“Going green” often summons up a worthy but dull image when it comes to developing interior design ideas for a contemporary home. However, this does not need to be the case. Rather than stuffing a home full of furniture and objects that take away room and clutter surface space, contemporary green designs can be very attractive as well as conversation pieces for family and friends.
One of the main considerations for developing green design ideas is the choice of materials for furniture. Whether chairs, tables, beds, cupboards or wardrobes, the choice of green materials is much wider than it used to be, with many manufacturers and small artisan workshops increasingly conscious of the need to reuse, recycle and produce furniture from sustainable sources. A few suggestions as to what to look for are outlined below.
Wood may not seem the most appropriate material for a contemporary home, but in fact, it can provide the perfect complement to the smooth lines of a property. When going for green materials, always search out wood that is sustainable. Choose materials from sustainably harvested forests, where trees are constantly replaced, or from reclaimed wood.
Wood, when treated properly, will last for a very long time. By reusing materials, whether sourcing old wood from house clearances or discarded pieces of furniture, and getting a furniture maker to turn it into something unique for a new home helps the environment. Consider an oak dining table or a beech wood sideboard as appealing additions to the overall design of a contemporary dwelling.
Often thought of as a type of wood, bamboo is in fact a fast growing grass suitable for many applications in contemporary green design. It scores high on the sustainability scale and can be made into flooring or furniture or just about anything required for furnishings, including window blinds. Bamboo is easy to mould, so designers can be inventive in terms of what they produce. As one of the greenest materials around, bamboo can add a smart and modern edge to a home’s interior design.
It takes a lot of energy to make objects from metal or plastic, but once they have been created, the material can be used again once its initial use is finished. As technology is always advancing, the procedures for recycling plastics and metals into new furniture continue to improve, and the amount of energy needed to make the materials into different objects is far less than when creating the originals. The ability to mould and shape these materials into smooth, contoured lines offers contemporary homes myriad designs that can make a statement in any room.
A greener home
Designing purpose-built green furniture for a contemporary home is only one aspect of making a home green. A home that is both contemporary and green will also be highly energy efficient so that the operation of the home will work in tandem with the furniture. Good insulation will cut down the use of gas and electricity, and the recycling of “grey” water (from dishwashing, bathing or laundry) will add to the home’s overall positive environmental footprint.