Style with substance
Make an eco-friendly choice for your home with these five smart interiors brands that have become synonymous with sustainability, writes Caroline Foran
If you're looking for one dominant trend for 2019 that transcends fashion, beauty, food and of course interiors, it's sustainability. Sustainability, you might say, is the new black. But while most trends come and go (think of the teal takeover of two years ago), our move towards sustainability is one that - we hope - will stick around. It just has to. The thing is, when we hear the term 'eco-friendly', we typically jump to all things green and 'hemp' and functional; style doesn't exactly spring to mind. Thankfully, in 2019, it's no longer a compromise, nor is it a niche concept; it was only a matter of time before smart brands saw the need for décor that's kind to the planet while also aesthetically pleasing in its own right. Here, we look at five brands, big and small, putting the style into sustainability.
Swedish interiors juggernaut Ikea has been big into the idea of sustainable innovation that marries with design for a long time, and its commitment to cleaner living is impressive. Shopping in Ikea itself - regardless of what you buy - is already a sustainable activity, given the fact that its Leitrim wind farm produces more energy than the Ballymun department store consumes. What's more, Ikea Dublin has a rainwater harvesting system on its roof (used to recycle water for bathrooms) and by 2020, the group's aim is to produce as much renewable energy as it consumes. Currently, over 600 of the products are designed to encourage its customers to live more sustainably, including the LED light bulbs and 100pc sustainable cotton textiles. Sustainable products include the super comfy Söderhamn sofa and the Odger dining chair (pictured), which is made of renewable wood and recycled plastic.
H&M first introduced its 'Conscious' offering within fashion, eventually expanding that out to include some really beautiful interiors that won't break the bank. The sustainable products are textile-focused, with a selection of washed cotton bed linen, quirky cushion covers, chic monochrome towels and statement tablecloths. A duvet set will set you back €44.99. At present, H&M Home is only available online for Irish buyers.
An Irish brand beginning to make waves is Kopper Kreation (kopperkreation.com), with Emmet Bosonnet at the helm. Sustainability is at the heart of his ethos (covering everything from concept to design to manufacturing and packaging) but ultra-chic lighting styles and home accessories are what greets the eye. Raw materials such as copper and brass are sourced from local recycling centres and all packaging materials are 100pc recyclable. A lot of what's used has been quite literally saved from the landfill or scrapheap. And for more individuality, the pieces are designed to age naturally over time along with you and your home, and develop beautiful patinas. The copper lamps, €90, are a firm favourite but the bookends and candle holders are worth a look too.
No need to feel bad about your candle addiction, once they're made from the good stuff, of course. Soy-based candles are the way to go and there are plenty of Irish brands choosing this route. Soy wax is 100pc renewable and devoid of harmful pesticides or herbicides, major culprits when it comes to climate change. Meeting our consumer needs, soy candles burn much longer than non-soy candles and you won't get those horrible black smoke stains on the jar. Try Emma's So Naturals Eco Soy Candles (emmas.ie) or Candella (candella.ie), who also use upcycled wine bottles for containers, wooden and lead-free cotton wicks). If you're looking for something super slick on your mantelpiece, though, consider Field Apothecary's gorgeous range, available at Arnotts (fieldapothecaryireland.com). Not only are these soy candles eco-friendly, they've got the luxury factor too.
Hey, Bulldog! Design
This Irish brand isn't new, but as we all wake up to the grim realities of consumption, Hey, Bulldog! is finally getting the recognition it deserves. The offering is the antithesis of dull and drab. With this duo, creativity and style converge with sustainability. Amanda and Joe - the couple behind the inspiring brand - make use of reclaimed wood, concrete, Jesmonite and metal to create their ever-changing collection of eye-catching clocks, planters and egg cups (heybulldogdesign.com). Just knowing you're being kind to the environment makes the purchase all the sweeter - as well as knowing that everything they make is limited edition, so you won't find 100 other homes with the same piece. Their products are affordably priced from €15 to €70.