Like other design fields, interior design is inextricably tied to changing styles—what’s hot and what’s not. Whether the ultimate design goal is decoration, renovation or architectural detailing, all interior designers must stay abreast of current trends in the field. What’s hot now? One increasingly widespread practice in recent years has been the incorporation of sustainable or “green” interior design.
With “energy efficiency” fast reaching catch-phrase status and the “reduce, reuse, recycle” philosophy spreading throughout our common social consciousness, there has been an increased call for socially and environmentally responsible interior design practitioners. Designers with a focus on sustainability are poised to benefit.
Interior Design Industry Focus on Sustainability
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) believes that sustainability should be an important part of every designer’s approach, from energy efficiency to reducing environmental impact. Interior design schools have been following suit, incorporating sustainable design curriculum in educating tomorrow’s professionals.
Tips for Environmentally Friendly Interior Design
If you’re an aspiring interior designer, you’ll learn that there are several ways to take a green approach:
- Maximize the efficient use of space. Efficiently-used interior spaces can keep the size of a building—and, therefore, the use of construction materials and other resources—to a minimum.
- Use energy-wise construction and design materials. Interior designers can work with windows and doors that maximize energy efficiency, wood flooring that comes from rapidly renewable sources like bamboo, water-saving toilets and other environmentally responsible materials.
- Use materials produced in a socially responsible manner. Utilize furniture and products from sources that promote safe manufacturing processes and socially just business practices. When possible, use local sources.
- Reduce waste by using reclaimed or recycled materials. Fortunately, antique and vintage décor is another current trend in interior design. Furniture and decorative items can be repurposed, refinished or otherwise refurbished to give them new life. For the truly environmentally-conscious, tiles, carpets, fabrics, even sinks and counters can be made from recycled materials.
- Plan for energy-efficient lighting. Clever interior design can incorporate windows and skylights to maximize the use of daylight and minimize artificial light. When artificial lighting is needed, LEDs and compact fluorescent light bulbs save energy and last longer.
- Use as many non-toxic and non-polluting products as possible. An increasing variety of safe and chemical-free products is available, from organic, hypoallergenic paint to fibers and woods that haven’t been treated with pesticides.
If you incorporate sustainable practices into your interior design philosophy, you’ll not only be on the cutting edge in terms of trends, you’ll also be doing your part to promote energy efficiency and responsibility.
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