Trends in Interior Decorating and the Environment
This is a topic which I have very strong opinions. I get asked frequently for advice on what the current trend in interior decorating is. It is pretty much impossible to answer. With the way the world is now, we have access to the Internet, international television, global magazines and we can now readily access designs and ideas from other countries. The fashion changes with the seasons and the stores are frequently stocking the shelves with the latest new look. So what look should you have and for how long?
This is where I put on my “green” hat and start to consider the question about the sustainability of the interior design industry if we are going to keep up the consumerism for the latest and greatest interior decorating trend. How much stuff can we buy, display and then trash for the next new trend four months later? What happens to all this “stuff”. Having small children, I compare this to visiting McDonald’s. My kids only want to go because they get the latest movie toy with their happy meal! What happens to the toy after a day or so? You guessed it, land fill. The conclusion is an absolute waste of resources to make the product, then the fuel used to transport the product, then dispose of the product in a landfill that will not decompose, simply sitting there forever.
In days gone by, we had family heirlooms, items that were passed down from generation to generation, treasured pieces of family history. What do we have now? You buy a new toaster because your old pink one doesn’t match your new red kitchen. You buy new sofas because it is cheaper than recovering your old, you buy new tables and chairs because it is cheaper than having the old timber set refinished. What happens to all this old stuff? Where does it go? Admittedly the Internet has helped redistribute some old stuff with the help of online auctions like ebay.com, but the rest of the old stuff simply gets dumped. How long can we keep this up? Will we all be retiring to a landfill planet earth in 40 years?
This is probably not what you though you would read from the title of this blog, but I would like you to take into consideration the environment and consumerism when you design. Can the products you specify be recycled once they are no longer needed? Are they made from sustainable resources in the first place? How long are they designed to last and can they be easily and economically repaired? Will the design stand the test of time, will it still look good in ten years time?
Where I come back to with trends in interior decorating is that a well designed interior should take on the personality of the owner or inhabitant. It should be unique and express the sentiments of the owner. Sure a few trendy items are great if used sparingly, but redecorating for every trend is really just killing our planet, and what does it say about the owner of the interior space? That they can’t make up their mind what they like so they go with what other people tell them is the current fashion or trend and they just have to have it! I think that shows weakness of personality and backing yourself. If you like candy cane pink striped curtains in your bedroom, then go for it, it shows you are a fun loving “grown up” who probably always wanted them as a kid but wasn’t allowed them, now you have the opportunity to decorate as you please and you just love them.
So whilst trends and fashion are great for department stores, they aren’t so good for our planet, so from now on I urge you to just take a few moments extra when planning your interior decorating or design to think about the products you use, where they come from, how long will they last, are they just a flash in the pan fun trend or designed for the long term and start making informed choices about all our futures. Thank you from me and my young family – the future generation.
PS. I am weaning them off the occasional Happy Meal!