who was inspired by wood offcuts for their products. Stickbulb is dedicated to a truly sustainable product in both materials and production as they are made within a five mile radius of their New York City office.
Ash Allen is a Melbourne based designer who has a few pieces in their line that are created with industrial waste.
The Ignos lights (left) are made from the byproduct of Bluestone, a material "deeply embedded in the architecture and streets of Melbourne".
Allen takes the powder byproduct and fires it in a kiln which creates a concave form that is not only attractive but also more dense than the original stone.
We are so inspired by these designers. It gives me hope that a global coalition of designers can help improve the world instead of adding to Climate Change crisis.
We are fully aware that the above products mentioned in this post are not accessible to everyone. The great thing about upcycling is that you can DIY your own specialty pieces.
Whether it's making patio furniture with shipping pallets or giving a worn furniture piece a fresh coat of paint you can make something beautiful and unique.
This upcycled dresser is so fun and innovative. Featured by Clare Paint, the maker painted both the room and the dresser the same pale pink for a beautiful monochromatic look.
The dresser is from Ikea and the maker used halved foam dowels which were painted and cut to size to make that awesome texture. And touch of brass on the finishing hardware takes this piece to the next level.
This felt wall by Felt Right is part DIY and part recycled water bottles.
The wall tiles create interesting designs that are also a pinboard surface. They come in a variety of colors and shapes that adhere to the wall.
Pick one of their designs or create your own for your home office or homeschool setup.
These felt wall tiles that are a minimum of 50% recycled plastics and don't contain VOC's. In addition Felt Right has a zero waste goal at their production headquarters.
DIY planters are fun and this idea you can even do with kids. Upcycle a food can into a simple, modern garden.
German maker, Eni, made this fun and easy "mini garten" that is sure to brighten up your space.
Check out her blog here for step by step instructions.
We love creating interesting furniture for clients using repurposed items. Daryl Serratt from Ken Fulk found some fantastic Moroccan doors that he wanted to use as a coffee table.
Buck loved engineering and building a base that was not only attractive but also strong enough to hold these elaborate and substantial oak doors.
We love Daryl's creativity and the project where this piece ended up is spectacular.
We have done countless other projects using reclaimed wood and other found artifacts.
Does something in the post inspire you? Do you have something that can be given new life? Or are you interested in interior design that is sustainable? Give us an email a let us know your thoughts.
xox, Dorothy & Buck