Sustainable interior design

GUEST POST by Alison Hughes – Coast Road Furniture

Post-COP26, we’re all looking for ways to be a little more eco-friendly in our daily lives. Here, Alison Hughes, Interiors Director at Coast Road Furniture, shares her tips for making more sustainable choices with your home interiors.

With climate change firmly in our minds, we’re all trying to do our bit to protect the environment. In fact, 85% of consumers adopted at least one lifestyle change to be more sustainable last year, according to a survey from Deloitte. While you may be among the 61% of people who have cut down on single use plastics, there may be even more areas of your home that could benefit from an eco-boost. 

Your furnishing choices can have a big impact on the environment. Luckily, you can easily adapt your home interiors to match your sustainable lifestyle by following my tips below. 

Choose high quality pieces

One of the biggest problems we have with interiors here in the UK is the rise of fast furniture. These are pieces that are made cheaply to adhere to fleeting interiors trends. And, when they break or go out of style, they’re sent to landfill. Approximately 22 million pieces of furniture are thrown away in the UK annually, according to research from the North London Waste Authority. But one way we can reduce this waste is by investing in high quality pieces made to last. 

Choose furniture that is well made, such as those crafted from solid wood and leather, along with soft furnishings made from durable fabrics and with long lasting, supportive foam fillings. These pieces also tend to have a much more timeless style that you can enjoy in your home for years to come. As a result, your furniture will last much longer than fast interiors pieces, and you’ll be sending a lot less to landfill.

Buy British made products

One of the best ways to choose more sustainable options is by shopping with British manufacturers and suppliers. In fact, 91% of UK businesses say that buying British is important, with 73% agreeing that buying more British made products could help the UK battle climate change (The Manufacturer).

Not only will you be supporting local businesses this way, but you’ll also be reducing your carbon footprint. Furniture made in the UK has much less distance to travel to get to your home compared to pieces made abroad, which means fewer carbon emissions are released as a result of the transportation process. 

Eco products on hooks

Choose eco-friendly materials 

One key way to ensure you’re choosing sustainable furnishings is by taking a look at the materials they’re made from. Natural materials, such as wood, stone, wool, and cotton are all much kinder to the environment than man-made fabrics. They’re often much more durable too, so you can reduce the amount of furniture you’re throwing away.

If you’re looking for a more animal friendly alternative to leather, there are a range of vegan and faux leathers on the market, and many furniture manufacturers offer these as an option. These can be made to look and feel just the same as real leather, all without using any animal products. 

Decorate with plants

Houseplants have seen a revival in recent years, and for good reason. Not only are they an eco-friendly way to brighten up your space, but they can also help boost the quality of the air inside your home. 

Indoor plants have been shown to help stabilise and increase the diversity of beneficial microbes in built environments, according to a study published in Frontiers in Microbiology, which can help counteract the loss of microbial biodiversity in urban areas. These microbes are both beneficial to our health and to the environment and can help maintain the planet’s natural balance. So, decorating with plants could do more than just add a touch of greenery to your home, but could also help out the environment too.

Conclusion

In the wake of COP26, we’re all trying to do our bit to be a little more sustainable. By following the tips in this guide, you can make more conscious decisions and choose planet friendly furnishings that match your sustainable lifestyle. For more tips and advice for living a more conscious lifestyle, be sure to take a look at The Jolly Turtle’s eco-friendly living blog.

This article was written by Alison Hughes of Coast Furniture.

Do you want to reduce water waste and your energy bills at the same time as protecting the environment? We give you some top tips to help you live a more sustainable lifestyle at home.

Water is a commodity that we all need to survive and one that developed nations take for granted. Therefore, we must find ways to reduce water waste to make it more accessible to those that need it and reduce the impact on the environment.

In the UK, we use on average 150 litres of water per person every day. Think about all the ways we use it around the home – drinking, washing, cleaning, feeding plants. We definitely shouldn’t stop do those things. However, we should all be conscious of just how much we’re using and question whether any is going to waste.

Wasting water impacts the environment in many ways, including damaging the natural ecosystem when we take too much from it.

Reducing water waste will not only help conserve our energy but, if you’re on a water meter, it will reduce your costs too. Investing in a smart water meter is a great way to know exactly how much you’re using, where you can make cuts, and what it’s costing you. Most water companies in the UK will install one for free if you ask.

We’ve done some research and come up with five practical tips to help you reduce water waste.

1. Turn off the tap

The average 10-minute shower uses around 150 litres of water, compared to about 80 litres for a full bath. Also, the longer your shower, the more carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from the additional energy needed to heat your water tank (which also costs more).

Here are some practical tips you can follow to save water from being unnecessarily wasted down the drain and reduce CO2 emissions.

Don’t forget to turn off the tap when brushing your teeth as this is another great way to reduce water waste. Keeping the tap running for two minutes can waste around 12 litres of water. That’s equivalent to almost 100 litres of water a day for a family of four who brushes morning and night.

Bonus tip: Did you know that showers are better than baths for those without skin conditions? Too much water can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to irritation. Use a moisturiser to replenish your skin within 30 minutes of having a shower or bath.

2. Use washing machine and dishwasher for full loads

A typical run on a washing machine uses 50 litres of water and is likely the most expensive energy-consuming device you’ll be using at home.

Perhaps question whether you need to put that item you’ve just worn in the laundry basket or whether it can go back in the wardrobe for another day. Is it dirty? Can it be worn again? I often use the fingernail test on my children’s school uniform. If I can scrape off minor marks, it goes back in the school bag!

Over-washing clothing will reduce the lifespan of those items. Therefore, not washing your clothes as often should also save you money if you don’t need to replace them so soon. And buying fewer clothes is another way to protect the environment.

The same applies when washing the dishes. Unless you have a full load of pots and pans to wash, it’s more efficient to either wash up by hand or wait until you have a full load.

If your washing machine or dishwasher has one, use an economy or half-load setting to reduce water waste.

Bonus tip: Washing your clothes inside out at low temperature using a natural laundry detergent will keep them looking new for longer. They clean just as well but won’t fade as fast.

Man loading washing machine
Eco dishwasher

3. Don’t overfill the kettle

Most people in the UK boil more water in their kettles than they use, wasting millions of pounds a year. As a nation of tea drinkers, that’s a lot of water and electricity gone to waste.

Using an energy-saving kettle will help as it should have a guide to show the amount of water needed for the number of cups. Even better, if you can afford it, invest in a boiling water tap, which uses heat-exchange technology to reuse energy. This is ideal for businesses that need to cater to lots of tea drinkers all day as a significant amount of money would be saved on energy bills very quickly.

Bonus tip: Boiling the same water twice can give you a lower quality cup of tea. Reboiling removes the oxygen and nitrogen from water and gives a stronger flavour of undesirable minerals that don’t taste very nice.

4. Reduce toilet flushing

There’s a saying that goes ‘if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down’.

Flushing the toilet as many times as the average person does every day uses around the same amount of water as you would drink in a month. A lot!

Most modern toilets have a dual flush option so don’t use the full flush unless you need to for number twos. This can save around 66% of water compared to single-flush toilets.

For single-flush toilets, you can fit a plastic bottle or flush bag in your cistern, which collects water from each flush that can be used for the next flush. This can save around 1,500 litres of water a year on average.

Bonus tip: If you do decide to ‘let it mellow if it’s yellow’, make sure you flush at least once a day. Otherwise, the bacteria will create a foul odour and stain your toilet.

Boiling kettle
Washing hands

5. Install a water butt in your garden

Use a water butt to collect rainwater and you’ll save huge amounts of water and money compared to using a hosepipe. Waterwise.com states that the average UK home receives over 21,000 litres of rainwater on its roof. So, more than enough to clean your car and water your garden all year round.

Go one step further and fit a water butt to your bathroom waste pipe to catch all that water from the bath and shower.

Bonus tip: Plants tend to prefer rainwater than tap water. This is because rainwater contains plant-loving nitrates and other organic chemicals. Whilst tap water won’t harm plants, it is more acidic due to the chemicals added during the filtration and refining process.


If you’re serious about cutting back on water waste, use a monitoring tool such as the Home Energy Check (for those in Scotland) to work out how much you’re using now and how much you could save after making changes. The Energy Saving Trust is also a useful resource to find out more about how you can save water at home.

The Jolly Turtle supplies eco-friendly bespoke and pre-packed kits for events, travel, hospitality, and lifestyle, offering a simple and convenient way to shop for all your plastic-free essentials. 

Meet Steph, who runs the awesome blog, Unplasticky, a source of practical and useful tips that have definitely helped me become more sustainable in my everyday living.