Finding ways to go green has never been easier, says stylist and interior designer Harriet Paterson. When creating her own eco home by renovating a South London townhouse, Harriet applied sustainable thinking to every decision she made, from the way she wanted it powered right down to the bedlinen.
‘When it comes to decoration,’ she advises, ‘furnish simply and choose nontoxic paints and resin finishes for your walls. If possible, upcycle furniture that you already have as opposed to buying new items. Remember, a fresh lick of paint goes a long way, or use natural dyes to repurpose a throw or rug.’
WALLS: When choosing wall colour make sure it’s clean – look for paint brands free from chemical nasties. PLANTS: Use plants in abundance to help clean the air in your home. CHAIRS: Vintage furniture is recycling at its most stylish. Remember when updating pieces to use non-toxic paints. Cassart.co.uk sells water-based spray paints. RUG: To reduce waste, repair or revamp and Re-use where possible. This rug has been over-dyed, repurposing the original piece. WINDOWS: Floor-to-ceiling windows flood this room with light, reducing the need for artificial lighting
TILES: Use a solvent-free adhesive for your tiles. Kerakoll.com sells a wide selection. Using reclaimed tiles is the most eco-friendly option for your home. Space the tiles closely to use less grout. HEATING: Underfloor heating systems are by far the best option for economically warming your home. Alternatively, switch to aluminium radiators
WALLS: Water-based paints are naturally low in chemical fumes, making them less toxic and more environmentally friendly. ON TABLE: Opt for recycled glass and porcelain from manufacturing waste destined for landfill. FLOORING: Look for the FSC label when choosing wooden flooring. FSC-certified companies tend to use every piece of the tree, so nothing is wasted
If you do have to replace pieces, choose ones made from sustainable materials, such as bamboo, natural stone and cork. When using wood look for the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) label so you can be sure it is from a well-managed source. And, if you can, opt for vintage furniture rather than new.
Reducing your use of harmful chemicals by swapping to eco-friendly cleaning products (try biodegradable.biz and ethicalsuperstore.com) is another small but effective change. Cut down on plastic by looking for refillable containers, too.
‘Energy consumption can also be reduced by switching to LED lightbulbs – which use less electricity and last longer – and using natural light, as opposed to artificial, where possible,’ says Harriet. Switch to a supplier that provides 100 per cent renewable energy, and when replacing electrical goods such as fridges, opt for energy-efficient models (see beko.co.uk for a good selection). Bigger changes could include more energy-efficient heating – such as an underfloor system – and triple glazing. If you’re looking to renovate your home from scratch, check out renovategreen.co.uk for helpful tips and resources on refurbishing in a sustainable way.
For more information on Harriet’s work visit, harrietpaterson.com
NOW LET’S SHOP
The buys that are big on style – and sustainability
Recycled cotton rug (140cm x 200cm), £69.99, Conscious H&M, hm.com; Woven-grass basket, £195, toa.st/uk;