When choosing a building material, it is important to consider the environmental impact.
There are certain principles that you can use as a guide that will help you choose the construction methods and materials.
If you follow these principles and carefully choose what materials you use and how you combine them, you can gain a lot in terms of value and comfort in your home and significantly reduce the impact on the environment.
Image source: Kaegebein Fine Homebuilding
When choosing sustainable materials, it is best to cut down on how much new material you will need. Remember to renovate your existing home rather than completely demolishing it and building a new one – this is both cheaper and less polluting for you.
You don’t always need a big house, sometimes a smaller but more carefully designed house that feels much more comfortable and useful. You can also help protect the environment by discarding non-essential surfaces and choosing materials that don’t require a lot of maintenance – they usually last longer and don’t need to be replaced as quickly.
Image source: Antique Building Materials Inc.
When designing your home as well as building it, choose methods that result in a building that can be easily reused or modified if necessary.
There is some kind of rule for single family homes that says that often if there is a certain material on the front of the home, you will most likely find it on the sides. This isn’t always the case, but if you look for it in houses around you, you will find that this is more common than you think.
Image source: Carr Warner, architect
However, there are situations when we see a mix of materials. What you see on the front isn’t necessarily what’s behind the corner. Maybe there is a whole different thing there. In situations where this is the case, there is almost always a transition.
For example, you can join wood to glass, but attempting to join glass to concrete, for example, requires a transition for both aesthetic reasons and possible construction issues.
When you’re building a house, there isn’t just one process, there are many. The materials and resources have to be harvested and mined and then processed. They must be brought to the building site and delivered to the end customer.
Image source: Mercury mosaics
This is all embodied energy, all of these processes consume it. This type of energy is what you can see when you look at a house, but it does not include the processes of working with the building material, nor the processes of subsequent disposal.
If you’re looking for a way to change the amount of embodied energy, the first thing you need to do is look at the materials and their choices, as well as the methods and approaches you use in putting them together.
Different materials carry different energy. If you want to create a building that doesn’t have a major impact on the environment, you need to opt for a permanent building that you can then customize.
Image source: John’s building materials
Choose items that create a peaceful aura
We humans have a connection to nature. However, when looking at materials for interior decoration, it is important to remember that there are ways to bring nature into your home. This can be done in many ways and one very important factor to consider is your style.
When you are successful, you will find that the elements of nature that you bring inside you give you a strong connection with yourself and make you feel relaxed.
Don’t neglect the power of wood as a finish
Wood is one of the strongest building materials you can choose from. It gives you a wide variety of options, from shapes and sizes to finishes, and all of them achieve different effects depending on how they are combined and how they blend into the interior of your home. Of all natural materials, wood is the warmest that can be brought in and a lot can be achieved with it.
Image source: Root Resources & Company
Pay attention to the room where you relax the most
As you are trying to relax and prepare for a day, you are no doubt sitting in a warm bath in your bathroom. This will calm both your mind and spirit, and the outdoors in your bathroom can only enhance the feeling of peace and serenity.
Check out a dry heat sauna – the wooden walls are there for a reason as they enhance the effect of the peace you want to achieve there.
Image source: Clay Construction Inc.
Of course is sometimes better – especially with plants and flowers
Nowadays there is an easy way to brighten up any room without spending a lot of money and a lot of people overlook it. Long gone are the days when all the plants in the houses were artificial and often covered with dust. You can find potted plants in homes around the world, usually those that require little maintenance.
This is another way to strengthen your connection with nature, and it can also change the overall mood in a room if done carefully.
Image source: Lawrence and Gomez Architects
Minimalism is modern
As the way people live has changed a lot in the last few decades, you will find a lot of new materials that are used creatively and produce very interesting effects. Marble, tile, and travertine are surfaces that you will notice everywhere in modern homes, and carpets are a great visual divider between two different rooms.
Image source: Marvin Design Gallery Berkeley
Technology is slowly making its way into our homes
Often times, what you don’t really see can be a lot more interesting than what is obvious. This is one of the guiding principles in modern design. Technology is everywhere and innovations are leading the way in smartphones, computers, etc., and they have even gotten into our homes.
Hiding behind the obvious, you’ll find smart homes with devices like thermostats that you can control from your phone, smart lighting systems that light up when you walk past them, and even kitchen gadgets that you can start before you leave the office.
This area of technology is a luxury these days, but bringing it into your home can modernize the way you live.
Image source: Glenn Layton Homes
The wide range of floor coverings
Some time ago, floors had only two options: they either had a carpet or they had floorboards. However, with the changes in modern design language and the introduction of new materials, you can find materials that will last a long time and provide incredible comfort.
Image source: Jetton Construction Inc.
One of the best ways to add a hard floor that isn’t slippery is to use this chemically made material. It merges with concrete in ways you won’t notice, that there are actually two different materials there, and the results are stunning.
Image source: Griffin Enright Architects
Where there used to be linoleum, there is now vinyl. Very convenient, you won’t slip on it and will keep your floors warmer than other options like ceramic tile. In combination with the right interior design, it looks extremely attractive.
When you look at what design styles are timeless and always popular, vintage is hard to beat. Wood, which was previously used as pallets or wine boxes, can be an excellent flooring material that easily blends in with vintage decorating styles.
Image source: Rick & Cindy Black Architects
Don’t go overboard with the colors
High contrast only looks good in a few situations and when done very well. In all other conditions, it is far more negative than you’d like. To be on the safe side, choose materials with similar colors or pick some colors that are similar and experiment with similar colors. This retains functionality and gives the entire floor an interesting appeal.
Neutral colors are your friend
No need to choose shiny colors from the palette. There are colors like brown or gray that come in more hues than you can imagine and they blend with each other to give you an amazing look.
Image source: JAS design build
Try to mix materials for a great interior
If you have a lot of items that you want to be different, don’t choose colors. Textures are much easier to mix when there are a lot of them, but you should be careful with them too.
Choosing very different textures can lead to conflicts. If you don’t want to be overly dramatic on purpose, this is the place to go. You can shake up anything you want, but think about how it all fits together.