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sustainability

Every decade has something that sets it aside from others, and as we’re evolving, so are our homes. The beginning of a new decade symbolizes the start of new trends, and 2020 is a time when we wave goodbye to some of the 2010s trends and turn on a new leaf in terms of interior design and decor.

While some trends are expected to evolve over the next year (think white kitchens and feature walls) new trends such as handmade goods and bold hues are expected to take over our living quarters. Here, we’re rounding up the most notable 2020 interior design and decor trends we’ll be seeing as we enter the next decade.

Neutral colours

A new take on neutrals

In 2020, the accent will be more on the warm neutral tones. Usually reserved for the background, neutrals are expected to be brought to the fore, with earthy tones like grays, beiges, off-whites, and ochres serving as a subdued, yet powerful connection with nature.

Tinted neutrals such as neo mint, a pastel green shade, are another trend expected to hit it big when it comes to 2020 interior design trends. Aside from incorporating the it colour of 2020 into your home (accent pieces are your safe bet), you should also try out a dusky peach, soft corals, slate lavender, terra cotta, golden yellows and updated versions of millennial pinks.

Sustainable interior design

Sustainable harmony

The interior design trends for 2020 represent a mixture of influences, two of the most notable ones being Japanese and Nordic. Natural materials like rattan and cane are staples that stand at the core of Japanese design style, and we can expect this trend of relying on natural elements for designing minimalist interiors to continue in 2020. Scandinavian influences are reflected in the use of organic shapes and sustainable materials such as undyed yarns, plush fabrics, natural wood, and terracotta earthenware.

The thoughtful, pared-back selection of decor items and furnishings will help create a space for relaxation and infuse the interiors with the elements from the great outdoors, resulting in a sustainable and harmonious living environment.

Authentic detailing

Accent on authenticity

In the next decade, we’re expecting to see homes being treated as a tool for self-expression, with an accent on authenticity and uniqueness. Interiors will be treated as blank canvases which we can use to tell our story, be it through colours, furniture, artwork, handmade items, or DIY projects.

The tendency towards creating spaces that capture the personality of the homeowners will prevail over the styled interiors they’d usually see when flipping through magazines. This trend will have many looking for ways to express their individuality without necessarily reaching for one-of-a-kind items but rather designing with their own preferences in mind, regardless of whether they’re on-trend or not. 

Colours and geometry

A bold blend of geometry and colours

For those of us who’d rather their interiors have a brighter, edgier vibe and forego the au naturel, all-neutral trend, 2020 has something for us as well. Stripes, circles, and rectangles are certain to spruce up flat and bland interiors, while the fusion of bold hues like dusky neutrals and tropical pastels with traditional hues will enhance the visual interest of the interior.

Vintage furniture design will be juxtaposed with contemporary pieces for a unique flair, while the Art Deco elements will bring a breath of fresh air while also infusing the interiors with a dose of sophistication.

From embracing the concept of sustainability to discovering new ways of interpreting minimalism and neutral hues, we’ll be seeing a shift in the ways we approach interior home design. 2020 will be all about individuality, and by the looks of it, there’s something for everybody, whether you take a liking to bold, edgy hues or prefer something a bit more subdued. Give these four trends a crack to give your home a decadal style makeover.

You’ve probably noticed the rising popularity of topics dealing with sustainable homes, ways to achieve that sustainability, and reasons why you should make your home green. The truth is, the consequences of global warming are already visible, and they are getting worse every year. Our effect on the environment is still too negative, and even though there are efforts to reduce that effect, it’s still not enough. With that in mind, here are some of the main reasons why having an eco-friendly home is more important than ever before.

Eco-Friendly Home: Why You Should Consider Having One

Energy savings

One of the most important qualities of eco-friendly homes is the fact that they consume less energy. This is beneficial because it both protects the environment and saves you some money. There are many different ways in which you can make your home consume less energy. For example, by insulating your home well, you’d use less energy on cooling and heating your home. Or, you could opt for energy-efficient appliances in the kitchen, which do cost a bit more initially, but they can save you a lot of money in the long run. Finally, some eco-friendly homes have their own source of renewable energy, like wind turbines or solar panels, so you’d be paying for less energy in general.

Many companies, for example, produce quality solar systems that can help you generate your own energy and thus, not be as affected by the utility rate increases that might happen in the future. Moreover, solar systems are not hard to maintain, so the only thing that requires a bit more work is installing them properly – but there are professionals who can help you with that. It’s really one of the best ways to bring your home to the future. So, if you’re serious about doing your part in the preservation of the environment, using solar power is the way to go.

Eco-Friendly Home: Why You Should Consider Having One

Environmental impact

Due to the fact that eco-friendly houses use less energy, they also release less harmful gasses that affect the environment. Next, by using sustainable materials when building your home, you’re not using anything that would take nature a long time to replace, as most of such materials are actually recycled. Additionally, by installing water-saving fixtures, for example, you are using less water, which is becoming a scarce resource as well. Also, most newer models of appliances and fixtures have energy-saving features, which can again help preserve the environment. Finally, if you adjust your habits to the home you have and recycle your waste – paper, plastic, metal, etc. – you would add to the preservation of the environment as well. You can also opt for using public transport or riding a bike on a sunny day – there would be fewer cars on the streets, and riding a bike is better for your health too.

Eco-Friendly Home: Why You Should Consider Having One

Health benefits

Building an eco-friendly home is not great just for the environment and your wallet but for your health as well. For example, eco-friendly materials don’t have any harmful chemicals in them, which naturally means that they are safer. Moreover, building companies that use eco-friendly building techniques also avoid using harmful plastics, paints, and other environmental pollutants that could harm your health too. Many of them usually contain carcinogens, so they are definitely something you want to avoid. Additionally, your indoor environment, in general, can affect your health, so everything from lighting to the quality of air matters. For example, comfortable temperatures – due to good insulation and quality heating appliances – can affect your mood and make you less prone to infections and illnesses. Next, clean air due to the good ventilation system and no harmful emissions can help you de-stress and reduce depression. Moreover, a good ventilation system can also reduce symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Also, good insulation, clean air, and proper heating/cooling of your home can all reduce the humidity inside your home, which can prevent respiratory problems. Finally, saving energy on lighting during the day – by letting in more natural light – can again affect your mood and boost your energy levels.

Making your home eco-friendly has more than a few benefits. It can help you save money on utility bills, and it can reduce your carbon footprint. Moreover, eco-friendly materials, building techniques, and home environment can all affect your health. All in all, preserving the environment is more important today than ever before, and doing so can only improve your lifestyle. So, if you’re considering building a new home, buying one, or remodeling the one you have, you should definitely think about going green.

 

You’ve probably noticed this topic popping up a lot recently, and for a good reason. With all the consequences of global warming that we’re already experiencing, reducing our negative influence on nature is more important than ever before. Of course, there are many ways to do it – some simple, some a bit more demanding, but the best place to start is at your own home. With that in mind, here are a few ways to make your home more energy efficient.

Insulate your home

For starters, you want to make sure your home is well insulated. Otherwise, you’d be letting out a lot of heat through the walls and windows during winter, and it would take a lot more energy to keep it cool during summer. In other words, your utility bills would be much higher than necessary due to using more energy to keep your home’s temperature at a comfortable level. There are many different insulating techniques, some of which you can even do on your own, like putting up thicker curtains during winter. Also, if you have an attic and/or basement, don’t forget to insulate them as well, as a lot of warm and cool air can escape through the roof and floor.

Install quality windows and doors

window

A lot of heat and cool air can escape through windows and doors, especially if they are older types, as some of them are not very energy efficient. This is why you should invest in better quality ones. For example, you can find good double glazed windows, and be sure that no air, hot or cool, would escape through them. The same goes for doors. Even though wood is the most typical material for doors due to its price, convenience, and cozy appearance, it’s a very poor insulator. There are many better options on the market, so do your research before you choose. Finally, you can always do some weatherstripping and tinting of your windows as well.  

Choose better lighting

home lighting

Most of the typical light bulbs that you see are incandescent, which means that they emit light because they are hot. This also means that while using them, you are inevitably heating up your room, which is probably the last thing you want to do in summer. It’s one of the reasons why, even though they are fairly cheap, they actually cost you a lot more in the long run. With that in mind, you should consider switching to either LED lights of fluorescent lights. They cost a bit more initially, but they last a lot longer, and they don’t emit any heat, so it’s a small investment that would pay off in time.

Replace old appliances

If you want to make your home more energy efficient, you should also consider replacing your old kitchen appliances. Look for those with the Energy Star logo on them, as they are made to use a lot less energy than the standard appliances. Also, just like the above-mentioned lighting, these appliances do cost a bit more, but again, they would pay off in the long run through your utility bills. You can find lists of essential energy efficient products for your home online. 

Think about solar panels

solar panels

If you want to go the extra mile, you can harness the sun and create your own electricity by installing solar panels. It can greatly reduce your bills, and it can come in handy in case of a power outage. You can install them on your rooftop, or you can install the whole system in a sunny area of your backyard. They aren’t that difficult to maintain, but they do require regular maintenance if you want them to last longer. All in all, they aren’t for everybody, but if you’re determined in your preservation of nature, solar panels are something to consider.

Install a smart meter

Installing smart meters is a great way to track your energy usage. They are easy to install and use, and they can give you a good idea of how much energy you’re using and how you can cut on that use. Also, since a smart meter would send the readings directly to your energy supplier, there would be no need for any manual meter readings. Also, your supplier would know exactly how much you need to pay instead of sending you estimated bills. Finally, it would also be easier for you to change your energy supplier for whatever reason. All in all, it would allow you much more control over your energy usage.

If you care about the environment, you should do whatever you can to preserve it. One thing you definitely can do is make your home more sustainable. There are many ways to do so, both affordable and costly (but worth every penny). Therefore, think about the listed suggestions, opt for those that suit you the most, and you’re bound to feel much better about the difference that you’re making.

Guest post by Will Sandford.

Recent gardening trends mostly concentrate on eco-friendliness and experimentation with technology and gardening philosophy, compared to past years where the color of flowers was the main concern. This is due to our rapidly-changing climate that poses a threat to human survival, especially if we keep on wasting resources. So, if you’re interested in becoming more sustainable, here are the most interesting landscaping trends to keep an eye on.

Water conservation

Water conservation has been a buzz subject in the landscaping industry for a few years now, but this season it will be on everyone’s lips. It’s actually more than a trend, but more of a guideline for new garden designers and outdoor architects that will completely change the way landscapes are created. The use of drought-resistant plants, smart irrigation systems and xeriscaping will soon become a norm in every garden.

Planning with climate change in mind

home weather
The climate is getting more and more unpredictable and with it comes the need for more resilient landscaping that can survive these capricious weather patterns. For instance, extreme heat waves that often strike Australia, especially Sydney, can be destructive for many plants, but they can also ruin the garden’s functionality. However, planting greenery and building protective structures with weather in mind can allow people to use their outdoor spaces even during the most extreme conditions. Resilient plants that provide shade combined with pergolas with ceiling fans in the summer and patios with heaters in the winter will allow homeowners to push through the extreme temperatures. Consulting with professionals in landscaping who know the punishing climate of Australia can help many Sydneysiders get the garden of their dreams.

Implementation of tech

Technology is slowly making its way into every aspect of life, outdoor spaces and landscaping included. So, it’s not a surprise that many designers and architects opt for tech implementation in gardens that can help people get more personalized outdoor spaces that require very little care. Traditionally pieces of gardening equipment like lawn mowers and leaf blowers are getting replaced by battery-powered models that create no pollution and have a reduced noise level. Additionally, there are also robotic lawn mowers and smart sprinklers that reduce maintenance time and water waste.

Landscaping design is also getting a tech-up. The use of 3D modeling, mobile apps and drones can help designers create and present their innovative landscaping ideas to clients.

Upcycling

Using salvaged items in the garden design can do a lot of good, both for your space and for your environment. Upcycling helps keep the landfills empty and it enriches your garden with many interesting and “think outside of the box” design and décor solutions. For instance, using old gardening boots as planters or old beer barrels as ponds is a very eco-friendly way to add some interest to your landscaping.  

Sensory gardens

garden
Usually, most of the garden elements are there to impress your eyes only. However, new gardeners and garden owners want to interact with their gardens a bit more. For instance, you can install a giant chess set that will entertain your eyes and mind and keep you moving and touching the pieces. Another way you can awaken the sense of touch is with reflection pools. These small water features will not only provide you with a beautiful visual effect, but also allow you to touch and play with water for a multisensory experience.

Meditation and mindfulness

For many, the hustle and bustle of urban living are becoming unbearable and they are choosing to retreat to their gardens. That’s why mindfulness, meditation and Zen spaces are becoming more prominent in gardens. In order to achieve this sense of tranquility, people choose to utilize mirrors, privacy screens, interesting planting, water features for relaxing sounds and strategically placed seating to help with relaxation and garden immersion. Early birds even choose to place their seating facing east to have a clear sunrise view every morning.

Gardens like these will both improve human interaction with their outdoor spaces AND protect the environment that needs all the help it can get.

Renewable energy is energy that can be gathered from naturally replenished resources. Renewable resources include sunlight, waves, tides, rain and wind, and energy harvested from these resources is important in many areas, including electricity generation, transportation and air and water heating or cooling.

Nowadays, many companies have switched to using renewable energy, mostly solar, to power their businesses. This change has proven to be successful and green building has spread all the way to our homes. Many homeowners are finding new ways of using the same renewable energy in their homes for many reasons. One of the biggest reasons is to save some money on bills, but going green and using mainly solar power to run your home has many other benefits as well.

 

Rooftop solar panels

If you are looking for ways to incorporate solar power into your home, solar panels are probably the most obvious method. They are typically installed on your roof, but you can also set them up in your yard. They harvest the sunlight and its energy and further transfer it in the form of electricity throughout your home, satisfying all of your daily needs. Generated watts per square foot will vary, depending on the orientation of the panels and your latitude, but they can generate 10 or more watts per square foot, which is more than enough. Another way to harvest the sunlight through your roof is by installing solar shingles. You can set them up if your current roof needs replacing. Solar shingles are actually solar panels that are mounted on your roof and serve as your roof tiles.

Unfortunately, solar power has a weakness–it works only when the sun is up. However, in order to power your home when the sun is down, you can pay for grid electricity or invest in another type of renewable energy. Nevertheless, solar panels will greatly contribute to decreasing your utility bills and saving energy.

 

Solar water heating

Besides generating electricity, solar power can also heat your home. Many homeowners opt for solar water heaters, which use the sun’s energy to heat the reserve of water. Water heated in such a way is then pumped through your radiators and pipes all the way to your faucets or showerheads. This system is easy to install and it can save you plenty of money and energy since it is cheaper to heat your water this way than with electricity or gas. However, there are many types of solar water heaters and each of them has their advantages and disadvantages, so make sure to conduct a thorough research before you make a decision.

Solar AC

It might sound odd that you can use the sun to cool your home, but it is possible. Solar air conditioning works similarly to solar water heating, but it uses the hot water in AC systems. If summers in your area are too hot to bear, you are bound to spend plenty of energy and money on air conditioning, which only increases the utility bills. However, if you switch to solar AC, you can cut down those bills significantly. By using hot water to actually cool down your home, you will both save money and help the environment. What is more, the hot water that is produced in AC systems can also be used for other purposes. For example, you can harvest that hot water and use it for solar water heating as well, depending on the setup you have.

Climate is drastically changing and that can cause plenty of troubles for the environment and residential building. Due to environmental awareness and higher utility bills, more and more people are choosing to go green and use the renewable energy. Solar power is one of those sources and it can drastically change the functioning of your home as well as bring many benefits to you and to our environment.

 

 

When artist Jorge Bakker came up with an idea to fill an aquarium with floats containing model trees, little did he expect his installation to turn into reality. Trying to raise questions regarding the relationship between nature and people living in cities, Bakker surely couldn’t imagine that his concept would be recognized as something that should actually be given an opportunity to thrive in real life through groundbreaking architectural concepts.

Naturally, such recognition could only have come from people who understand, love and respect nature and who had to learn so much about it before making the most of what it gave them. So, if you find yourself in Rotterdam and see floating trees rooted in buoys next to the Floating Pavilion, another landmark in this Dutch city, it doesn’t mean your mind is playing tricks on you. On the contrary, you’ll be treated with one of the most eye-catching and original installations in this part of the world.

Image Credit - uncubemagazine.com

Water Square

Moving towards the modern city center, you might come across a square tucked in between a 19th-century church and a long linear block containing houses, offices, a theater and two schools. This unused and dull space often used to be flooded, since it rains quite a lot in Rotterdam.

Most other places would have solved this problem differently, but not the local city council. A significant investment was made to convert this square into one of the most interesting and vibrant places in Rotterdam. Namely, three pools were created which fill up with water when it rains, and are then used as sports playgrounds and dancefloors. The Water Square is now one of the most popular attractions among both the locals and tourists.

Floating park, hotel,…

Another fascinating idea related to water and its preservation is the emerging Recycled Park, whose purpose is to use recycled plastic to create litter traps for marine litter, thus preventing it from entering the North Sea. The more plastic is retrieved, the bigger the Park will grow. However, the most important impact is, by all means, the protection of water.

Image credit - inhabitat.com

And it is more than obvious that Rotterdam is not going to stop there. The list of projects being currently developed includes a floating subdivision of houses, a floating dairy farm and a floating hotel, deep down in the harbor, at the Innovation Dock.

Water management

Now, you might wonder how come the citizens of Rotterdam are so keen to manage water so carefully. The answer is pretty simple, actually. With almost two-thirds of their country below the sea level and their own town situated around six meters below the sea level, it’s clear that local authorities have to make the most of the advantages that water provides.

As we have seen, they often have to come up with innovative solutions, such as those for emergency storage during heavy downpours and systems for a delayed discharge of rainwater, which ensures that the city has enough high-quality water even during the driest spells.

That’s why the water storage is omnipresent in Rotterdam, with green roofs doing their part in creating a healthy, sustainable environment. They absorb rainwater, lower the runoff, which in turn leads to less pressure on the sewage system.

For almost a decade now, the City of Rotterdam has been running a subsidy scheme for supporting the installation of green roofs on private residential buildings, so more and more people are using this opportunity to improve their living conditions, help the environment and lower the installation costs.

It’s pretty obvious that Rotterdam has not only turned its potentially most dangerous enemy as a means of improving the quality of life of its citizens but has also made it a tourist attraction. It’s widely accepted that Rotterdam’s example is one of the best in terms of collaboration among key stakeholders and experts. Many have been calling it the “water city of the future” for quite some time now, and rightfully so. The way this city uses water should also help us all in our struggle to deal with the climate changes and the consequences they bring.

Green architecture has many versatile advantages. Green buildings consume less power, last longer and it is healthier to live in them rather than conventional houses. Their construction requires less material and they are usually self-sustainable. Of course, they also have a smaller negative impact on the environment.

The investment in green home is investment in your health. How productive are you when you have a headache or you are under stress? You can get a headache or be stressed because of harmful vapours from low quality materials used for construction of your home, poor lighting, constant noise, etc. Less energy is consumed when we have good natural light and quality insulation. When you live in a green house you have more money to spend on things you like, because you have lower costs for doctors, repairs, heating and cooling, maintenance, etc. You can make your home greener by installing green walls and roof.

How to make a green wall?

Green wall, or an indoor vertical garden, consists of fixed or movable supporting structure, space to accommodate the plants and irrigation system (pump, tank for nutrition and water, a timer and a dropper).

Plants for the green wall are grown in containers with special fibres that concentrate the root in one place and they are usually in regular geometric shape (cube or rectangle). Attach metal construction that will carry your new vertical garden on the wall and along the construction conduct watering system. Make sure that every plant gets access to the water. You will also need a waterproof layer that will insulate your regular wall from moisture. After that, stack the plants next to each other and make a plant mosaic.

Plants that are recommended for green walls are creeping philodendron, dracaena, ivy, scindapsus, ferns, Spathiphyllum, aglaonema and plants with small root system.

https://www.houzz.com/

How to make a green roof?

The construction of the green roof and its layers depend on the purpose of the roof. All green roofs have one thing in common and that is that they must contain certain layers so their ecosystem could live.

The layers of the green roof are:

  • Supporting structure – its purpose is to withstand the roof load and it represents the support for the other layers.
    Waterproof layer – which is intended to retain the rain water and its channelling towards the sewer or to a system for storing the rain water.
  • Layer which prevents the penetration of roots in the supporting layer – this layer prevents the roots penetration in depth. The most commonly used material for this layer is geotextile.
    Drainage layer – this layer that is intended to retain the water that plants can use for nutrition during drought periods.
  • Layer for filtration – which prevents the penetration of higher layers and roots in the drainage layer but allows the water come through.
  • Sand or small rocks – are used to help drain the soil, they are porous so they provide an excellent basis for application of the soil.
  • Soil – or any other substrate that enables plants to grow.

There are other layers that you can use for green roof construction but these are the most commonly applied. If you want to grow something other than grass and small plants on your roof you have to apply thicker layer of soil and stronger supporting construction so the plants can grow undisturbed.

http://www.greenroofs.com/

By building green you invest in your health, reduce the impact of construction on the environment, improve the quality of your living space and reduce the costs associated with the using of the building. There are more and more people on our planet and less and less resources. We have to be more responsible when we build so the next generations don’t end up left without necessary resources.

Our planet has reached its boiling point because of our lack of care and concern for it. The situation is so bad that today we even have to think twice about how we are going grow plants, and that is why sustainable gardening has become so popular lately.

By taking such interest in your garden you are not only keeping you and your family healthier, but your planet in general, by conserving its resources.

You will also know exactly how it was cultivated and what you eat, as only then are you completely sure that it is chemical free.

What Does It Really Mean?

As sustainable is most commonly directly associated with eco-friendly, it implies gardening without causing harm to the Earth. As people started using too much pesticides, there was a necessity for a practice like this one.

However, that does not mean that they are not used at all, just in lesser quantities that are easier to keep under control.

What You Can Do

It might sound difficult to go green when this practice is in question, but sustainable gardening is actually quite manageable.

First rule is, do not use bulldogger if you can do it with your bare hands. It might be more difficult, and your hands will get dirty, but remember every time why you are doing it and who you are doing it for.

Secondly, use rainwater whenever you can, especially for watering your plants. You can collect it by setting up barrels in your yard, or even installing some more complex rainwater conservation systems. Also, be sure to use ground covers so that the water would not evaporate so quickly and you would not have to water it too often.

Another preferable technique is to compost, which is actually a way of recycling. By simply collecting leaves that have fallen this autumn in your garden and placing them in compost bins you are using more natural and organic material for your soil.

That way you do not have to spend money on fertilizers in specialized stores, that are not only expensive, but toxic for the soil too, if used in greater amounts.

Finally, think carefully about the plants that you want to grow. Do your homework, find out what fruit and vegetables you can actually grow in your area, because it is not just about planting what you wish to eat.

You need to know if there are appropriate conditions so that you would not have to use any unnecessary additives. Another thing you should definitely look up is which plant grows in which season, for the same reason that was previously mentioned. Also, check this cheatsheet for dummies, you dummy 🙂

Design

When you decide to have a sustainable garden, there are many other things to think about. You will need paths like aisles to approach those plants without stomping and destroying the soil around it.

Garden Path
image credit: wardslandscape.com

 

Those paths can be made out of old pieces of concrete that are leftover from some construction works you did on your house, and never knew where to throw them away.

Another thing is that no matter which part of the world you live in, there will always be natural elements like rain, snow or hail that will get in your way from time to time and that is why you will need to build some kind of protective construction. True sustainable gardener will always use recycled material for walls, windows and decks too.

For some vegetables you will need wooden trellis, but do not cut perfectly healthy three to make it, better collect branches that fall on their own. You know that there are always a lot of them just lying around, so do not let them annoy you, use them for good.

So no more trips to the farmer’s market – simply make some room in your garden, buy necessary seeds and start digging.

Help yourself, your family, country and planet by living green and properly caring about your plants, and at the same time your environment.

 

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