E118 – Sustainable Interiors – What to Consider – Sustainable Homes and Living Season E8

In this episode of the podcast Frances outlines what to consider for your interiors from a sustainability perspective. From floorplans, hard materials, soft furnishings, window treatments and lighting, she outlines ways to perhaps think differently about what you can do to make better sustainable choices for your home.


Thinking behind the design:

  • Maximize the efficient use of space 
  • Consider size of spaces to minimise resources – in construction, heating and cooling but also maintaining.  
  • How much space is really required for each room – a good designer can turn it into a multi-functional space 
  • Design for now and the future 
  • Functionality is key to ensure space is not created and then not used. 

Sustainable Hard materials 

  • Use Green Tag products (accredited by Green Building Council of Australia) 
  • Reclaimed, recycled and renewable timbers – cabinetry, flooring, etc.  
  • Recycled or natural products for soft furnishings – carpets, fabrics, textile, etc. 
  • Use non-toxic and non-polluting products – paints, organic fibres, water based products. GreenTag is a big help when finding these types of products 
  • Choose products that work with other sustainable design features – eg. thermal mass 

Sustainable Thinking for decorating 

  • Repurpose and refurbish furniture and decorative pieces 
  • Furniture – refurbish and paint it another colour, strip it back, repurpose 
  • Demand well-designed products – they will last 
  • Strong demand creates impetus for product designers to improve and design innovative solutions  
  • European mentality around quality materials and good design  
  • Choose and support locally made 
  • Avoiding ‘fast fashion interiors’  
  • Upcycle 
  • Re-purpose and re-use items 
  • Use of plants for improved air quality 

Window Treatments 

  • Most homes are built with windows using ordinary glass: 
  • let in up to 87% of heat during summer 
  • 40% heat loss during winter 
  • Window treatments fulfil many sustainable purposes 
  • help with energy efficiency 
  • Warmer in winter 
  • Cooler in summer 
  • Sun management and insulating 
  • Visually appealing and dress the window, but is a lot more 
  • Curtains in natural fibres vs PVC venetians 
  • Pelmets – function and form 
  • Prevent air escaping at the top of the fitting 


  • It’s not just about using LEDs 
  • Windows and skylights to maximise use of daylight and minimize artificial light  
  • Solar Tubes/ Skylights– enhance the natural daylight 
  • Skylights – release of hot air to cool a home 
  • Create varied and multiple lights sources to create flexibility on lighting requirements – e.g. lamps, uplights, dimmers, wall washers, directional lights 
  • Flexible lighting so you won’t need all lights on all the time. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • Buy quality when you can.  
  • Check for GreenTag accredited products 
  • Work on what your sustainable objectives are – create a healthy home, minimize chemicals in the home, try to have all-GreenTag products in the home, as sustainable as you can 
  • Make sure the floorplan is right and there is no wasted space 

Useful Links:  

As I’ve mentioned in this episode, the floor plan is one of the most important aspects in creating your ‘Forever Home’. It’s worth spending time on the floor plan to make sure it’s working as hard as it can for you.  

If you’re keen to move forward with your project and would like a second set of eyes to go over your plans – perhaps a Floor plan Sanity Check™ is a great investment to give you peace of mind.  

Book here today!

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