Sustainable design does not necessarily mean having all of your furnishings clad in eco friendly materials or low energy appliances or living off of solar panels. You can be sustainable in a much easier way. One area where I feel that ANYONE can have sustainable design is by not getting rid of old furniture. We live in a world where it seems everything is disposable. It shouldn’t be. If you invest in good quality furniture, you can refinish, reupholster and repurpose it for years to come. Even pass it down to your family members.
In 2 current design projects, I am refinishing older furnishings and in one instance using a piece for a purpose the owner never intended. It makes those old heirloom pieces that you love or feel obligated to keep, work in a design. You don’t have to send them to the guest bedroom any more! (you know that’s where all the furniture you don’t know what to do with lives....)
I recently refinished the old pool table that was left behind at my house by the previous owners. Moving a pool table is a beast! The one they left was done in a red cherry color with big claw feet and ornate carving. Needless to say, not my style at all. But it was a great item to have in our home, especially with how much we entertain. My kids love it! So instead of spending thousands of dollars, I just repainted it black. Now it blends with my décor so much better! You almost don’t notice the claw feet and ornateness of the table.
Rescuing and refinishing furniture is one of my favorite things to do. My living room coffee table is an old storage trunk that I painted after buying it for $50 at Scott Antique Market. And I have 2 wing chairs in my guest room that I bought for $40 for the pair at a flea market. They were made by Century Furniture and I love them! They are currently slipcovered but I am sure I will reupholster them once I have a new home for them.
If you have a piece in your home that you don’t love the look of but it is functional or valuable to you, have it refinished. It will change the look and you will be able to say that you are an advocate of sustainable design. Clad it in low VOC paint or eco friendly fabric and you get bonus points!
So be ecofriendly.... repaint, reupholster and reuse!