The eco guide to a guilt-free, gorgeous home

The eco guide to a guilt-free, gorgeous home

By Nic Hopkirk

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From upcycling and buying beautiful vintage pieces to using sustainable fabrics and natural products, here’s how to spruce up your pad, environmentally friendly-style.

Sustainable, eco-friendly living is becoming a big trend for 2021. Here’s how to get your home looking fabulous with an environmentally clean conscience.

At the heart of sustainability is kindness to the environment. And that comes from ensuring the materials used to create your homewares come from renewable resources that grow easily, are recyclable and long-lasting.

How the pieces are manufactured is important. Eco-friendly shoppers make sure what they’re buying is made with natural ingredients where possible. Made and sourced locally is always best, keeping the carbon footprint low, and products using chemical toxins or pollutants are an absolute no-no. 

High-quality, well-made items that last a lifetime are much kinder to the environment than those that need replacing every few years. And with that in mind, here’s where to go shopping for the home in an eco-friendly way.

Best for antique treasures

Upcycling is big in the world of eco-friendly furniture and accessories. Scaramanga, a small, family-run business, is a treasure trove for unique vintage furniture and exclusive interior delights.

Each piece is individually sourced and restored by the owner, Carl. His discoveries are all old, original, come with amazing craftmanship and a history of their own. 

Fans include props buyers for Hollywood movies - and Scaramanga’s finds have been featured in the likes of Dark Shadows, Disney’s Maleficent 2 and Dumbo.

Best for reclaimed wood

Recycling is also an essential part of environmentally-friendly furnishing. Etsy does a great line in reclaimed furniture with plenty of beautiful, original pieces, including tables, bookshelves and beds. 

Look out for wooden creations featuring re-used railway sleepers, pallet wood and scaffold planks, all lovingly restored by Etsy’s selling community to create unique pieces you won’t find anywhere else. 

For reclaimed coffee tables, dining tables and beds, Rust Collections (pictured above) is the place to go. Here husband and wife team Ben and Ruth Adams create beautiful, statement pieces of furniture with high-end finishes.

Carpenter and joiner Ben has worked in the industry for more than 20 years and the couple work on a made-to-order basis from their workshop in Buckinghamshire. 

Best for sustainable cotton

High street fave Marks & Spencer has long been a champion for using sustainable cotton and works with the Better Cotton Initiative to ensure the cotton it uses is better for the environment and the people who produce it. As a high street brand, their comprehensive range of bedding and towels is all competitively priced.

At the boutique end of the market, Square Flower (pictured above) and  Lily & Mortimer both operate Fairtrade policies, ensuring their supply chains link directly back to an organic collective of farmers in India. Both companies source pure, organic cotton that’s GOTS (the organic gold standard) certified.

And for the fillings? Rise & Fall do a nice line in recycled wool and down pillows and duvets for a guilt-free night's sleep.

Best natural soap bars 

Soaps made from natural, organic, vegan, cruelty- and chemical-free ingredients are kinder to your skin as well as the environment. Peace With The Wild specialises in skincare, hair care and makeup and offers a broad range of products for the home too, from cleaning solutions to candles and storage baskets.

The Little Soap Company, based in the Cotswolds, creates amazing little soaps that are 100% vegan, organic and cruelty-free, using natural ingredients and sustainable palm oil. With delicious fragrances including lavender, grapefruit and orange, rose geranium, citrus and peppermint, their award-winning soaps have been snapped up by major supermarkets across the UK.

If you’re looking for a subscription or lovely gift sets featuring some little bars of wonder, then The Soap People are the place to go. With no plastic packaging, palm oil, cruelty to animals or nasties, their eco and sustainable soap gift boxes are all handmade with natural, sustainable ingredients.

Best ethical cleaning products 

Get started with zero waste by swapping out kitchen essentials to plastic-free alternatives. This kit by Pasoluna (pictured) includes a compostable pot brush and dish brush to replace plastic sponges, alongside natural, compostable wax wraps - made from olives - to replace clingfilm. It also comes with a handy compostable bag for groceries.

For a broad range of cleaning products with excellent eco credentials, the Ethical Superstore is where it’s at. Featuring brands such as Method, Ecover, Guppyfriend, OceanSaver and Bio-D, the store sells products for dishwashing, cleaning, laundry, air fresheners, dehumidifiers, mops, bin bags and lightbulbs... You name it, if there's an eco-friendly version of it, they supply it.

For beautifully-packaged, eco-friendly cleaning products (and hand sanitisers) check out Tincture London. Using 100% natural ingredients made with pure essential oils, organic botanical extracts and plant-based actives, they’ve created powerful cleaners that polish stone, wood, metal, glass, silver and laminate to perfection. All ingredients are vegan and cruelty-free, with no testing on animals.

Best for natural fragrances

Wearth London is an eco-friendly website specialising in zero waste products for everyday life. Animal and cruelty-free, Wearth partners with over 250 independent UK brands that make contemporary eco-friendly and ethical products. 

Their range of vegan candles are all handmade in the UK, using natural ingredients including soy wax and organic essential oils.

These 50g candles by Buff (pictured) feature a generous proportion of essential oils, a cotton wick and they burn for 20 hours. Choose from fragrances designed to enliven, rejuvenate, warm, awaken and nurture.

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