Bringing ecologically sound personality into your home

by Charlotte England, Mkira Design

Our homes should be a sanctuary; an oasis away from the pressures of an often frenetic outside world. They should be a place where we can relax and feel at ease; somewhere which reflects our personality and celebrates our life. Creating an interior which is stylish and up to the minute whilst reflecting individuality and life experiences often seems daunting.

A sure sign of a well-designed interior is the harmony of the pieces used in each room. To achieve a seemingly effortless style, however, takes careful planning and a methodical, efficient approach. Always carry a tape measure with you and a list of items you are searching for, with the dimensions of the space you have available. Take with you swatches of the colours in your room as a reference point. Too often people buy something they fall in love with only to find it doesn’t fit the room you intended it for, in terms of size and colour. Impulse buys often don’t work. 

With an ever-increasing importance for us to consider our impact on the planet, using sustainable and renewable materials is gaining greater significance. A great way to follow the principles of the three R’s, (Recycle, Re-use and Reduce) while furnishing your home is to visit auction rooms and flea markets. It can be a lot of fun wandering amongst the stalls at the flea market searching for hidden gems or taking part in bidding for items in an auction room. But remember to have your tape measure at the ready to check the item will fit before the hammer falls.

Bring auction room finds up to date and in keeping with your colour scheme, by recovering with a modern fabric or freshen up with a complementary colour so it sits in harmony with your room.

These older pieces of furniture were built to last, made with quality materials and craftmanship, they can with stand the test of time and become family heirlooms.

Fill your home with pieces which tell a story. When travelling bring home souvenirs which add beauty to your home and remind you of the time you spent in that country. Search out local craftspeople; it is not only interesting to visit their workshops and see them skilfully produce their goods in person, but supports the local economy and gives joy for years to come.

However, you do not need to travel to far flung places to find talented artisans. Visit local craft fairs and independent shops to find the hidden talent in your area. Supporting local makers who are experts in their field adds to the story of your home, instead of promoting mass produced high street goods. Throughout the country our high streets are slowly emerging with independent, maker stores. There are lots of local makers who bring their personal experience, skills and creativity to their products. They are unable to compete with big companies who are all about the money which often means lower quality products to keep their profit margins high. But where small producers can differentiate themselves by produce quality, well designed products. Shopping local gives your community a chance to thrive – a win, win for all!

Finally, furnish your home with nature, even in the smallest of ways can produce benefits. Biophilic design is an ever increasing consideration within architecture and interior design. The concept of increasing connectivity to the natural environment through the use of nature within our internal spaces.

With research suggesting we spend 90% of our day indoors, bringing plants into your home can perform a variety of therapeutic functions; they purify and oxygenate the air, helping with sleep and alleviating anxiety, helping improve your mental and physical well-being.

Use natural materials within your home. Wood, bamboo and rattan bring a sense of warmth which cannot be found in plastic or synthetic man-made materials. By using linen, wool and organic cotton for your soft furnishings, not only are you making a conscious choice of only bringing sustainable materials into your home, they create a cosy, wholesome feeling within a space.

The use of these honest materials will not only age well, the texture getting better with time, but they will also bring a feeling of calm within your home, an affiliation with nature.

When designed well, our homes have the power to nurture, recuperate and empower us, within our own private sanctuary.