6 sustainable interior design trends for 2021

By Sacha van Niekerk Time of article published Jan 8, 2021

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The interior design realm is as fast paced as the world around us.

With just a few scrolls through Pinterest, in a single moment we can go from toying with the idea of swopping out clutter and colour for stark walls and wicker furniture, to having the urge to hunt down vintage pieces for a “granny-chic” aesthetic.

Last year we experienced an eye-opening display of how a sudden shift in our reality can alter what we deem valuable in life and, in turn, the way we view trends. In a nutshell, making our homes into safe havens meant far more than keeping up with the latest decor and design fads.

Not to mention, trying to keep your home looking Instagram-worthy by keeping up with all the latest trends is both financially and environmentally unsustainable. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure that what you pick to be in your home will remain chic, rather than haunt you the next year as it gradually becomes garishly out of style.

How to be sustainable in your interior design:

Respect your personal taste over fads

A house offers a blank canvas for self-expression, so why not make it into a space you feel at home in? No temporary fad can replace the sense of tranquillity and comfort you feel when you’re surrounded by what makes you happiest – whether that can be found in the form of cosy throws and plush rugs, or a kitchen that’s decked out with all the finest fittings, perfect for at home chefs in the making.

Do minor updates

Sometimes an interior refresh of our homes is necessary, but that doesn’t have to mean buying all new decor. A fresh wash of paint on walls and even furnishings can make a world of difference. If your furniture is starting to look a little the worse for wear, reupholstering sofas in new materials can take it from drab to new with minimal effort and cost. If you invested in anything from tables to chairs, those too can be transformed with matt spray paint, which is available at most hardware stores in a range of colours. Lastly, simply shuffling around what you already have in your home creates a huge change to your home visually, without actually doing much at all.

Shop pre-loved

Artisanal markets, antique stores, garage sales, Facebook Marketplace, your granny’s basement – these are all gold mines for finding unique decor pieces. Rather than supporting fast-paced industries that churn out cheap and generic furniture, you can save on dipping too deep into your pockets and help the environment too, all while having a home filled with beautiful handmade antiques.

Choose decor that makes an impact

Potted plants, throw blankets, scatter cushions, new curtains, rugs and wall decor (picture frames, artwork and mirrors) liven up homes and uplift the mood of the decor by pushing it into the realm of “chic”. If you’re happy with the overall look of your home but would like to give it a little facelift, then these are the key decor pieces to target. Swopping them out, giving them a little DIY love or buying new can instantly change the entire look of your home without having to touch the core decor pieces.

Invest in quality

Decor can be expensive, even the kind that is mass manufactured. However, it is still worthwhile to invest in those more permanent pieces that are supposed to last you a lifetime. Dining tables, hardwood floors, tiling, built-in fixtures, sofas, rugs and so much more are all worth the splurge. They are going to receive more wear and tear than non-functional decor and therefore will start to deteriorate much quicker. To avoid having to constantly re-purchase these pieces, make sure that what you’re buying is made to last. Alternatively, reinforce what you can, where you can –for example: all wooden furniture can be varnished to prevent termites and decay.

Consider the materials you introduce to your home

Plastic and cheap wood tend to scratch, bend and crack easily. Welcome sustainable, yet durable materials into your home like bamboo, clay, hemp, recycled plastic and organic cotton. These are good for the environment and age well, so you don’t need to hurry to replace them as they’ll start to offer a rustic feel.

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