Sustainable Interior Design

Get tips for making your interior design career greener.

Two interior designers look at sustainable optionsSustainability Is Hot

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.

In the design industry, the fastest-growing segment is the incorporation of sustainable or “green” interior design. From the use of rain water collection to supplement waste water needs, to using sustainable materials such as bamboo, innovation is high when it comes to designing a sustainable space.

Focus on Sustainability

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) believes that sustainability should be an essential part of every designer’s approach, from energy efficiency to reducing environmental impact. Interior design schools now incorporate sustainable design into their curriculum to prepare tomorrow’s professionals.

Six 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:

1. 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. Micro-housing developments, or “apodments,” serve as one solution in cities with quickly growing populations. They typically are 300-square feet or less and feature built-in amenities such as a refrigerator and microwave. Some developments are LEED-certified.

2. 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.

3. Use materials produced in a socially responsible manner. Use furniture and products from sources that promote safe manufacturing processes and socially just business practices. When possible, use local sources.

4. Reduce waste by using reclaimed or recycled materials.Fortunately, antique and vintage décor is an option for interior designers. 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.

5. 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, halogens and compact fluorescent light bulbs save energy and last longer.

6. Use non-toxic and non-polluting products. 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.

By incorporating sustainable practices into your interior design philosophy, you’ll be doing your part to promote energy efficiency and responsibility.

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