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  • Stephanie Donnelly

Eco-Friendly Interior Design

Updated: Apr 7, 2022

As Earth Day approaches, we’ve decided to highlight some of our favorite eco-friendly and sustainable interior design blogs featuring environmentally conscious options for your home. When you make your house more sustainable, you’re contributing to improving the environment. By making small changes to your home or day-to-day habits, you can significantly reduce waste and the release of harmful chemicals. Not only do many of these shifts benefit the environment, but they also benefit your wallet.

Sustainable Interior Design

Interior designers play a huge role in selecting materials such as sustainable hardwood flooring, appliances, and fixtures for your home that have the potential to be energy and water-efficient products. These include things such as appliances and fixtures. Using EPA-approved products positively contributes to lowering the negative impact our homes have on the environment. At the same time, it’s important to keep in mind that designing a home sustainably isn’t simply about choosing the best appliances and conserving water.


The amount of natural light, such as where windows and doors are placed and how much light is allowed to filter through window coverings, plays an important role in maintaining a consistent temperature indoors. This affects how much heat and air conditioning you use on a regular basis.


Surprisingly, even the paint or color scheme in your home can be a contributing factor to decreasing your home's dependence on artificial light which in turn lowers its overall energy use.


Another important aspect of sustainable interior design is both human and environmental health. The environmental impact of materials and products during manufacturing, during its use, and how it can be discarded when it’s no longer needed is a major part of sustainable interior design. Having an interior designer who’s knowledgeable and understands the health implications of toxic materials that may be found in interior furnishings and materials is critical for those who live in your home. Read more about what to look for when choosing the right piece of furniture for your home here.

Focusing on things such as NAF, NAUF or ULEF composite woods to low VOC paints (volatile organic compounds) or the ILFs Red List is extremely important because ultimately, you want a beautiful home that’s also a functional home. You want your space to be functional in a way that is toxin-free and also consciously chosen to protect your family and the environment from toxicity concerns.

As an interior designer, being aware of the importance of sustainable interior design as well as how incorporating it as a framework for where we begin our work together has a huge impact on not only the sustainability of the environment but on you, your family, your health, and the quality of your lifestyle.

There are hundreds if not thousands of different ways for someone to be more environmentally friendly but creating a home that prioritizes sustainability should be a baseline principle for how your home is created. In the end, sustainable interior design should remain the baseline principle for creating a home you never want to leave. This is why it is so important to design a home that you’ll not only live in, but also a home that’s intentionally designed to be everything your family needs.

Looking for ways to celebrate Earth Day this year? Here are ways to reduce your impact on the environment, making Earth Day an everyday celebration:

Use reusable water bottles.

Recent reports revealed that, globally, people purchase about one million plastic bottles every minute. Approximately 91% of all global plastic isn’t recycled. This means that plastic is ending up in our oceans, rivers, landfills, and wildlife, as well as litter on our streets.

Rather than purchasing water bottles, consider using a reusable water bottle and drinking tap water. In the U.S. people average drinking 13 beverages in plastic bottles every month. By using a reusable water bottle instead, you would be saving an average of 156 bottles each year. We love glass or stainless steel.

Don’t leave the water running.

Cutting down on water use doesn’t mean you have to take 1-minute showers, but there is one very simple way to drastically reduce water usage. Simply turn off the faucet when it doesn’t need to be on. For example, the water doesn’t need to be left running when you’re brushing your teeth. Additionally, easy steps such as stopping your sink while washing your dishes significantly decrease the amount of time that fresh water is flowing from your faucet.

Reduce your paper consumption.

Go paperless by unsubscribing from junk mail, opting for online billing, and switching to eBooks. If you really prefer physical books, check out used bookstores or do a book exchange with your friends. And when you do use paper, make sure to recycle!

Replace single-use items.

Finding alternatives for single-use items helps to minimize your impact on the environment while also benefitting your wallet. Below are ideas of things you could easily replace with more sustainable items:

  • Plastic straws can be replaced with a stainless steel straw (or no straw!)

  • Plastic or paper shopping bags can be swapped out for reusable bags made from organic cotton or jute

  • Cling wrap and sandwich bags can be replaced by wax wrap

  • Cotton balls and cotton facial pads can be replaced with washable and reusable organic cotton or bamboo

  • Dryer sheets can be substituted with wool dryer balls

  • Single-use coffee cups can be replaced with stainless steel canteen style

Go on a trash hike.

If you’re looking to be more proactive in your sustainability efforts, pick up litter as you take a walk around your neighborhood or when you go on a hike. We’ve become so used to seeing litter that it sometimes becomes easy to ignore. By challenging yourself to improve your awareness of trash as well as taking action to clean it up, you can greatly impact your surroundings.

However you decide to celebrate Earth Day and live your everyday life, we hope that you continue to make conscious choices that positively affect both you and the people around you.

~This blog was brought to you by S. Donnelly Interiors. Learn more about the interior design project process by following Stephanie Donnelly and her interior design services in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and the surrounding areas!


S.Donnelly Interiors
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