Making conscious choices for the home

November 1, 2016 4

18

recycled, conscious home, conscious interiors, sustainable homes, recycled home textiles

Recently I read a comment about fashion blogs saying that there is too often mere product placement and a call for consumerism. Rarely do fashion blogs actually look behind the product and talk about what inspires fashion, the cultural relevance of fashion, the design process and so on. I was wondering if this was only applicable to fashion blogs or to blogs in general. Do we make conscious choices for the home? So today I want to talk a bit about sustainability, repurposing and how much we really need new things in our homes.

conscious choices for the home, conscious home, sustainability, sustainable home, sustainable interiors, conscious shopping, recycled home textiles

conscious choices for the home, conscious home, sustainability, sustainable home, sustainable interiors, conscious shopping, recycled home textiles

Don’t you feel guilty from time to time? Again a new cushion, a new vase, a new item to add. Simultaneously you feel to need to get rid of other things. It’s a flow of incoming and outgoing items. And how often to we simply bin things? Maybe a tad too often. As you know I live in a small apartment. And as much as I like to get new items into my home, I also wonder how to get rid of things. Here’s the dilemma. Do I succumb to consumerim?

conscious choices for the home, conscious home, sustainability, sustainable home, sustainable interiors, conscious shopping, recycled home textiles

conscious choices for the home, conscious home, sustainability, sustainable home, sustainable interiors, conscious shopping, recycled home textiles

I’ll make it clear from the beginning: I am not innocent. I buy new things because I fall in love with them. Or at least that’s what I think in that very moment. However, I have changed over time and focus more and more on vintage items. At least there the consumerism seems a bit more sustainable. I end up buying existing things, old things, that had a life before. And instead of ending in a trash can they get a second (or third) life in my home. On the other hand I also tend to give away or sell my things too. Why trowing them away if they are still nice and good? Less garbage, less new things. At least it makes me feel less guilty too.

conscious choices for the home, conscious home, sustainability, sustainable home, sustainable interiors, conscious shopping, recycled home textiles

conscious choices for the home, conscious home, sustainability, sustainable home, sustainable interiors, conscious shopping, recycled home textiles

Also when it comes to fashion (and I am not a big fashion victim) I find myself being more and more conscious in my choices. Less shirts, but better shirts made of organic cotton. Also recycling is another great option – not only in fashion but in interiors too. Not long ago I bought a blanket from The Future Kept made of 100% recycled wool. And the Swedish home textiles brand Bemz has recently launched a new collection named ‘Respect Collection’. It is entirely made of textile leftovers from the fashion industry. Sustainable home textiles for your home. I like that.

conscious choices for the home, conscious home, sustainability, sustainable home, sustainable interiors, conscious shopping, recycled home textiles

conscious choices for the home, conscious home, sustainability, sustainable home, sustainable interiors, conscious shopping, recycled home textiles

What do you think? How important is that to you? I mean I understand, in the end we all give in to the urge to add a beautiful new item to our home. But has this changed over time for you too? Have you started being way more conscious in your choices? In your buying behavior? Not only when it comes to home decor, but also in respect of fashion, food, cosmetics. Anything literally. Let me know, I’d love to discuss this further with you.

Photography via Bemz, first image via The Future Kept

18 Comments

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18 Comments

  • Reply amy November 2, 2016 at 10:32

    auch ich bekenne mich schuldig 😉
    mein heutiger blogpost, in dem ich ein buch zum industrial style vorstelle, beginnt mit einem zitat aus diesem “sammle dinge, die dich glücklich machen und die du gerne anschaust und um dich hast” und meinem bekenntnis, den tausendsten holzschemel nach hause geschleppt zu haben…
    dennoch, mir geht es wie dir, in meinen käufen bin viel “bewusster” geworden, achtsamer…
    was die kleinen dekodinge angeht, ich nenne sie “liebenswerte rumstehchen” ist es ein kommen und gehen (bis auf die wahren herzensstücke) ich finde sie auf flohmärkten und auf der straße und ebenso stelle ich dinge zum verschenken auf die straße oder verschenke sie bewusst.
    ja, auf vielen blogs werden “produkte” gezeigt, auch auf meinem… ich persönlich wünsche mir von den blogs auch inspiration (in jeglicher hinsicht… diy`s, interiorideen, schöne produkte, buchempfehlungen etc.) und ich muss die dinge ja nicht kaufen, manchmal sind sie einfach ein impuls diese selbst zu gestalten/umzusetzen.
    du siehst, dein post hat mich sehr ins nachdenken gebracht 🙂 aber trotz vieler gedanken will ich meinen langen text nun beenden…
    herzlichste grüße & wünsche an dich
    amy

    • Reply Igor November 2, 2016 at 11:05

      Hallo Amy, ah gut zu wissen, dass ich nicht alleine bin:-) Ich denke mir oftmals, dass man gerade als Blogleser so viele neue und schöne Dinge zu sehen bekommt, dass man ja laufend neue Accessoires fürs Zuhause kaufen könnte. Glücklicherweise bremst mich schon mal die geringe Größe meiner Wohnung ein. Und zweitens eben ein wesentlich bewußteres Herangehen an das Thema Kaufen. Ich überlege mir jetzt immer zweimal, ob ich mir etwas Neues wirklich kaufe oder nicht. Mein Rezept: Dem ersten Kaufimpuls widerstehen und zwei-drei Tage verstreichen lassen. Wenn ich es dann immer noch dringend und unbedingt will, kaufe ich es. Falls aber der Drang nachgelassen hat, kaufe ich eben nicht. Schaden kann es ja nicht! Schönen Tag Dir noch!

  • Reply Nannette November 2, 2016 at 11:09

    Great post with the right questions!
    Re-thinking and recycling should be in our “interior” future.
    Hope you’re ok with me sharing this on FB!
    Thanks!

    • Reply Igor November 2, 2016 at 13:25

      Yes of course Nannette! Thank you very much for sharing it! I think it’s an interesting topic to discuss!

  • Reply valerie anglade November 2, 2016 at 15:47

    So good to read you Happy Interior Blog. I have started few years back and I have never felt guilty again spending in low quality and unsustainable stuff (homeware or fashion) my so hard earned money since. My home is airy. I am proud of each piece I own because they provided a living to a maker, the piece is almost unique because handmade, it is sustainable (human respect and natural or recycled materials..). And I really love The Future Kept philosophy :-). Thanks for that xx&x

    • Reply Igor November 2, 2016 at 17:46

      Agree with all your points Valerie. I prefer to choose products that have a meaning and I like to keep things at home that have a story and emotional value for me. No throw-away products that I like today and toss tomorrow!

  • Reply Vin November 2, 2016 at 20:41

    HI Igor, such a great article! This is something (both at home and in fashion) that I find myself struggling with for the last year. I love your idea of buying vintage – I’m sure it would make me feel less guilty! Nowadays I also find myself checking labels – when it comes to buying clothing to focus on the type of material , to know if it will last me years, or just a season. Also, I just read a wonderful article online about how to increase the life of your clothing – like folding it correctly or hanging it the right way, and to check wash instructions correctly. Often times machine wash / dry clean degrades the material and I find myself paying more attention to these little things! Loved your article – such a great way to use your voice!

    • Reply Igor November 2, 2016 at 22:24

      Thank you Vin! Excellent tips regarding clothing! With clothes I have become much more conscious over the past few years. I buy way less, I buy higher quality and as often as possible organic cotton/linen. I also tend to opt for classic, basic colours, clothes that are great options for everyday and every season. No flashy fashion items that are seasonal. Glad you enjoyed the blog post and thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  • Reply Amy @apidaecandles November 3, 2016 at 16:27

    A wonderful post Igor. Yes, love it or leave it. And often the best choice is to leave it. I love it when everything tells a story and while the vase from the big box store does serve its purpose, it certainly doesn’t have a story to tell.

    • Reply Igor November 3, 2016 at 19:37

      Exactly Amy. Plus you end up seeing the vase from the big box in many other homes, shops, restaurants. It is so bland, it looks and it is a mass product after all. So I rather hunt for one special vase and then it has at least one story to tell: the story of my vase hunting:-)

  • Reply Mar November 5, 2016 at 16:37

    This is a great post. I work in environmental education, so teaching people to live a more responsible lifestyle is a passion of mine. I love the idea of repurposing, not only to help save the environment, but when it comes to the home, I think you can find a lot of really cool pieces at thrift stores, etc. I find that certain pieces, especially furniture, just aren’t made like they used to be, so if you can slap a coat of paint and some new fabric on something to make it your own, I’d much rather do that than buy new.

    • Reply Igor November 5, 2016 at 19:03

      That is an excellent attitude and I can totally approve. The only limitation on my end is that I am not all too talented when it comes to DIY-ing. But well, with the help of more talented friends this shouldn’t be an obstacle! 🙂

  • Reply kelly November 6, 2016 at 13:44

    Absolutely adore this post Igor; you’ve hit the nail on the head on consumerism and blogging. I’ve really changed my tune on what I’m buying now from clothing (I only buy quality cotton and linen products now), make up (love Ren products) and to what we are purchasing for our home which is a huge DIY product – if it’s better for the environment we will make the investment. Unfortunately a lot of companies make items very disposable and rather cheap and nasty (and they only last a few years) which isn’t helping peoples attitudes towards making a purchase. I was always bought up with the quality over quantity attitude however over the past few years I went on a quantity spree but am back to making purchases that are quality over quantity and with a story i.e. made in Britain / NZ- more expensive but they seem to last a lot longer! I’ve spent all year listing items on eBay on my quest of getting rid of crap xx

    • Reply Igor November 6, 2016 at 18:25

      I am with you Kelly! I also used to buy things just to have them as I liked them on the first look. But then I always regretted my purchase a week or month later and I wanted to get rid of it. I realized this is not normal and not sustainable at all hence I am now way more considerate and careful when making purchase decisions. And whatever has to go out, I try to give away or sell online or on flea markets. Why not give them a second life somewhere else instead of tossing it into the bin?! Same goes for clothing. I am very selective now and buy only quality/organic cotton – I rather spend some extra Euros then buying cheap and bulk.

  • Reply Beth November 9, 2016 at 04:56

    Oh, yummy. I have to admit, when I scrolled down and saw the third image, my heart skipped a beat. I’m a sensitive person, so when I see something that appeals to all my senses, it almost makes me tear up.

    I gutted and remodeled my 1970’s mid-century-style kitchen about five years ago. I’m a biologist and very much into sustainable design and materials, so I attempted to make the “best” choices at the time. I did a lot of research. Even when I could find materials, they were only available to the the trade, they were located in one showroom in NYC, or they were so out of my budget I couldn’t even consider them.

    Frustrated, I had the idea to open my own retail store featuring not only green furniture, but sustainable fixtures, carpet, paint, shingles, wallpaper, even rain barrels and grass seed. My store would also be a place where homeowners could also come to learn green building construction methods (insulation, best sink materials, etc.). I named my imaginary company Madison Green (my county name is Madison in Illinois.) I live not too far from St. Louis so I thought I may be able to break even and enjoy my job at the same time.

    Do you use the term Millenials as freely as we do in the US? Anyway, research shows that millennials are willing to spend 20-30% more for products if they are sustainable, and as Economics 101 tells us, if a substantial market is created for the product, the price goes down. Everyone wins.

    A home builder/remodeler should not have to pay twice as much to purchases composite countertops made of recycled glass than they do to buy laminate counters that end up in the landfill. More and more Americans are turning away from McMansions and are choosing not to buy ‘things’ in order to fill their empty lives. Materials and production certifications and standards are becoming more widespread globally; being able to carry a particular seal on a product will encourage more manufacturers to enter the market. More companies will be encouraged to use ingenuity to decrease their carbon footprint during manufacturing so they can also tout this achievement.

    Oh, my point. Please keep featuring great pieces such as this one. Heck, some of the stuff is so great and aesthetically satisfying that people will seek it out not knowing or caring that it’s good for the planet.
    And please, if anyone out there chooses to open the type of store I describe, please don’t name it Madison Green. : ) Thanks, and keep up the great work.

    • Reply Igor November 9, 2016 at 11:15

      Thank you Beth for this personal and insightful comment! I have never been remodeling an entire room or home but I sense that it is quite difficult and probably very expensive if you want to opt for sustainable solutions and materials. But I also see that customers are getting more and more aware of the long-term advantages of sustainable choices for their homes and thus are willing to pay more for better solutions. Eventually we will have a bigger market and these better options will get less pricey and hence available to a larger base of customers as you said. Fingers crossed! And Madison Green is a pretty nice name indeed!

  • Reply Tracie December 8, 2016 at 05:31

    Thanks for this post, Igor. Important issues to focus on when decorating/styling homes.
    I have shared this on my fb page with credit to you and your blog. Tracie

    • Reply Igor December 8, 2016 at 11:44

      Thank you for sharing, Tracie!

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