The home building industry has seen a huge surge in using recycled materials and sustainable practices for both construction and design applications, and now it's trending in interior design, too. Home decorating trends change constantly, and many pieces of furniture are inexpensive - since they're only intended to last until the next season's style debuts - and can easily be tossed and bought again.
However, many designers are working to turn this industry into something that's not only budget- and eco-friendly, but also long-lasting and sentimentally valuable.
"Recycling/repurposing is a great way to save money and the environment, but the true rewards come when materials are thoughtfully used to develop a space that is warm, welcoming and personal," says MaryJo Camp, certified kitchen and bath designer and partner with DesignCamp. "Our homes reflect who we are, and the kinds of materials and furniture one chooses combine to define the space.
The key to working upcycled furniture and decor into a room so it's both functional and decorative starts with first selecting one piece - usually a large item like a bed or sofa - and adding to the room one piece at a time. This avoids the outdated matching furniture suite look, instead building a recurring theme with the use of color, pattern or shapes.
"Repurposed, eclectic design is definitely very trendy - it mixes time periods and styles into a cohesive look," says Joan Inglis, owner of Carolina Spaces Furniture & Design. "The challenge in designing with recycled items, whether you use a few key pieces or a roomful, is to bring those eclectic materials together in harmony." Inglis recommends using different woods in varying tones, assorted metals and a mix of contemporary and traditional styles with a central element that ties the room together.
Personalization and well-being are the two main global trends emerging in sustainable interior design. Combine purchased recycled materials with materials or pieces that have some personal importance to you, like antique hardware from your home or a bureau turned into a guest room vanity. "These choices satisfy the need for emotional well-being by connecting to the past." says Inglis.
Incorporating personal and sentimental items into one's decorating scheme is a huge trend in upcycling decor, such as including reclaimed heritage pieces and family heirlooms. For example, old luggage can be stacked to become side tables with hidden storage, or a large, bulky TV armoire cabinet from a few decades ago can be inexpensively repurposed into a baby wardrobe, utility cabinet or computer nook. "Designers who understand their client's needs will encourage their clients to combine new and repurposed materials for a personalized design that can be enjoyed by the entire family," Inglis explains.
Using antique drawer pulls and knobs from an original space and augmenting them with complimentary current hardware is a great way to honor the past while providing a new space that better suits the homeowner and family.
ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS
Recycling and upcycling items into residential applications in furnishings, designs and home renovations not only benefit the homeowner's budget but also local businesses - and is also good for the planet.
"Purchasing locally from shops that carry American-made furnishings rather than buying imports online helps the local economy and has far-reaching environmental benefits." says Camp. "Think about the fuel used in shipping from foreign countries, then trucking from ports to distribution centers, and finally trucking to your door versus home delivery from a local business. The same is true for wood products that go into the construction and remodeling of homes. Always ask your contractor if they source materials locally or in the Carolinas."
Reusing materials from the existing space saves homeowners the cost of hauling to a disposal site and saves the environment the use of a landfill. It's also important to balance the cost of refurbishing a piece to make it appropriate for reuse. Consider reupholstering rather than buying a new sofa or chair. You can get the custom look you're after while making far less impact on the environment.
Using unique items repurposed in creative ways can elevate a project from merely nice to exceptional, making it difficult to put a price tag on the improvement.
"Sustainability applies to decor as well," says Kelley Lentini, co-owner and designer at House of Nomad. "Instead of always buying new decor, look for vintage pieces that can be mixed in with your newer items to give personality and layer story into your space."
WOOD AND BUILDING MATERIALS
Some of the best and most popular materials to repurpose include recycled materials like barn siding, shiplap and wood flooring/cabinets. People also use wooden pallets to create indoor or outdoor furniture, shoe racks, pet beds or shelving.
Other trends that incorporate recycling wood (and other) materials include:
Live edge tabletops - A live edge is a slab cut from the tree without trimming the sides straight. Most of these slabs would be discarded because of cracks, holes and bark, but this natural beauty is very unique for use in dining rooms, consoles, cocktail and side tables. They can be found at lumber distributors that carry specialty woods.
Stained glass panels - Add to cabinetry or walls to enhance color and definition to spaces.folks
Unique table legs - Made of metal, wood, or other interesting materials, these can be used to support islands or other large pieces of furniture.
"Many folks enjoy visiting antique, thrift and consignment shops, flea markets and garage sales. There are plenty of furniture items, textiles, artwork and accessories from different time periods to be found. With some basic knowledge of carpentry and painting, the average person can morph an item into something totally different," Camp said.
In addition to wood, textiles are also a popular interior design element homeowners and designers enjoy incorporating into a space. "Many of the rugs we hand-select in Morocco are vintage - meaning that instead of selecting new products, we are repurposing handmade items that have both beauty and age," Berkeley Minkhorst, co-owner at House of Nomad, explains. "Our goal is not just creating one-of-a-kind, traveled spaces but that our designs consider the places these designs come from."
Two favorite items House of Nomad designers like to use to add vibrant color to a sofa or bedroom are kanthas (hand-crafted from recycled saris) and overdyed rugs (crafted by taking vintage rugs, shaving them down, and completely dying them in one color). "These pieces are sustainable because they are repurposing a vintage piece," says Minkhorst.
Whatever your next interior design project entails, consider using recycled materials and pieces to create a stunning one-of-a-kind look that is kind to your budget and planet.
By Moment Palmer
As Published in the Charlotte Home ι Design section of The Charlotte Observer
View this post on CarolinaSpaces.com.