In an age where global warming, limited resources and conspicuous consumption is the order of the day, it has become imperative that everyone is aware of the benefits of a sustainable lifestyle and of how going green can positively impact our lives and our planet. It is little wonder then that there is a growing demand for eco-friendly and recycled materials and the need to reduce carbon footprint in every field, including home décor.
Making the right choices is very important when it comes building and doing up your home. “Whether it is building with eco-friendly materials like mud blocks, terracotta flooring and tiles or stone lintels or filling your interior spaces with organic products or reusing vintage pieces, sustainability in home design and décor is here to stay. These days, with an increased awareness of eco-friendly décor, there are a lot of environment-friendly brands and eco-conscious retailers who are transforming the world of home décor. Upcycling and repurposing add a sustainable dimension to décor and many product designers are exploring themes of green living in homes,” says Basob Majumdar, VP-Design, HomeLane.com.
Choices and creativity galore
Sustainable furnishings are those that have a minimum harmful impact on the environment. Jute, bamboo, ahimsa silk as well as natural dyed handwoven cottons or khadi are just some of the choices when it comes to sustainable fabrics for home furnishings. “Natural fabric such as sabai grass and straw work well for mats, rugs etc,” says Upasana Virmani, Category Manager-Home Décor, Jaypore.
“Sustainability is slowly becoming a deciding factor in decor and particularly in furnishings one can use eco-friendly materials in curtains and drapes, rugs, cushion covers, and carpets. Also, sofas can be re-upholstered with sustainable fabric. Materials like tencel from eucalyptus trees, linen and fabrics with post carbon material and orange-peel fabrics are in vogue, thanks to the extensive research being done in the field,” says Vaishnavipratima, interior designer, Vaishnavipratima interiors studio.
Using old fabric and upcycling it creatively can be quite exciting. Silk sarees that are not used can be converted into drapes for your living room while cotton fabric can be used for cushion covers. Table cloth and bed linen can also be made from soft cotton fabrics that are lying unused around the house. “Kitchen napkins can be created out of old, faded or worn out towels. Old clothes or left-over fabrics can be reused to create stunning patchwork quilts or cushion covers that have the warmth of treasured memories woven into them,” adds Majumdar.
An important aspect to be considered here is the fact that sustainability goes beyond the choice of raw material and applies to the entire design and manufacturing process. It is not only the final product or raw material that needs to be eco-friendly but the whole process of textile production should also adopt sustainable methods. These fabrics are manufactured through responsible processes, without chemicals that could pollute the earth, and are harvested from resources that are renewable. Always remember to avoid fabrics manufactured using synthetic and chemical dyes. Opt for those using natural and organic dyes like indigo and vegetable-based hues.
“Today, people are more and more conscious of their choices, hence making sustainable furnishings is a go-to option for many. At TUNI, in an effort to reduce our own textile waste, we craft a line of products from our left-over textile bits. Hence, sustainability is a principle that applies to the process as well though it does begin with the use of earth-friendly materials,” says Mrinmayee Kundalia, Director, TUNI Tales.
There is nothing more charming than having natural fabric being used in furnishings in all forms in a space. They not only add a lot of character but also exude calm and soothing vibes. Imagine a reading nook replete with cane chairs upholstered with khadi or a living room with bamboo roller blinds; few settings can be more elegant for sure! Pretty wicker sofas paired with cool linen upholstery in pastel shades offer a simple, yet elegant touch of class. Couple this with a trellis backdrop in simple criss-crossed bamboo that could be used to grow creepers to add an ethnic and rustic appeal.
There are several advantages of using natural and eco-friendly products apart from them having a positive impact on the environment. Upcycled products are unique and sometimes cost effective, as they are created out of material that would otherwise have been thrown away. They are healthy and work wonders in making your home a haven of positivity and happiness. However, since most of these materials are not mass produced but are mostly handcrafted, maintenance and availability could be a challenge. Also, one needs to beware of fake materials being sold in the market as “eco-friendly”.
“It is all about choosing products that take minimal resources and can be reused to make sure we leave the world in a healthy state and create less waste. It is also about making choices that ensure there are fair trade and ethical processes in place around products you use in your home design and decoration,” says Radeesh Shetty, Founder of The Purple Turtles.