Interior design has never been more in vogue – with the rise of social media it’s easier than ever to be agog in the digital front row as a never-ending parade of gorgeous interiors flits across Pinterest.
Not to be left out, the ‘green’ crowd is now thoroughly spoilt for choice when decking out a chic Earth-friendly abode. This is made possible through the latest how-to hacks on the University of YouTube or by product manufacturers getting on board with sustainability – creating more eco-friendly options for everything from paint to plaster.
Some clever furniture makers have decided that green warriors deserve more choice than granny’s inherited wicker chair, an upcycled eBay sofa and smattering of potted succulents. They have decided to bless green housanistas by, say, using discarded plastic to create the sort of furniture and textiles which are perfectly at home on the pages of glossy magazines dedicated to drool-worthy homes. In short, keeping the landfills from overflowing with human detritus has never been more chic, now that upcycled plastic furniture has been elevated to gallery-level pieces. Here’s a roundup of the most current and stylish options to love on the planet whilst ensuring that your property is unarguably Pin-worthy.
One: Stencil exterior concrete slabs
Images – Sourced from Pinterest.
Using paint to revive exterior concrete slabs is not exactly revolutionary, but with the right choice of stencils (avoiding the Victorian motifs that have been done to death), you could give your exterior flooring a wow factor upgrade with very little financial output. It’s simply the perfect way to inject new life into a concrete surface rather than consigning this bulky material to the skip.
Check out The Stencil Studio for some fresh motif inspiration.
Two: High-end upcycled plastic furniture
Image 1 :
Dezeen – brand, Plasticet
Image 2: The Melting Pot Tables collection by Dirk van der Kooij
Once upon a time, the single coolest thing to be done with plastic furniture was to spray paint a classic B&Q-esque plastic chair hyper gold and pretend that you had achieved something nearly as edgy as seating from CB2, if you squinted a little and tilted your head just so. No more. Recycled plastic furniture is now taking pride of place in Dezeen editorials and it really does look the business. For example, Dezeen described Plasticiet’s upcycled plastic chair as ‘Monolithic slabs of pearlescent polycarbonate’ – a description so unbeholden to ordinary household considerations, like comfort, that it is well worth any sophisticate’s extra zero (or two).
The Melting Pot Tables collection by Dirk van der Kooij is ludicrously gorgeous. Composed of old plastic toys and VHS video tapes, the tables defy their humble origin and take on an air of aptly playful yet solid nobility.
Three: Revolutionary child’s play
The ultimate ‘green’ retailer that is a must-know for anyone wishing to live beautifully and sustainably is online store Ecobirdy – all the most desirable eco-friendly products under one domain. With their Set Sunrise playset – made of recycled toys – they do an amazing job of inviting little ones to join in the sustainability conversation by seeing practical solutions in action. Best of all, they are composed of a propriety material called ‘ecothelene’ which boasts the ability of being recycled over and over – though it is hard to see how anyone could bring themselves to part with such a covetable kiddie design. Perhaps the best answer to ensuring children’s products never enter landfills is to make them so robust and timeless that little ones are queuing up to be the next to pay and pass on. If that’s the case, then this collection certainly hits the mark with its primitive yet progressive chunky curves and contours.
Four: Sensational solar lighting
If you think of lighting as architecture’s jewellery – a directional accent that lifts the entire look – then you want your eco lighting bling to be from Gloster. It’s a rare thing to find mid-priced lighting so well formed and aspirational in its design direction, so to have lighting with these looks which are kind to the planet and to the pocket make this brand one for the little black design book. And that’s before rattling off the specifications. Gloster lights are supplied with two solar and mains power rechargeable LED units – hello carefree sun worship. What’s more, the lights come with radio frequency remote controls with 8 light output settings for up to 35 metres. Gloser lights might be designed for outdoors, but would work wonders as cable-free indoor lights too – solving age-old problems like wishing to add a decorative lighting to your, say, kitchen island. Let there be high-tech, eco-friendly light!
Five: Transformative textiles
Fern Living – Way Outdoor Cushion
Haven Furniture throws
Tinsmiths – Recycled Plastic Braided Rug.
Why not add a bit of softness and panache to your life with – discarded plastic? Sure to be great conversation starters and perfect for gifting, the disarming charm of today’s upcycled textiles will leave your aunty bemused yet tickled pink. Indeed, it’s pretty difficult to grasp the kind of alchemy that can convert plastic drinking bottles to soft and caress-able comfort accents, but seeing is believing. These home accents, including cushions, throws and rugs, offer a glimmer of hope for landfills everywhere, what with the estimated 7.7 billion plastic bottles we get through annually in the UK alone. Top picks include FernLiving’s Way Outdoor Cushion, which boosts a timeless monochrome Scandi design. Also check out havenfurniture.co.uk for pretty plastic throws and Tinsmiths.co.uk for joyful recycled rugs with punchy jewel tones.
Six: Exterior wall art
Seven: Warm up to a touch of class
With its eye-catching design that is hot and heavy on the specs-appeal, you’ll be looking for excuses to hang out in your garden in the dead of winter if it means firing this baby up. Chesneys is the absolute master of the wood burner game and this Clean Burn range is particularly pleasing as it produces next to no smoke and runs on negligible amounts of fuel, whilst still giving the great glowing warmth that one would expect from an engineered heating product of this calibre. Many options are available in the range and there are matching BBQ grills available to make sure that your green ethics are equally matched by your green style.
Eight: Build a sun trap
These days, enjoying free energy from the sun is not just good eco sense, it’s good common sense. If you have an existing pergola, all the better – solar panels can be added to it retrospectively with very little fuss (in fact, they can be added quite easily to any carports or canopies you have in situ which are appropriate for their application). Good news for UK homeowners is that solar panels will charge even on rainy and cloudy days, so the investment cost is sure to pay dividends, particularly over much more expensive (not to mention, dirty) ways of providing electricity to your home. With solar energy becoming such a popular choice (almost a million UK households now have them), look for a local installer, then sit back and watch your electricity bills decrease by up to 65%.
Today’s guest blogger is Joy Archer. Joy is an eco-lectic interior designer and a sustainability journalist. She makes the case for a more eco-friendly lifestyle that respects wildlife and the planet’s natural resources on her own blog available at www.wilderjoystudio.com
Joy Archer, Sustainability Journalist, @wilderjoystudio