How To Pick The Right Eco-Friendly Home Interior Decor

How To Pick The Right Eco-Friendly Home Interior Decor

Crafted by Berber artisans. Curated by decor enthusiasts

This article was written by Erica Reiner of Eco Method Interiors as part of our Interior Design Newsletter series.

Hopefully by now, most of us are conscious consumers. If we can get something we need or want that has a lighter impact on this world, we see the inherent value in that and look to buy from the company doing a better job in providing those kinds of products. Yet, sustainable or environmentally-friendly are umbrella terms that can encompass a lot of different meanings and traits.
This can include everything from the use of natural resources, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, contributions to the waste stream, the use of toxic chemicals in production and raw materials, destruction of natural habitats, fair trade ethics, animal treatment ethics, and more. It's a lot to consider, and even more to navigate as the consumer.


To answer if a product for home design is sustainable or not, I like to get answers to the following questions:

How was this made?

This may be made in a factory or building that uses fossil fuels or renewable energy, that has a water recycling system or that releases the waste water into a local river.

Where was this made?

The location (local vs. overseas) means that the transportation of the item will contribute more or less to greenhouse gas emissions depending on the source and the end user. The location may also have implications for the conditions and protections for the people or person making it.

What was this made with?

Goods can be made with all natural materials or synthetic materials that often include petroleum. Maybe the product is made with recycled materials, or maybe all virgin resources were used to create it. Once it's finished, it may be treated with a chemical that may or may not be safe for people - the ones making the product and the ones buying it.

Who made it?

If the item was handmade, you want to know that they were adequately compensated for their work. If it was machine made, you want to know the conditions in the factory were ethical and child labor-free.

What will happen to it when I'm done?

If the product was made with all natural materials, it may degrade well when it's tossed out. If it's made with synthetic materials, it may or may not be recyclable or possible to recycle locally. 

Can we be sure about the environmental claims?

Some companies "greenwash" where they make vague environmental claims that sound good but don't actually have any sustainable attributes. Some companies do a great job and advertise it or not. Some companies pay to get their products certified by a third party, so the consumer can be assured. 


Now, that's a lot to consider, and the answer may not be the one you want for all of these questions. So consider the good, better, best approach. That could mean the item you're considering does hit a few of the sustainable criteria but not in all circumstances. You can decide what's most important to you while considering the other criteria of the item like aesthetics, price, and lead times. 

When talking about rugs, buying vintage hits a lot of these sustainability criteria. 

First, the fibers are often all natural, primarily wool. Wool is ideal for rugs as it is very durable, naturally anti-microbial and fire-retardant. This means the rug:


  • Will last a long time, reducing the need for a replacement sooner?
  • Is likely minimally treated with chemicals (especially for artisan, handmade pieces) for flame retardation, stain resistance, or even harsh dyes?
  • Will biodegrade at the end of its life?
  • Vintage reduces the demand for resources for a new rug including the space, water and feed needed to care for the sheep that grow the wool, the fibers itself, any chemical inputs, the energy and the natural resources needed that would support the production?


So feel good about your beautiful, handmade, vintage rug. 

About Eco-Method Interiors

Erica Reiner is currently the owner and design principal of Eco Method Interiors, the premier residential & commercial, eco-friendly, interior design company.

After going to undergraduate and graduate school in the environmental sciences, Erica worked in environmental startups and taught environmental science at Los Angeles colleges. In 2014, while the idea for an interior design business was new, the need to incorporate her environmentalist identity and expertise was not. Erica rebranded and refocused the company vision to incorporate eco-friendly and non-toxic products, materials, and practices. 

Erica’s favorite part of the work is helping people transform their space to reflect who they are with a holistic approach and attention to the psychological, physical and environmental impacts of interior design. 

When she’s not working, she’s hanging with her friends and family in Los Angeles, California.


For inspiration and inquiries, you can find Eco-Method Interiors here:

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