How to furnish your home sustainably: reuse, restore and recycle for timelessly stylish, eco-friendly interiors

With sustainability on everybody’s minds, here six ways to create a stylish space – and do your bit for the planet… 

Buy less homeware and buy better

Invest in durable, long-lasting furniture. Your budget might be tight but you will get more pleasure from quality homeware over time.

Craftspeople using natural materials are abundant in London producing fabulous quality furniture, ceramics, woven goods and much more.

Explore UK craft on the website of the Crafts Council, a not-for-profit organisation supported by the Arts Council.

Don’t go straight for new. You can find terrific quality for less money by buying second-hand.


Polly Waite’s upholstery and restoration courses start at £140 in Falmouth, Cornwall

Restore your furniture rather than replacing it

A century ago we valued our homeware and used it through a lifetime. If it was broken we mended it.

We are now a throwaway culture using an abundance of poor-quality high street furniture that is not worth repairing, so we replace it with more cheaper furniture. 

Restorers can be hard to find but visit Restoration Station in Shoreditch or AfterNoah in Angel, where restoration services are offered.

You can also learn the skills yourself with restoration workshops at The Good Life Centre, based near Tate Modern. A one-day furniture restoration workshop is £175.

Restoration Station is run by the SCT charity to help those suffering with addiction through the meditative craft of restoration.

Find out more about AfterNoah at 

Buy antique or vintage homeware

Bring character into your home with vintage and antique homeware. Thanks to online platforms such as Vinterior, and inspiring dealers such as Dorian Caffot de Fawes, the antiques industry has become more accessible.

Flea markets, pop-up galleries and small boutiques also provide a rich variety of finds to choose from and weekend shopping in junk shops is great fun. 

Discover antiques and vintage furniture at; Dorian Caffot de Fawes, based in Lillie Road, Fulham SW6, offers a selection of 20th century antiques (

Retrouvius, based in north London, also has a great selection of reclaimed and salvaged items to view in its showroom. Visit for more information. 

The Mid-Century Modern Fair is a great place to source mid-century vintage pieces. The next fair is on March 15 at Dulwich College.

Organised by the International Antiques and Collectors Fairs, the Alexandra Palace Sunday Fair is full of great finds.

The next is coming up on May 3. Charities such as the British Heart Foundation have an excellent choice of merchandise for every section of your home which they restore and repair before they sell it on.

The BHF has 185 dedicated furniture stores across the UK.

Use natural paints


Natural paint: Edward Bulmer heritage shades include Malahide, £49.50 for 2.5L emulsion (Photopia Photography)

Make the effort to seek out healthy, natural paint to decorate your home. Most commercial paints contain toxic chemicals and some proportion of plastic. 

However, more brands are moving into natural ingredients. Check out Edward Bulmer heritage colours.

Using raw linseed oils and natural pigments from chalk, earth and minerals, these paints come in a range of beautiful shades and they cover well, with only two coats needed in most cases.

Earthborn Paints also uses a large proportion of natural materials. Like Edward Bulmer, this maker identifies the full list of ingredients used in its products. Emulsion starts from £49.50 for 2.5 litres (order online). Water-based eggshell starts from £41 for a litre (order online).

Earthborn Paints are found in various stockists throughout the country, including Brewers and Shades Colour Centre. Eggshell is £35 for 750ml. Claypaint, £66.99 for five litres.

Avoid single-use items

Avoid single-use items. When one life ends for a product, look at reusing it in a different application.

Repurpose candle containers as decorative storage jars or find items which have a dual purpose; for example, cocktail glasses which can be used as pudding dishes or old storage trunks that can become coffee tables, with the bonus of good storage space. Don’t throw out — give to charity shops.

Don’t buy into trends

Create a timeless, comfortable and stylish home that represents you and the look you most enjoy. Don’t be swayed by fads and trends.

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