As the world is progressing towards globalisation, sustainability and environmental issues have become a significant concern. This is especially true in the interior design industry.  We often hear the term ‘sustainable interior design’.

So what is it? 

What is Sustainable Interior Design?

Sustainable interior design takes into account, environmental concerns and issues when designing a space. It uses eco-friendly design techniques and materials that are proven to have a healthy impact on the surroundings and the users. Thus helping to reduce energy consumption, pollution and waste.

Things to Consider When Designing Sustainably

Take a look at how you can incorporate sustainable interior design techniques into commercial spaces. 

Energy

  • Keep energy consumption factors in mind when creating interior spaces, especially in commercial buildings and more importantly the hospitality industry.  The energy usage per square foot is pretty high in hotels than any other buildings and heating and lighting play a crucial role. Windows should provide enough ventilation and natural light.
  • Consider using carpets, they are known to be excellent thermal insulations capturing 10% of the room’s heat.
  • Using energy star equipment, low flow faucets or sensor-controlled ones can reduce the water consumption.
  • Fluorescent, LED lights are considered the right option. At the same time, sensors and other energy controlling equipment can be used for controlling light and heat in spaces where it is not frequently used.

Floresy - LED Lighting

Materials

  • As a designer,  opt for locally sourced products when creating a space. Buying local has a positive impact on the environment as it lessens the cost of transportation and reduces pollution.
  • Scope out manufactures that keep the eco-friendly concept in mind. You can find manufactures and furniture designers who make luxury furniture products out of reclaimed wood and recycled materials which all goes to minimising the cost and reducing waste.
  •  Construction engineers, architects, designers and consumers alike have started incorporating natural, environment-friendly materials into their designs. Materials such as concrete, wood, bamboo, cork, organic cotton, natural stone, recycled plastic. Make it a priority to pick materials which have a low environmental impact.

Floresy Bamboo

  • Regular paints with harmful chemicals can be replaced with low “volatile organic compound” (VOC) paints that reduce the negative impact on the environment. Light coloured walls reflect more light, therefore choosing the right wall colours tend to reduce the usage of artificial lighting in interior spaces.
  • Last but not least, beautifying the surroundings with plants and trees. Not only do they have a positive impact on our health, but they also affect climate control and noise reduction in an interior space.

Research shows that with the beginning of the new decade, sustainability has become the most popular global trend in 2020. Especially in the commercial design industry.  We expect to see rapid growth in the next five years compared to the past decade. With this in mind, interior designers should look to the more sustainable approach for the protection of our environment.

Covid-19 is a global pandemic affecting each and every one of us – in all aspects of our lives. How we live, how we move around and importantly, how we work. Some businesses and markets have been forced to close. Others have taken this opportunity to adapt to the ‘new normal’ of isolation, self-distancing and quarantine.

For interior designers, this may mean that some projects have been ‘put on hold’. This doesn’t mean you have to stop working and offering a high-quality service. There are still things you can do during this period. This phase in time will be significant in many ways, both for you and your customers as everyone adapts.

Tips for Working Through Covid-19

1. Keep working!

Although times are difficult, as lockdown eases, interior designers can certainly get back to business. Quoting on new jobs is perfectly possible. You can proceed with designing and costing for new projects just as before. Designers will be able to progress further with some projects if social distancing can be maintained and all the materials easily obtained.

Floresy - colour chart

2. Source online

Although some of your suppliers may not have re-opened yet, it is possible to source many items including paints, light fittings and furniture from online companies with no supply chain problems. If you are looking for antique and vintage pieces of furniture, this is easy too. There are many antique shops with excellent websites. As for bespoke pieces, almost all craftsmen are already back in their workshops.

Reupholstery and curtain making is usually undertaken by people in their homes. So again, you will find that most are already back at work – if they ever stopped!

3. Keep up with creativity!

Many artisans have used lockdown to create wonderful new custom made wallpapers, light fittings and fabric designs. So it’s the perfect time to keep abreast of the latest ideas that you’ll be able to incorporate in your work. Several interior designers are currently looking at offering clients ‘decorative consultations’. A service where you can advise on colours, fabrics as well as accessories to give rooms a fresh new look. Budget is an important consideration as many people do not have so much disposable income right now.

4. Offer Virtual consultations during Covid-19 !

Communication methods have changed dramatically in the last few months and these changes are here to stay! You may well have been using CAD for drawings and designs, but you can show these to clients and discuss all aspects using Zoom/ FaceTime / WhatsApp and be able to give your clients digital presentations at every stage and minimise face-to-face meetings.

A number of interior designers are now offering house owners short, reasonably priced virtual consultations to advise them on how to make changes to their living space and these are proving very popular – especially those with clever recycling and upcycling ideas.

5. Time for marketing

Whilst you have more time at your disposal, it would be good to research the contact details of companies that could be interested in your services once lockdown has eased. Rethink or adjust your sales pitch accordingly and show that you are very happy to undertake projects of all sizes – especially those making socially distancing easier as health and safety will now have the highest priority. Consider whether your website is current and adjust the text to make reference to the last few months. It may well be worth exploring advertising opportunities that will reach the many house owners who have discovered through lockdown that they need to make modest alterations to their homes.

Lockdown doesn’t have to be an end to work. With creative thinking, this could be a new opportunity to develop your skills and your business.

Mental health issues have long been the elephant in the room until recently when people and organisations around the world started to talk about the epidemic it has become. According to a survey by the NHS, 1 in 4 people in the UK is subject to a mental health problem annually. Pretty grim, we know… but what’s good is that, now, more people are open to dealing with the problem. 

From relaxation apps to forums and social media, there are now plenty of platforms sufferers can use to fight it. Did you know that one other good avenue is interior design? 

As for how you can optimise interior design to bring about positive benefits for the mind, you can begin with these steps.

Pay more attention to colour

Colour is a good place to start because there are hues that are, simply put, more calming than others. Blue and green, in particular, have been shown to ease most people’s anxieties. Who among us does not get relaxed by strolling through a park brimming with verdant greeneries or gazing at the immaculately azure ocean? 

The same applies to rooms as far as its dominating hues are concerned. Naturally, those that incorporate lighter colours will help in reducing stress and anxiety.  

paint scheme Floresy

Let the light in

Maximising on natural lighting has always been a preference. And, again, this really just hinges on the keyword “natural”. Anything that is associated with nature helps in human stress response and brings about positive feelings. It’s not for nothing why staying in a dark room has always reinforced depressive thoughts. 

So, if anything’s blocking out the light (from needless walls to dark, thick curtains), by all means, remove them all. You don’t really need to invest time in learning more interior design theory to see the almost immediate positive effects it will bring about. 

Minimise

Because once you do, you free up more space. And, for most people, more space readily translates to happiness. Wide, open spaces evoke feelings of freedom, after all, while enclosed spaces cause the exact opposite. And if there is one factor that eats up space it’s furniture. So even if the room has adequate space, it might still have that claustrophobia-inducing effect that not a lot of people can put up with. This underscores the need to opt for minimalisation. Include only what is necessary and what the person loves – which brings us to one last element. 

minimalism Floresy

Prioritise subjectivity

Designing interiors should never really depart from the owner’s subjective taste. Yes, most humans share elements that relax them or help them deal with stress better, as evidenced by the facts above. But, in the end, how the person feels about a room or space is what matters more. 

Some may find the presence of plants to be more relaxing, for example, but this is definitely not the case for everyone. How high should the ceilings be? What are the objects that give you meaning or happiness? What do you find beautiful? These are but some of the personal questions that should be asked to help figure out how to make interior design more beneficial to mental health. 

These factors, after all, directly affect one’s mood. And to surround oneself solely with them, minus those that don’t, is definitely one good step towards the right direction.