The festive season has long swept by and we’ve recovered from the glitz, glam and stress that the new year celebrations brought us. The extra beds have been put away and a sense of normality has returned to our homes. We are back to the day jobs and reality has set in. But as the cold winter weather forces us to batten down the hatches on our homes and retreat to the comfort of our sofas, we are left longing for the dawn of spring and that moment we can fling open the windows and complain about how hot the weather is again.
Although, while we are sat on the sofa, nurturing a steaming mug of coffee (Irish, if Christmas didn’t see gran drink the kitchen dry), our eyes can’t help but wonder around the room in which we sit and we notice how the décor isn’t as fresh as it once was. Maybe that wallpaper could do with a freshen up? Perhaps that rug has a few trodden-in stains and actually, the sofa isn’t as plump as you would like. So, there is only one thing to do; a room renovation. It will be just the project to get you through the winter and If you start now you can do a big spring reveal, Grand Designs style, or so you tell yourself.
But, before you reach for the catalogues, hire the skip and start carting the ornaments into the next room, take a pause, stop and think about what will actually happen to the room you throw out. Where will that sofa end up? Could somebody else clean up the rug and use it themselves? Could there be an alternative?
According to a study produced by The North London Waste Authority, every year in the UK we throw out around 1,600,000 tonnes of what is defined as bulky waste, including almost 22 million pieces of furniture.
“The interior design and home styling industry is making a lot of progress when it comes to sustainability but it still has a long way to go.” says Natalie Lockwood, a young interior designer and blogger based in Yorkshire. “Selling or giving away items is the eco-friendliest way of disposing of unwanted décor as there is no factory recycling process required.”
“The best way for people to sustainably upgrade their home décor is to take a little extra time when sourcing new products,” Natalie advises. “When shopping locally, look for second-hand stores and charity shops where you could find some amazing, one-off pieces at affordable prices
“Another thing to look for when shopping locally is artisan crafts made on the premises or nearby, this cuts out travel and factories making them much eco-friendlier than something shipped in from abroad” Natalie says. “When shopping online follow the same ideas by using websites such as Gumtree and Preloved to sourced second-hand pieces, for local or handmade products Etsy have a great selection of sellers.”
Once lightning has struck an exciting idea, motivation and eagerness to see the end result commands the idea to play out and be completed NOW. But it is extremely wise to mull over decisions for a while and carefully plan out a scheme to suit, not only for creative reasons, but for sustainable ones too. Perhaps incorporate a few bits of what you already have with a few new-to-you things and see if that is satisfactory?
After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day and perfection is an elusive achievement.
Natalie Lockwood is an interior designer with a focus on sustainability, abd through her own blog, Little Mill House, she has worked with numerous publications and designed rooms for the Ideal Home Show & Grand Designs Live. The Little Mill House blog is in the top 100 upcycling blogs worldwide and was nominated for a prestigious Amara Interior Blog Award in 2017 & 2018. You can check it out here.