Trend Report: Recycled Interiors

Trend Report: Recycled Interiors
February 25, 2016 angela

Trend Report: Recycled Interiors

Recycled interiors are not a new trend, rather one that is evolving as the world’s environmental awareness matures.

Forecasters are reporting that consumers are enjoying breathing new life into old furniture, are choosing to decorate with pre-loved items and can appreciate a cleverly upcycled interior.

The commercial industry is not exempt proudly reporting on company’s green credentials and interior applications.

So where are we at with recycled interiors as we move to close the first quarter of 2016?

This week for #trendthursday I’ve reached out to Helen Edwards, Consultant and Writer at Recycled Interiors and Care 4 Social.

Recycled Interiors is one of Australia’s leading sustainable blogs built on the back of Edwards deep passion for the subject.

Returning to Simplicity

Through her writings, Edwards has found that the rise of recycled interiors is being driven by environmental concern and a desire to return to what was viewed as a “simpler” life.

“I think people are more aware of the ever pressing need to consider our impact on the planet,” she said.

“I also think that with our fast-paced digital world, we are turning back to times gone by when our parents and grandparents would reuse and upcycle all sorts of things, as well as using their hands to cook, grow and craft.”

Edwards comments also echo the growing “slow” movements across the world. Things like “slow food” which protects traditional food sourcing and culinary approaches or the “slow work” movement which encourages a more thoughtful, reflective approach to the work day.

“We have a need for a more tactile and hands on approach to our lives,” added Edwards.

This, in turn, can be seen in the application of interiors where consumers are enjoying textures such as upcycled, distressed wood, old, retro metal furniture and handcrafted textiles such as crochet or knitted items.

Hand-crafted techniques such as crochet is having a resurgence.

Hand-crafted techniques such as crochet is having a resurgence.

Environmental Footprint

Now from a planet perspective, I wondered if many consumers are still ticking the green box or if they understand the environmental benefits of their purchasing decisions.

“…Some people are just on the bandwagon so to speak and have just discovered the ideas,” said Edwards predicting that there is still room for popularity to grow.

“Other (consumers) love the aesthetic, and the most popular culture has also started to feature this more in television and magazines for example. But there is also a group who have always been considerate of the environment and see this as part of how they live their lives.”

Materials and Zero Waste

The opportunities for recycled interiors are endless. Most of us know that recycled wood is good as is reclaimed stone flooring but it’s also about repurposing items. Think glass jars of tins for stationary, retro wooden boxes for storage or gift-giving, etc.

Looking beyond that is a new space of designers exploring materials such as clothing and food and creating new items from old ones.

For example, denim is often upcycled and in 2014, we saw Nudie Jeans create denim wares and a limited run of foldable camper seats and rugs made from old jeans.

Last year, KaCaMa Design Lab in Hong Kong created stools made from discarded plastic electrical housing and recycled fan covers according to Inhabitat.

Stool Zero by KaCaMa

Stool Zero by KaCaMa

Looking to the earth for resources was University of Edinburgh graduate Spyros Kizis who in 2013 constructed a simple bucket chair from artichoke thistle and a biological resin produced from cooking oil waste. The chair is 100 per cent biodegradable as well.

Another interesting project was by terrain eco designer Adital Ela, who produced Terra, a series of three stools made from compressed earth and agricultural waste collected from an archaeological site in Jerusalem.

While upcycled rugs are furniture are well accepted by consumers, concepts that utilise food or waste still draw scepticism.

“I am sure these are possible,” said Edwards. “I am not sure how mainstream they would get though – I do think most people draw the line in some places, however if they are able to be made into something beautiful and cost effective more people would be interested.”

Artichair by Spyros Kizis

Artichair by Spyros Kizis


So to wrap up, I asked Edwards her top benefits to decorating with recycled or upcycled decor: 

1. Reduced environmental footprint;
2. It looks brilliant;
3. You can have a hand in your own home;
4. You can save some cash.

Sounds good to me. So looking forward, recycled interiors will continue to evolve but Edwards is predicting that we’ll be paying attention to where we’re living and adopting a shared lifestyle.

“I think smaller homes, the tiny house movement and alternative homes like upcycled train carriages, shipping containers and a more communal living is probably on the increase now,” she concluded.

You can visit Recycled Interiors to create your own environmental-inspired haven.  Their Instagram page is also a delight to follow featuring beautiful, recycled finds, retro containers, colourful crockery, of course, all styled with blooms picked straight from Edwards garden.

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