Sustainability | Impact

Why Interior Designers Should Make More Sustainable Choices

Jul 04, 2021 | Tamanna Tahera

WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE INTERIOR DESIGN? It's difficult to escape from the word sustainable in any industry today, and surely not least in the world of interior design. Sustainable interior design is about having sustainability principles such as functionality, accessibility, and aesthetics focusing on the planet and people at the core of their thinking when creating. This is considering the necessity of helping reduce pollution, energy consumption, and waste.


• Design to spark global interest 

Sustainable interior design is a growing interest in today's market. Many individuals have started showing their interest by marching the streets and demanding systematic changes to stand and battle against climate change. As it stands, the future generation's interest in a sustainable lifestyle would be even more powerful by reducing their carbon footprint and buying/working from companies with the same values. 
Therefore, this proves that sustainable interior design and products will become an identification for companies making an effort to bring a difference and for end-users choosing to support them, thus increasing demand. 

• Design for longevity and flexibility 

There is a general misconception that taking sustainability measures increases the investment cost or product buying. However, various financial value drivers justify that making an initial extra investment is beneficial for long-term profit, such as a healthier and comfortable environment, higher quality, and a reduction in operation cost. 
• Design for waste reduction 
The material choice of products in design is relatively important when making environmentally friendly decisions. This is somewhat easy to do by buying only natural or recyclable materials. Often, 90% of the wood used is not imported, so it is important to buy from trusted companies known for their sustainable work. 

• Design for energy efficiency

 With energy-efficient interior design, you not only have the advantage of lowering energy bills, but it will also help you create a welcoming atmosphere, which will also be beneficial for reducing eyestrain. • Design for low environmental impact 
By bringing environmentally sustainable materials into your interior design projects, environmental impacts can notably reduce. This would be possible by lessening the energy consumption, less natural resource depletion and pollution, and less toxicity for both the occupants and the ecosystem. 

• Design for healthy environments

In Europe, 90% of our time is spent indoors: we sleep, eat, learn, and most of us work from home. The place we live in has a greater effect on our health than we might think; for this very reason, interior designers must explore how they design and optimize buildings for health from the start of each project. 
An example could be VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Joe Allen, a public researcher at Harvard, investigated the matter and found that even though "most of us aren't alarmed by the smell of fresh paint or a new carpet. But those odors, released in the form of VOCs, can be toxic", and that VOCs could have effects such as "hormone-disrupting agents lurking in flame retardants commonly found in furniture, toys, and other households' items". 

 Fig 1: Examples of explicitly showcasing carbon footprint can be one way to raise awareness. 

Furthermore, in his research with Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to investigate "possible links between flame retardants and thyroid disease in women who have higher concentrations of this chemical in their blood, and an even greater risk for women who are postmenopausal" (Gazette. 2018). 

Allen's research suggests although we are unaware and most of us might not take it as a serious problem because the effects are visible in the long term, it is, in fact, something we should pay attention to more for our wellbeing. 


  1. Better for the planet 
  2. Better for the economy 
  3. Better for our wellbeing 
  4. Better for our future

Another great benefit of making sustainable decisions is that by doing so, you will also be able to raise your brand awareness as a small company


Whether you are starting or believe it's time to change to more sustainable products for your interior design business, we at Rural Handmade are ready to help you with your decision. 

Our mission is to redefine the supply chain at Rural handmade to help build sustainable brands, focusing 100% on sustainable output and lowering the global carbon footprint by handmade, customized products from artisans in South Asia. 

You may be thinking of refurnishing one single area or the entire space from beginning to end; whichever your choice is, our service is ready to help you with designing your dream sustainable interior space.

Harvard Gazette. (2018). Your building might be making you sick. Joe Allen can help. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Jul. 2021].

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