What Interior Designers Should Understand About Sustainability and Aesthetics

Consumers today are paying increasing attention to sustainability in their homes – from a health and wellness perspective and to mitigating environmental impacts. As the environmental awareness continues to grow, it is increasingly necessary for interior designers to be well versed in sustainable home décor. Understanding green products, how they are made, and how they contribute to wellness is important for designers to digest and explain to clients. The more customers understand that sustainability and beauty go hand in hand in the home, the better – and so will the planet. Read on for some background information to learn how sustainable products contribute to a beautiful, healthy, and happy home.

What is the “green” product in the home decor industry?

What distinguishes the “green” product? They are usually energy efficient, free of ozone-depleting chemicals, and made from recycled materials or from sustainable sources. It is important to understand that green products are not inferior in quality. In fact, the opposite is often true. In home design, commonly used recycled materials include steel, glass, and plastic that can be polished to as luxurious as new quality.

While sustainable products can have a bad reputation for their quality, it is easy to dispel these misconceptions once you understand the process of improvement and manufacturing. For example, steel is one of the oldest recycled materials, and for good reason. As a material that is 100 percent recyclable, it can be produced to the same quality as brand new steel.

The new steel is produced using the basic oxygen furnace (BOF) method, which pumps oxygen into a converter containing liquid hot iron ore, which is high in carbon. This process produces high levels of carbon dioxide emissions. By comparison, recycled steel produced using an electric furnace produces 85 percent less carbon dioxide per ton of steel—a much cleaner manufacturing process.

Glass is another commonly recycled material used in home furnishing. With the fastest response time of any recycled material, it can go from the recycling plant to the store shelf in just 30 days. The process is straightforward: After the recyclables are collected, the glass is separated and sent to a glass processing center, where it is separated from the contaminants and sorted by color. It is then broken down into brittle glass, a sand-like material ready to be re-blown into new glass products.

The benefits of glass recycling are hard to ignore: for every ton of glass recycled, more than a ton of natural resources are saved from use. The good news for home furnishing manufacturers and buyers is that most glass can be recycled to standards of 100% quality and purity.

What are the psychological benefits of buying green?

Green buying can have positive mental effects on design clients, as it is seen as an ethical behavior that is directly related to a positive self-image.

According to a study published in the scientific journal Environment, Development, and
Sustainability: People who voluntarily did more eco-friendly work had higher positive self-image scores than those who did less.

These statistics from the Tiller LLC study support the positive relationship between buying green products and feeling good:

  • 62 percent of women strongly feel the need for change when it comes to global climate change
  • 87 percent of women look to do more to ‘go green’
  • 53 percent of women express guilt for not living a greener lifestyle

When it comes to people’s homes, designers have a great opportunity to help clients feel good about their choices and themselves. For clients, hiring a designer to transform and personalize their spaces is a form of self-care, reducing stress and promoting health and well-being. Eco-friendly interior design can ultimately enhance your client’s self-image and self-confidence by creating a beautiful and functional space and by promoting positive morals from choosing green home decor products.

What are the similarities in the positive psychology of buying green goods and buying luxury goods?

Similar to buying green products, luxury buying gives people a boost to their self-esteem. Often times, luxury items are bought as a reward, and are seen as being of the highest quality and long-lasting. A 2018 Deloitte survey found that 83% of the US market reported that buying luxury goods led to feelings of happiness and confidence. When it comes to sustainable luxury products, the benefits of feeling happier for buyers increase even more. When a luxury brand can make an environmental claim, it helps it maintain its place in the mind of the buyer while creating a more positive experience around the product.

In the next few years, the luxury industry will grow to include more sustainable goods as buyers of luxury goods increasingly look for green products. For interior designers looking to create beautiful, sustainable spaces, telling the story of a luxurious, eco-friendly lifestyle to your clients will become a necessary part of the design process. The more you share about the story and mission of the eco-friendly brand, and how household goods are made, the more confident and satisfied your customers will feel about your services.

For designers interested in handcrafted, eco-friendly lighting products that contain recycled materials, visit www.varaluz.com.