Eco-friendly and sustainable interior design is good for the planet’s health – and your own. This is doubly good news, most people are aware of the unsustainable damage we are doing to the environment. But not so many are aware that an environmentally friendly interior design is also good for the health of the occupants!

This blog explores the benefits of environmentally friendly interior design. It also lists some simple tips that can help your home or office be sustainable and healthy!

Why Opt for Environmentally Friendly Interior Design?

The obvious answer is that it is good for the environment. Every action we take has an impact on the environment. By reducing our waste and energy usage at every opportunity, we are giving the environment every possible chance to stabilise and recover.

On the grander scale of things, this factor is a compelling enough reason on its own. But there is more to environmentally friendly interior design than just this. A recent study by the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that Americans spend over 90% of their time indoors. Worryingly, they also concluded that some pollutant levels were 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor levels.

Amongst the contributing factors they listed were:

  • Synthetic building materials
  • Furnishings
  • Cleaning materials
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (found in many paints)

Environmentally friendly interior design can significantly reduce these pollutants.

Tips for Environmentally Friendly Interior Design

Environmentally friendly interior design can play a large part in bringing about a switch to a circular economy. In a circular economy system, the emphasis is on recycling, reusing, and repairing. The ultimate aim is to maintain the value of resources for as long as possible.

This ethos should be the focal point of sustainable interior design. Many of the following tips will help to achieve this.

  • Choose sustainable materials

This is the obvious starting point for environmentally friendly interior design. Opt for sustainable and eco-friendly materials such as bamboo, reclaimed wood, or cork. These materials are renewable and have a lower environmental impact than traditional materials like hardwood or synthetic carpets.

Similarly, the same applies when choosing furniture. Choosing sustainable furniture that uses ethically sourced materials helps the environment on many levels.

  • Opt for natural fibres

Our dependence on synthetic fibres is a major environmental problem. These are resource hungry to manufacture and, in some instances, can take centuries to biodegrade. They can also be one of the contributing factors to indoor pollutants.

Choose natural fibres like organic cotton, linen, and wool. These fibres are biodegradable and have a much lower impact on the environment than synthetic fibres such as polyester or nylon.

  • Use low or no-VOC paints

Paints that contain VOCs have been linked with several health issues, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Vision problems
  • Throat, eye, and lung irritations

Wherever possible, opt for paints with low or no VOCs – good for you, good for the environment.

  • Use as much natural light as possible

One factor that doesn’t get discussed much is the use of natural light. Again, this is something that has health as well as environmental benefits. The health benefits of natural light are well documented, but making the most of natural light also reduces our need for artificial lighting.

A few tips on how to achieve this are listed below:

  • Keep windowsills clear
  • Use light colours in window surrounds and recesses
  • Strategically place mirrors to help distribute the light


  • Incorporate indoor plants

Indoor plants not only add beauty and texture to your interior design, but they also purify the air and reduce toxins. Consider adding a few indoor plants to your home to promote a healthier and more eco-friendly living environment.

The cost of indoor plants is also a factor. These are one of the most cost-effective ways to stamp your personality on the look of your interior.

  • Choose energy-efficient appliances

Another factor that is good for the environment and your purse strings is opting for energy-efficient appliances. Appliances with an Energy Star rating are designed to use less energy, which reduces your carbon footprint and saves you money on utility bills.

  • Wherever possible, try to repurpose and recycle

This approach is at the heart of what a circular economy is all about. Recycling and repurposing items instead of rushing out and buying new ones can:

  • Save money
  • Reduce waste
  • Save resources

The great thing about this is that repurposed items can work fantastically, both in a practical and aesthetic sense. There are plenty of examples of where this can be achieved. For instance, try repurposing an old dresser into a unique bathroom vanity or use old wine bottles as vases. The only limit here is your imagination.

  • Remember the floor!

Tiled or wooden floors might look fantastic, but there are distinct advantages to carpets and rugs. For starters, they can hold up to 10% of a room’s heat, this can have a dramatic effect on heating costs. As well as being a thermal insulator, rugs and carpets also have excellent acoustic dampening properties.

Finally, they can also improve air quality. Rugs and carpets trap dust and airborne particles and keep them from the atmosphere until they are vacuumed up!

  • Dispose of waste properly

Finally, the importance of disposing of waste properly cannot be overemphasised. Make sure that all your waste is appropriately disposed of. This will prevent hazardous substances from entering the environment and make sure that all that good work you did with an environmentally friendly interior design hasn’t gone to waste!

Designing for Today, Thinking About Tomorrow

Environmentally friendly interior design is about creating spaces that are not only beautiful but also sustainable and healthy.

By choosing sustainable materials, natural fibres, low or no-VOC paints, maximising natural light, incorporating indoor plants, choosing energy-efficient appliances, and repurposing or recycling, you can create a home that promotes both your health and the health of the planet.

And that has to be a good thing in anyone’s book!

Bob Sharp has been passionate about the environment all his life. Brought up in the wild beauty of the West Coast of Scotland, he has been designing eco-friendly interiors for twenty years. Taking inspiration from the beauty he grew up surrounded by, he believes that nature isn’t just for the great outdoors.s