Vegan Interior Design – A Quick Guide
When Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, painted Archie’s nursery in vegan paint, it sent shockwaves, through not just the UK, but interior design around the world. A vegan lifestyle “seeks to exclude – as far as is possible and practicable – all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”
In the last year alone, the number of vegan Brits has increased by 40%, or 445,428 people. This growth doesn’t appear to be stopping any time soon, as vegan lifestyles extend from food and diets to fashion, and now even interior design. But how does veganism stretch into designing our homes, and could it be the sustainable solution to living that we’ve been looking for all this time?
What is Vegan Interior Design?
Vegan interior design, in its simplest definition, is interior design that finds alternatives to animal by-products such as leather, silk, fur, or wool: whilst also swapping out products that test on animals for animal-friendly variants.
The usage of the phrase ‘vegan’ to describe this kind of interior design is often met with apprehension from consumers, usually from those that don’t already follow a vegan diet. Deborah DiMare of DiMare Design (an ultra-luxury LA-based vegan design firm) has suggested calling it “cruelty-free” interior design instead, as it better encompasses the principle of animal-friendly living.
Designers have also considered describing vegan design as “compassionate,” “sustainable,” or “healthy,” as not only is it good for the environment, but it’s good for us, too.
The Pros of Vegan Interior Design
We Heart the Environment
We know what you’re thinking. Do the benefits really justify the hefty price tag that vegan home solutions carry? Well, when we’re looking at roughly a decade to prevent the effects of climate change from reaching irreversible levels, they just might. As people learn the effects of over-farming on the environment, the gravitation towards eco-friendly becomes a lot more palatable.
Vegan interior design shrinks the carbon footprint that would typically accompany commonly used animal-based materials such as:
● Paint and adhesives, too
Factor in that it takes about seven sheep to make a single wool blanket, and you can start to see why the environment bears a heavy burden with current practices.
We’ve all likely seen at least one video growing up of the horrors of the mass farming industry. Most of us would rather not think about it, and vegan interior design seeks to ensure that we can sleep easy at night—under a down alternative duvet, of course.
Just as Good as the Originals
The best part? If you’re concerned about the authenticity of a vegan alternative to your classic silks, rest assured that your other options stack up just as well. Banana fibre is a prized silk substitute that has been around for ages, and through its versatility, may be the new revolutionary material on the market.
Talented designers and scientists are working hand-in-hand to create alternatives for just about any animal-based product you’ve got sitting on your home design Pinterest board. Classy swap-outs exist for all your leather and fur needs, so you don’t lose any of the chic but still get all of the cruelty-free benefits. Score!
The Healthier Option
Vegan interior design, beyond being eco-friendly, is human-friendly too. If you’re asthmatic, for example, a soy alternative to down feathers might be the hypoallergenic, dust-free solution you’ve been looking for. If you have a family member on the spectrum, vegan alternatives to leather or skins can make their sensory experience a little less intense, with no offensive leather smells or rough textures in sight. You also bypass the laundry list of chemicals that go into tanning leather.
Keep in mind though that not all vegan solutions are healthy by default. Paints or adhesives that do not test on animals and are synthetic may run the risk of harbouring off-gas chemicals. So, when in doubt, just ask. Fortunately, more often than not, conscious, and eco-friendly design solutions go hand-in-hand with health, so you’re bound to find something to suit your own individual needs in no time.
Vegan Interior Design at Home
Going out on an inspired whim and replacing everything in your household at once with vegan alternatives is pretty unfeasible. We suggest swapping out one item set at a time, starting small with duvets and pillow covers, before moving onto bigger projects like replacing your leather sofa set. Here are some options you can check out when replacing furniture materials around the house.
Say Goodbye to Leather
Making vegan choices starts with knowing what you’re working with. For a leather sofa replacement that doesn’t compromise on the luxe, Piñatex is a pineapple-based fibre that has taken the vegan design world by storm. Durable, versatile, and eco-friendly – what’s not to love? Of course, if that’s not your style, there are at least 2,000 more faux-leather alternatives to choose from, so pick your favourite.
Wave Away Wool
You’ll likely find wool in a lot of the items you own at home, especially rugs. Cotton remains an evergreen popular choice. If you’re looking for something different, consider alternatives such as bamboo silk, jute, or recycled fibres to deck out any formerly woollen spots around the house.
Faux-Furs Are In
Faux-fur is just as impressive to look at as real fur, and does not compromise one bit on the softness that we love. Faux-fur alternatives cover anything that you might have in mind. Literally. From throws and pillows, to blankets and even upholstery fabrics, faux-fur comes in any size and pattern you can think of.
Down and Feather Alternatives
Plush, cushiony down isn’t the only thing you can fill your pillows with. For seat-cushions, opt for soy-based fillings. Furthermore, for bedding and pillows, you can use kapok and buckwheat, which are hypoallergenic and don’t hold as much dust as their animabased counterparts.
Of course, when in doubt, ask the professionals. Luckily, vegan living is becoming an increasingly popular service that interior designers can help you with. They’ll help you ask the important questions when considering home upgrades or renovations that better suit a sustainable homestead: Where is it from? What is its environmental impact? Is it recyclable? And who knows, you might find yourself falling more in love with your new vegan living space than you could have imagi
Do you have any stories of how you made the transition into vegan living? Any tips, or advice, for first-timers? We’d love to hear from you!