Far beyond choosing personally pleasing palettes and patterns, interior design today is about creating environments that define and enhance the quality of existence for the people who live there.
After all, you spend much of your life inside your home, so having it reflect your lifestyle as well as your style is key to the overall enjoyment of your surroundings.
Design has evolved over the years with the different ways in which we live our lives. People’s values have changed over time, and that changes the quality of life. Decades ago, for example, the concept of a kitchen was based on a space where you would work and serve meals. Today, kitchens are open, inviting and increasingly functional for other pursuits. Similar lifestyle-driven changes impacted the design of master suites, baths and living rooms.
In more recent times and almost certainly into the future, other values affect interior design, including the value of living lighter on the earth. While major systems of cooling and heating and window choices are one aspect of creating a resilient home, so, too is design and décor.
Indeed, there are many design pieces that provide environmental, societal and economic benefits. Beautiful products are available that are made in a responsible, sustainable way, from textiles produced from natural fibers to eco-friendly paints that do not emit fumes to recycled materials that can be used on countertops. You can also make a difference by buying locally-made materials, such as cabinets or tiles, which help fuel the local economy.
Some elements, including appliances, help improve the environmental health of the home, like refrigerators that can clean the air in a house. You might be surprised by the look and performance of modern induction cooking systems, which heat fast and cool down just as quickly for greater control over cooking. (I personally love the beauty of a glass top induction range.)
Homeowners can also choose materials created to withstand challenges from nature. At a time when hundred-year rains come every other year or so, rubber flooring or tiles instead of carpet is a much more resilient option in areas vulnerable to flooding, like basements.
On another level, interior design choices have a wider impact that extends beyond the structure of your house and your property lines. How do you define and enhance the quality of your existence and living space? You can express your values in not only on how you choose to heat your house, but also with the materials you put in it, all of which can serve a greater purpose.
Janet McCann is president of Janet McCann Associates, Inc. in Northfield, Ill. She is a core member of NextHaus Alliance. Learn more at janetmccanndesign.comBack to News & Articles