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Design with Green Interiors

Green Interiors

By Corena Lea Kessel, Interior Designer - Design Wise San Diego

It was only a few years ago that “Living Green” and Eco Friendly” design occupied a tiny niche. Now, fueled by growing concern about Plant Earth’s resources and human health, Green Design is flourishing like a well tended garden.


It is increasingly a part of today’s conversations and if it’s not in what you are wearing or eating, it’s what we paint our walls with and where our flooring originated. Manufacturers are responding to growing interest in the environment by creating, or perfecting, products geared toward energy efficiency, sustainability, and good health.

Let’s take a look at some of the choices out there today.


  • Buy recycled carpeting, or abandon carpeting and rugs altogether to minimize allergens.

  • Bamboo is harder than maple or red oak and grows faster than any other hard wood. Because it is a grass, it can be harvested again and again from the same plant.

  • Linoleum is back and better. Made with all natural ingredients including linseed oil, rosin and wood flour.

  • Make sure any sealants or adhesives are solvent and formaldehyde free.

  • Avoid petroleum or chemical based fibers.


  • Recycled Glass

  • Concrete is a simple mixture of cement, aggregate (often sand), and water.

  • Stainless Steal is a highly durable, easy to clean material with a high recycled content.

  • Granite/Slate

  • Ceramic or Porcelain Tiles

  • Wood


  • Swap your incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent. They use about 75% less energy and can last 10 times longer.

  • Install dimmer switches.

Fabric and Furniture:

  • Upholster with natural textiles such as organic cotton, hemp or linen. Look for material that’s been colored with vegetable (instead of chemical) dyes.

  • Is your new furniture made up of recycled goods? Ask.

  • Antique Furniture stores are always fun.. The old way to recycle!


  • Replacing windows is one of the most expensive home improvements, but anyone who’s lived in a home with drafty windows will appreciate the benefits of today’s options. You can reduce your energy bill up to 15%.

  • Look for double or even triple panes of glass.

  • Window coverings that allow light in and block out heat.


  • Research your options so you are clear on not only what best fit’s your function, BUT what your choice means for the future of your environment.

  • Look for the Energy Star rating when choosing your appliances, this program identifies and promotes energy efficient products.

  • The WaterSense rating program identifies water efficient toilets, showerheads and faucets.

  • Front loading washers and dryers use the least amount of water and electricity.

  • When retiring your refrigerator/freezer, choose a replacement with a high efficiency compressor, thick insulation, and precise temperature controls.

  • Gas ranges have the longest life expectancy among home appliances but lower efficiency when compared to electric ranges.

  • Choose a dishwasher with features like a no-heat drying option and a delay start control, which allows you to avoid peak energy times.

Recycle Your:

  • Batteries

  • Electronics

  • Plastic/Cans

  • Cardboard


  • Use interior finishes with no or low Volatile Organic Compounds.

  • Line dry your clothes.

  • Plastic or Paper? Bring Your Own Bag.

  • Use biodegradable cleaning products.

  • Donate your functioning appliances instead of sending them the landfill.

  • Keep your light switches turned off during the day.

Sometimes our choices can be overwhelming so to help you start, a good question to ask yourself is: 'Is the material healthy for you to live with and is it a renewable resource?' When we are healthy, so is our Planet!

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