Creating a Sustainable Home with Clever Interior Design
When we think of energy efficiency, we tend to think big in terms of investing in renewable power or changing our vehicle to an EV. But many don’t realise the impact that subtle changes to their interior design can make on the energy efficiency of a home. There are numerous advantages to an energy-efficient home, and with these home design tips, you can see lower energy bills and a reduced carbon footprint just through clever styling.
Add soft furnishings
Decorating your floors and furniture with rugs, throws and blankets helps to absorb heat and keep the room warmer and more comfortable. Not only do soft furnishings absorb warmth, but they also help to separate connecting spaces, such as an open-plan living and dining space, to create zones. Opting for dark colours is a great way to enhance those heat-absorbing properties, and make it warmer without the need to put the heating on.
Choose carpets over laminate flooring
The flooring you choose goes a long way to trapping heat and making your home more energy-efficient. If your home has laminate or vinyl flooring, this can leave these rooms feeling cold, so investing in thick carpets for the main areas of your property where you spend the most time can help to increase the warmth of your property in the colder months. Wool carpets are naturally insulating, or you might choose carpets made from recycled materials for an eco-friendly spin on traditional carpeting.
Dress your windows
The size, type and placement of your windows can affect the temperature of a room considerably, but often there’s little we can do to move this feature of a home around unless you’re preparing for much bigger home renovations. A quick fix that is surprisingly effective at trapping heat inside when you need it most is replacing your curtains with thermally lined alternatives.
Thermal curtains allow the breeze to come through when the weather is warmer, but in the evenings or during the winter, they’ll ensure the draughts are kept out. Alternatively, you might opt for energy-efficient window treatments with a reflective side to block out UV rays in the summer and a heat-absorbing side for preventing heat loss.
Enhance air circulation in each room
Another interior design tip that can help you live more sustainably and improve the energy efficiency of your home is repositioning the furniture based on air circulation. For example, if your sofa is currently positioned in front of your radiator, you’re blocking the heat that’s entering the room when you turn the heating on, which means you need to leave it on for longer to fully warm the room.
Moving bulky items of furniture out of the way so your radiators or electric fire don’t need to work so hard will save you money and reduce the carbon footprint of your home without you needing to spend any additional money. Likewise, if there are draughty areas of the room, furniture can be used to block these areas too, such as skirted furnishings or high-back chairs and bookcases.
Choose colour schemes with care
One of the easiest ways to lower your electricity bill is to paint your home with carefully selected colours. Bright, light colours reflect light more effectively which reduces the need to put on artificial lights, while dark colours, as mentioned above, can help to make your home feel warmer by absorbing heat so you don’t need to rely as heavily on your heating.
In rooms that tend to feel cold, you might consider painting the ceiling a deeper shade to keep the warmth in, while rooms that typically need fans and air conditioning in the summer might benefit from lighter tones. If the room doesn’t get a lot of light and feels cold as a result, opting for a bright, welcoming colour like red, orange or yellow will warm up the room.
Upgrade ceiling lights to fan lights
Small details can make a big difference, and your lighting is one such example. We all know the importance of replacing traditional bulbs with LED bulbs, but the style of the light itself can also be used as a tool for greater sustainability. Fan lights are ideal for use in the summer to cool the room down when rotated counterclockwise to create a downward draught, and in winter, moving it in a clockwise direction can circulate warm air efficiently. It’s inexpensive but highly effective at reducing your energy costs, plus you don’t need to take up extra space in a room with floor-standing fans.
Add cork wallpaper
Textured wallpaper is a popular design choice, but the materials you choose can go a long way to creating an eco-friendly home. Natural cork wallpaper is an environmentally friendly material that naturally warms up a room and looks stylish at the same time. In a similar way to bamboo or jute, cork has a rustic look that works perfectly in a sustainable home, but it also benefits from antibacterial properties and can prevent mould from developing in a room. Easy to maintain and durable, cork is a low-maintenance way of warming the structure of your home.
Install a cool roof
Cool roofs may have a reputation for being something of a gimmick, but there’s truth to their eco-friendly qualities. Cool roofs reflect the sunlight away from your roof, which reduces the heat absorbed into the property, lowering air conditioning costs in turn. A cool roof can take many forms, from reflective paint to shingles, tiles or even green roofing with plants and grasses. You might be surprised by the impact installing this type of roofing can have on the interior temperature of the property.
Sustainability is all about making small changes that are accessible for you and your budget, and the interior design of your home is just one more way you can enhance your eco credentials while still enjoying a stylish and comfortable home. It’s never too late to make design changes that will positively impact your property, keeping energy bills down and making your home more enjoyable to live in, without harming the planet in the process.