magical realism green fibreguard fabrics

Material matters: the role of fabric selection in sustainable interior design

With many of us trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, there’s a growing focus on environmentally-friendly options when it comes to interiors.

The textile industry category, which includes household, technical fabrics, fashion & clothing are responsible for approximately 10% of all global emissions. An extra reason, if ever we needed one, to think carefully about the furnishings, fabrics and fittings we choose for our homes. Here, we explore the principles of sustainable design, and discuss why eco-friendly, PFAS-free upholstery options such as FibreGuard are a great choice for interior design.

What is sustainable design?

Sustainable design adopts a holistic approach to creating objects and spaces that minimise negative environmental impact. Sustainable design strategies include designing for longevity, circularity (using recyclable materials) and dematerialisation (making products smaller and lighter in order to use less resources).

Here are five key aspects of sustainable design, as we touched on earlier on our blog:

  1. Learning from nature – The natural world is cyclical by definition and is always reinventing itself. Taking inspiration from the natural world, sustainable designs need to be responsive and adaptable.
  2. Thinking holistically – It’s important to look at the entire lifecycle of materials and products, weaving sustainability considerations into every step of the design process.
  3. Considering humans as well as the planet – Sustainable design takes on board the impact of spaces and products on people as well as the environment.
  4. Reflecting the local environment – Creating designs that fit with their local surroundings and utilise locally-sourced materials wherever possible.
  5. Adopting a future-focused approach – At its heart, the goal of sustainable design is to protect the needs of our future planet.

The importance of eco-friendly materials in interior design

Many materials conventionally used in interior design are now considered problematic because of their undesirable impact on the environment. Non-renewable materials such as hardwoods, concrete and metals use up the earth’s limited resources and are likely end up in landfill when no longer required.

If careful choices are made, the materials we select for our interiors can significantly reduce damaging environmental effects. This is where sustainable materials come in – ones that are produced with minimum environmental impact and are designed for durability and longevity.

Here are four things to look for in sustainable materials for the home:

  1. Energy efficiency – Eco-friendly materials often use less energy in their production process than more conventional options.
  2. Resource conservation – ‘Green’ interiors products may use recycled or repurposed materials, reducing the amount of new resources required in their production.
  3. Durability and longevity – The best sustainable materials are designed to last. The longer the lifespan of a material, the less frequently it needs to be replaced, leading to better environmental outcomes in relation to manufacture and disposal.
  4. Carbon footprint reduction – Materials with lower embodied energy (the total energy required to produce a material) will contribute to a carbon footprint reduction.

The future of sustainability in interiors

It’s encouraging to know that the move towards sustainability in interiors is largely being driven by consumer demand. While many manufacturers are motivated to adopt an eco-friendly agenda, it’s their customers who are driving change by showing a real commitment to building a greener future.

According to a recent study reported in Furniture Today, 72% of consumers said that sustainability is a ‘very or somewhat important purchase consideration’. It’s not about appearing to be a ‘good citizen’, as many retailers believed, but instead it comes from consumers’ genuine desire to help the environment.

In terms of sustainable trends in interior design, we’ve seen a rise in innovative, eco-friendly materials such as rugs made from recycled plastic bottles or radiators made from recycled aluminium. With furniture, the use of FSC-certified timber is also a growing trend. This respected certification from the Forest Stewardship Council means that that FSC wood is sourced from forests managed according to strict environmental, social and economic standards.

Another trend in sustainable interior design is the use of modular furniture. Because it can be easily taken apart and rearranged in different formations, a modular sofa is a great sustainable choice. The flexible design means that it will work in different properties, regardless of the layout. So instead of buying new furniture when you move house, your modular sofa can come with you and adapt according to your changing needs.

Twinbru: How digital fabric sampling reduces waste

Did you know that digital technologies can help minimise waste and reduce carbon footprints? Let's explore how Twinbru, a product of our parent company Bru Textiles is doing just that.

It’s a platform that offers product-realistic renders and 3D fabric textures for all applications, with a fully automated supply chain and a library of market-ready fabrics. It helps you create effective marketing content, visualize your products, and meet the needs of the offline and online customer journey. They have partnered with companies such as Pantone X-Rite, NVIDIA, Chaos Cosmos, DMIx, and Adobe Substance.

Putting paid to the need for physical samples, these ‘digital twins’ allow designers, architects and consumers to visualise products and picture how they will look in a particular setting. This innovative service helps reduce waste in the textile industry as well limiting the number of journeys required to visit showrooms to view samples in person.

Related Read: Sustainable sampling and the future of the textiles industry

FibreGuard upholstery: an eco-friendly fabric solution

At FibreGuard, we are committed to improving sustainability in every way possible. Some of these measures include reducing the environmental impact of our packaging, assessing the sustainability of our suppliers, and using digital fabric sampling to reduce textile waste.

Our stain-resistant upholstery is highly durable, easy to clean, and soft to the touch. Available in a wide variety of colours and textures, these performance upholstery fabrics are ready for any interior style you can think of.

Incorporating FibreGuard fabrics in your interior schemes can be a great way to adhere to sustainable design practices. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Many of our collections featuring our easy-clean upholstery contain polyester certified under the Global Recycled Standard. This guarantees a minimum 50% recycled content. Learn more: Embracing Sustainability in Textiles: OCS and GRS
  • We constantly monitor our fabric mills’ compliance with the ISO 14001 standard on environmental management. This measure governs the effective use of resources and the reduction of waste.
  • By choosing FibreGuard, you can be safe in the knowledge that all our fabrics are free from harmful chemicals. Our fabrics are PFAS-free which means that they don’t contain ‘forever chemicals’ which can remain in our bodies for many years. Related Read: Why FibreGuard upholstery fabrics are safe and non-toxic
  • Our fabrics are certified under the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®, the ISO 14001 standard, and REACH. Learn more: What REACH regulations have to do with contract fabrics

5 tips for choosing eco-friendly upholstery options

1) Check your labels

All FibreGuard fabrics are OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certified which means they meet stringent environmental standards relating to production, sustainability and ecology. This certification also confirms that our fabrics have been tested for harmful substances and are completely safe for human health.

2) Opt for recycled materials

Follow the sustainable principle of circularity by choosing recycled materials. Many of our stain-resistant upholstery fabrics are certified under the Global Recycled Standard which guarantees a minimum 50% recycled content.

3) Select durable fabrics

Fabrics that are built to last are inherently sustainable because they will need to be replaced less frequently. FibreGuard fabrics are easy to clean and durable enough to withstand the daily demands of family life.

4) Think about the production process

The amount of water and energy consumed during the manufacture of performance upholstery is an important environmental consideration. At FibreGuard, our adoption of environmental measures such as reducing the use of chemicals, energy and water in our manufacturing process are grounded in our respect for the natural world.

5) Choose longevity

Timeless and durable designs are fundamentally sustainable because the need to replace them is reduced. With the rise in 'conscious consumption', a growing trend in which consumers actively consider how their purchases might impact the planet, the ‘quality over quantity’ argument is more important than ever.

Fabric selection has a key part to play in a sustainable interior design strategy

Choosing eco-friendly materials can make a significant difference in reducing waste, improving energy efficiency, and minimising carbon footprints.

FibreGuard’s high performance upholstery fabrics are leading the way in the textile industry in terms of sustainability. We are committed to adhering to sustainable practices wherever possible throughout our entire manufacturing and distribution process.

Make a sustainable choice. Choose FibreGuard fabrics. Ready to explore our fabric range? Contact us today to find your nearest FibreGuard stockist.

Related articles