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On the West Elm panel: Sustainability in interior design

We were lucky enough to be invited to West Elm's event on sustainability in design at their beautiful store on Tottenham Court Road. Not only did we get the exclusive invite, Lucy, our Head of Interior Design, was talking on the panel alongside Bhavin, of Bhavin Taylor Design, and Daniel Hopwood

They talked trends, how to be more eco-conscious in interior design and what they consider to be design faux pas. Scroll on to learn more, and to see the most gorgeous spread of food 😍

 

The event 

The event was the perfect balance of comfortably casual and perfectly professional. Hosted in West Elm's Tottenham Court Road store, we were surrounded by fabulous furniture and finishing touches; if you've seen any of West Elm's products, then you can imagine that this was a complete feast for the eyes. (You won't believe what the actual feast looked like - picture pending). 

The panel, including Bhavin Taylor, Daniel Hopwood and our own, Lucy Henderson, were sat on a beautiful sofa with West Elm's lovely Ben Hanley

We were greeted by friendly faces (and a very welcome G&T). We had a number of our designers, who are dotted all over the country, meet us at the event, so it was lovely to catch up in person and also have the opportunity to chat and network to other likeminded designers and experts within the industry. 

 

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Lucy Henderson, Bhavin Taylor and Daniel Hopwood talking on the panel
Image credit: My Bespoke Room

It was fascinating and amusing to hear the points of view of three quite different designers; one thing they could all agree on is that interior design has to become, and is definitely on the way to becoming, more sustainable and eco-friendly. Also, when it comes to being fashionable, good interior design isn't trend dependent and when executed properly, homes will always be stylish. Later in this blog post we will share our top tips on sustainable design and a trend forecast that were discussed by the panel! 

The importance of sustainability

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Some of the My Bespoke Room team listening intently to the panel
Image credit: My Bespoke Room 

So, we've spoken about all the fun and games of the West Elm event; it was relaxing, a good excuse to get out of the office and an all-round enjoyable evening. Putting the festivities aside, the event was based around something that's not only a 'hot topic' right now, but also incredibly important in the current climate: sustainability in design

The biggest struggle as designers to create sustainable interiors is for those not looking to update a 'forever' home, more just the home for 'right now' or those on very tight budgets. More affordable furniture tends to either not have a long shelf life because of the quality, or is made from materials that aren't so kind to the environment. This is similar to 'fast fashion' clothing websites.

With the global population, energy usage and waste of non-recyclable and non-environmentally friendly products at an all time high, it's important as interior designers to play our part in being more sustainable within the industry. This includes smart design from technology to fabric types. 

How to make your renovation or interior refresh more sustainable 

We understand, especially for those updating their home on a budget, that it can be quite difficult to design with the environment in mind when you're already under pressure by monetary restrictions. Therefore, we've listed a few of our top tips for affordable and eco-friendly interior refreshes for your benefit. 

Eco-friendly update ideas on a budget:

  1. Upcycling existing furniture. Try looking at old furniture items lying around your house in a different light, or browse Gumtree, Ebay, second-hand emporiums or Charity Shops for some steals and update with paint, different handles or worktops to avoid perfectly functional furniture going to the tip. Also, you'll feel super accomplished for giving that old cabinet that needs some TLC a new lease of life! 

  2. Investing in quality, timeless pieces. It's super tempting to buy the cheapest, best looking option you can when updating the home on a budget, but you'll save more money (and hassle!) in the long run by investing in good quality pieces that can stand the test of time. Larger products such as sofas are where it's worth splurging rather than saving. Just make sure it's timeless in terms of style and quality, i.e. it's not going to need to be replaced within a year, it's not going to go out of fashion and it's versatile enough to move with you to the next property. 
  3. Choose finishing touches wisely. We know that making a house feel like a curated home isn't complete without the finer details. However, when it comes to styling we recommend not buying trinkets and all sorts of bits and bobs for the sake of it. Style your shelves with special pieces that have been gifted to you, books that you've connected with, photographs that remind you of happy memories, and ornaments that you've fallen in love with. This way, they won't be thrown out next year, and they'll make you feel all warm inside! Win, win. 
  4. Decorate with indoor greenery. Indoor planting is an affordable uplift that is also kind to the environment, and kind to your environment! Indoor greenery has been proven to increase your mood, help you focus, relieve stress and purifies the air. Health benefits aside, they're also look beautiful and add life and character to an interior. 

 

Designing with the environment in mind:

  1. Go natural. Buying furniture made from natural materials makes such a difference if the day does come that it needs replacing or you've sadly fallen out of love with it. Natural materials are much kinder to the environment in terms of not only recycling or throwing out but also to produce. 

  2. Bespoke furniture. Opt for built in fitted furniture rather than buying off the shelf. Not only are you then avoiding all the energy and downsides associated with mass-production, but your storage and/or seating can become an extension of your home. This ensures that the furniture will look sleek and cohesive, whilst boasting optimum functionality. Additionally, the furniture will not only be made to fit, but made to last. 
  3. Friendly fabrics. Choose bed linen, towels and soft furnishings that are made sustainably from eco-friendly materials. Loads more companies are making efforts to make their business kinder to the planet, whether this be in the way they work, the materials they use or the packaging they use. 
  4. Recycled products. In fashion, there are clothes being made from recycled plastic bottles - how incredible is that? The interiors industry are doing their bit with more and more furniture and fabrics being made from recycled materials. For example, H&M have a 'Conscious' range. 


What's trending 

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West Elm's Ben Hanley, Lucy Henderson, Bhavin Taylor and Daniel Hopwood talking interior trends
Image credit: My Bespoke Room

Luckily for the planet, there is a real rise in organic interior design styles. Modern Ibiza, Boho, botanical and floral prints, hygge living, natural textiles, raw and rustic finishes, earthier colours and Scandinavian simplicity have all shot to fame in 2019 and we expect them to continue well into 2020 and beyond.

Biophilia, i.e. emphasising the relationship between humankind and nature is paramount when designing, therefore wood floors, stone, embracing natural light and indoor greenery are in their prime right now. Anything that links the indoors and outdoors is worth considering when designing - this is so important when so many of us reside in concrete jungles and live in technology-driven worlds. 


My Bespoke Room: doing our bit 

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Lucy, our Head of Interior Design, talking on the West Elm panel
Image credit: My Bespoke Room 

We hear ya, by offering interior design to the masses, making home updates more 'affordable' and creating virtual shopping lists for people to shop, it could be perceived that we're adding to the 'fast fashion' element of interior makeovers. Don't fret! We're on a mission to do quite the opposite. 

By helping people achieve a look in their home that they love, we are actually removing the chance of expensive mistakes, the need to start all over again and reducing multiple makeovers that involve throwing out furniture that didn't work the first time around. It's so important to get the interior right for the customer the first time round as this avoids expensive mistakes and really limits waste in the interiors industry. 

Designing with the client's functionally needs, style and property in mind will ensure that the design will be timeless, will last and won't need multiple updates in the long (or short) term. 

Also, we don't want to brag but we also have a super broad knowledge of retailers, those that are sustainable and those that are right for the client. When off-the-shelf solutions don't quite hit the mark, we suggest bespoke alternatives. 

 

West Elm: A feast for our eyes and our bellies 

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Food at the West Elm event 
Image credit: My Bespoke Room

It's safe to say, West Elm know how to put on a spread. The gorgeous platter/table chockablock of delicious treats, is what food dreams are made of. We've never seen anything like it: fresh bread, juicy strawberries and olives, sun-dried tomatoes, creamy hummus, tasty cured meats, chocolate brownies... the list goes on. We don't know about you, but we're definitely taking inspiration when it comes to hosting Christmas or Boxing Day this year! 

 

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A close up of the gorgeous spread at West Elm.
Image credit: My Bespoke Room 

Have you ever seen cheese look quite so stunning? We had never thought to have honeycomb cascading down stacks of brie, but now we're not sure we could imagine a cheeseboard without it?! The spread looked only more delicious as it  was displayed on West Elm's stunning own products and with the most beautiful bunch of flowers. It's now proven to us that how food is presented can instantly make you starving even if you had eaten an hour before! 

 

The My Bespoke Room team 

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Some of the My Bespoke Room team in West Elm's Tottenham Court Road store 
Image credit: My Bespoke Room

Our team is ever-expanding with our fast-growing online interior design company, and we are strong advocates in a friendly and positive community within a workplace, this is even more important when our designers are dotted all over the UK. So, we are always so grateful for occasions such as this event where we can all meet and catch up in person, for a face to face chinwag with a G&T (and some honeycomb infused Brie). 

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