How To Decorate Your Home With Sustainability In Mind
Sustainability sometimes feels like a word that’s lost meaning, doesn’t it?
The term has become so overused that it’s hard to know what sustainable choices look like in practice. Greenwashing is rampant, especially in brand marketing, and it can be difficult to separate what’s really a more sustainable choice from smoke and mirrors.
At its core, sustainability is about conservation and careful use of resources; it means thinking about the long-term consequences behind our consumption. So, what does this have to do with rugs and home decor?
The EPA estimates that in 2018, nearly 2.5 million tons (tons!) of carpets and rugs ended up in landfills. It also estimates that 9.6 tons of furniture and furnishings suffered the same fate. And that’s just in the U.S. alone. For scale, the largest mammal on earth –– the blue whale –– weighs about 200 tons. That’s a lot of waste.
Sustainability is one of District Loom’s core values. That’s one of the big reasons that we’re making an effort to use sustainable practices in every part of our business.
Individual action can only take us so far; true change has to include industry action on a large scale. But still, there are steps each of us can take to bring more sustainable, easy-on-the-earth pieces into our homes. Keep reading for our tips for creating a beautiful home with sustainability in mind.
Pay Attention to Materials
We love vintage wool rugs because wool is incredibly durable and completely natural. Unlike rugs made from synthetic fibers (read: plastic), a wool rug that is no longer usable in your home will decompose in a relatively short time (it’s compostable!). Meanwhile, plastic can take upwards of 1,000 years to break down.
Did you know that there are a number of items we bring into our homes that off-gas toxic chemicals, including VOCs, into the air inside our homes? Off-gassing can be difficult to avoid, especially when you’re on a budget, because inexpensive furniture is usually made fast and cheap. Toxins can lurk in adhesives, paint, fabric, and yes, rugs. VOCs and other toxic emissions are bad for the environment, too. Scary stuff, right?
These are just a few of the many reasons why incorporating vintage pieces in your home is a more sustainable practice.
Fewer, better pieces
While vintage is not always synonymous with quality, it’s usually true that they just don’t make ‘em like they used to. Brett and I learned the hard way that cheaper, modern renditions don’t usually stand up to the test of time.
When you want to design a home that’s more sustainable, one of the most important things to consider is quality. I don’t consider myself a minimalist, but I am a stickler for quality. Both in our business and in my Nurse Practitioner job, I have to be.
It takes time to curate a collection of well-made vintage and antique rugs for District Loom. And, as anyone trying to furnish a home knows well, it can take time to find just the right thing. In some instances, it might feel easier to just buy what’s in stock rather than wait for the one to come along.
But let’s think for a minute about what a less sustainable home might look like. If you find yourself in need of a new something every year or even every few months –– whether that’s a new bookshelf because the one you bought from IKEA finally gave out, or a new throw blanket because the one you bought three months ago is pilling –– what happens to the pieces you’re replacing?
Fewer, better pieces is a refrain you’ll often hear in the sustainable fashion world, and the same philosophy can be true in home design. When you invest in a few well-made pieces, those items are less likely to find their way to the landfill.
Look at the Company’s Stated Values
A quote from Maya Angelou comes to mind: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Likewise, when a company doesn’t act on (or disclose) its values, that’s something to pay attention to.
As we’ve shared here, buying vintage decor is a more sustainable option, and sustainability is one of District Loom’s core values. But we wanted to take it a step further. We’ve partnered with New Zealand-based company CarbonClick to help offset carbon emissions associated with purchases made on our site. CarbonClick's offsets fund forest restoration, tree planting, and renewable energy projects around the world.
When you're shopping for something other than a vintage rug, we recommend stopping by the company's About page. It's a great way to see if your values align with theirs.
Have more tips? Share them with us in the comments, or DM us on Instagram!