Five Easy Eco-Material Swaps for a Greener Home

How sustainable is your home?

In an age where we’re more environmentally aware than ever, it’s no surprise that sustainability and eco-design have become major buzzwords in the world of interior design. Case in point – we’ve featured no less than six sustainable homes this year alone. We love that the eco-friendly homes we’ve showcased prove that green design and style can go hand in hand, but when it comes to making our own homes environmentally friendly, we know that sometimes it can be easier said than done given the overwhelming amount of contradictory information on the web and a lack of transparency from retailers.

To assist, we’ve compiled a list of five easy eco-material swaps so that you can ensure you’re being as green as possible.


Swap One: Synthetic Fibers for 100% Wool

To make a house a home, a soft carpeted floor or a fluffy rug is a must. Not only do they add cozy comfort to a space, but they are also great for helping to retain heat and muffle sound. The only downside? Most traditional carpets and rugs are made from unsustainable petroleum-based synthetic fibers that are backed by a toxic latex mix containing styrene, a suspected human carcinogen.

Textile lovers who still want their carpet fix shouldn’t be too worried though – simply opt for a sustainable 100% wool option instead, like Company C’s above. The complex internal structure of wool makes it a springy yet resilient and durable material, perfect to have underfoot.


Swap Two: Granite for Recycled Glass

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Granite kitchen countertops are typically touted as the holy grail of kitchen design, but did you know that quarrying granite is hugely damaging to the environment? As an alternative, we like the idea of using recycled glass as a countertop substitute.

Glass is a natural fit for the kitchen for it is both heat and scratch resistant, so naturally we’ve featured recycled glass countertops before in our ‘Guide to Kitchen Countertops’. What’s more, by using recycled glass you will be helping to divert waste from the landfill. Most glass countertops, such as this stunning Vetrazzo Bretagne Blue, are a form of terrazo; the resulting countertop boasts beautifully intricate details which will leave you wondering why you ever considered granite in the first place.


Swap Three: Marble for Recycled Tiles

Loved for its sophistication and instant high-quality appeal, marble is a regular star of bathrooms the world over. However just like granite, the process of quarrying marble requires huge energy resources, making it an environmentally suspect interior choice.

For a more eco-friendly option, how about installing ceramic tiles in your bathroom? Ceramic tiles have a rustic earthy quality to them which we love for capturing that charming country-house vibe. We advise opting for a brand that uses an eco-conscious closed-cycle production process, such as the ones pictured above by Marazzi.


Swap Four: Vinyl for Bamboo

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Relatively inexpensive and easy to install, vinyl flooring is a popular choice for homeowners; in fact 14 billion pounds of vinyl flooring is produced in the US every year. It is beyond worrying then that vinyl presents an environmental and health hazard across its entire life cycle.

Instead of vinyl, bamboo offers the same affordability and hardwood effect with minimal environmental costs. In fact, bamboo is known to be a rapidly renewable plant, which helps to balance concerns regarding the amount of energy it takes to ship it from China. Regardless, the fact that bamboo comes with few health hazards makes it an infinitely superior alternative – just make sure to look for bamboo that has been FSC-certified with no added formaldehyde.


Swap Five: Leather for Recycled or Organic Upholstery

Leather is not only bad for the environment but also harmful to animals too; even PU and PVC options, which are common cruelty-free substitutes, release toxic chemicals during their manufacturing process.

The best way to go green is through a fabric alternative. We love this quirky wood-framed option from VivaTerra, inspired by the classic Barcelona Chair. The cushions are upholstered in reclaimed jute coffee sacks, perfect for adding a worldly air to your interior.

We’d love to hear if you have any of your own eco-swap hacks to share with us. Alternatively, let us know if you try any of these stylish eco-swaps in your own home by taking a picture and tagging us on Instagram (#N9Home).

For more green interior inspiration check out this Viennese home’s use of vintage furnishings, or this striking Brazilian country retreat.