Buying almost anything when you’re ethically minded can often be a huge challenge. How do you source ethical items for sale, especially when it comes to an industry, like the interior design industry that’s fraught with ‘fast fashion’ and trends that simply aren’t made to last? While we can always nit-pick and poke holes in any try to be more ethical, there are a few things everyone can do when decorating their home to be more sustainable and ethical in the process.
One of the easiest ways to shop more ethically for your home is to support your local talent. Hit up your local shops and markets to find often hand-made or more sustainably sourced décor items for your home. Shopping this way while often more ethical, is also a lot more fun than going to your local large franchise shop or homewares store, like Target or Ikea. Avoid the big box stores and choose to support local vendors. Even if you find something you love that’s not sustainably made or made by hand, you’ll still be supporting a local family.
Instead of buying mass produced goods, buy handmade home décor instead, like throw rugs, cushions crafted by local sewers and side tables from carpenters in your town. If you’re having a hard time sourcing local handmade items, you can always check out online handmade markets, like Etsy or buy from charity shops that sell handmade items from around that world that support different organisations, such as Oxfam’s home range.
Purchase used items instead of buying new. Not only is it more ethical, it’s also more economically friendly. Check out your local city calendar to find when the next trash to treasure day is. Look in the paper for garage sales in your area and if all else fails, scour online classified’s like Gumtree to find the type of second-hand goods you’re looking for.
When trying to shop more ethically for your home, always choose cruelty-free goods. This means opting for faux pieces if you had your eye on a cow skin rug or a woollen blanket. Even when choosing knitted items, like cushions or throws, check the label to make sure it’s been made with acrylic wool rather than the real thing. This is an easy way to reduce your harm on the planet and on others.
Of course, buying anything new isn’t usually ethical but we all do it. That’s why we need to do it in the most ethical way possible and change our buying habits and culture of waste. Check out the minimalist movement for inspiration on how to live a less waste-filled life and buy less. Ask yourself if you really need more tchotchke in your home or whether you can go without. Buy practical and needed items instead of décor that simply looks good but serves no real purpose. Spend more on practical items that you’ll use daily, like throw rugs, cushions, furniture pieces and storage solutions rather than impractical décor that serves nothing and no one.