Trends come and go, but as part of our 100th birthday celebrations we’re looking at those which are set to stand the test of time. High on the agenda for many homeowners is sustainability. Many of us want reassurance that the products we’re buying and the way we’re choosing to live in our homes is not having a negative impact on the environment. Here, we look at some sustainability trends set to endure…
There was a time when, as soon as we were tired of its look, we would rip out an old kitchen and replace it with something entirely new. This is changing – now, we’re looking to see what we can keep when we update our interiors. For example, many of us are repainting kitchen cabinetry, replacing only doors or worktops, or even reconfiguring the cabinetry entirely and perhaps adding something like a new island unit. If the materials are already in use, it makes huge sense to try to reuse what we can. We recently interviewed Sassy Gregson-Williams and she chatted about how she had repurposed the kitchen cabinetry that was already in her home to create a fresh new look.
Buying less but better
Many of us are attracted to the idea of minimalism but cannot imagine living in a stark white box where even a coffee cup on a table would spoil the aesthetic. Minimalism is about way more than that – it’s about buying less and buying better. Rather than shopping for cheaper things that will need replacing in a couple of years, we’re investing more in pieces that will last. This is as true of a brilliant pan as it is of a winter coat. It feels wasteful to buy something that will no longer serve its purpose in a short while but rather to instead to shop in a more considered manner.
You’d have had to be living on another planet not to have been aware of all the issues around energy usage. This is an easy way to make your home more efficient. Choosing light bulbs designed to last for years and be more energy efficient is one of the simpler ways to go – the AGA factory at Telford now runs completely on LED bulbs. For the last decade at AGA, much of our time and effort has gone into considering how to make heat-storage range cookers more efficient and our collection has grown hugely to bring in cookers designed to use the minimum possible energy while also providing everything that is loved about AGA cooking.
Bringing the outdoors in
Plants boost mood and productivity and lower blood pressure, creating a calmer, more relaxing atmosphere. Connecting to nature is important to us as humans and nurturing plants indoors is a great way of updating a space in a sustainable and natural way. Plus, if we grow herbs for the kitchen, for example, we’re cutting down on plastic packaging, fuel and more.
Metal is an important material for home design and we’re increasingly looking for materials that have been previously used. The great thing about metal is that its infinitely recyclable. The AGA cooker is a great case in point. All cast-iron AGA cookers are made from previously used materials and, once one reaches the end of its very long life, it will go on to become something else.
We’re increasingly seeing it’s not just the products we buy that are important, the packaging they come in can have an environmental impact too. Many brands are looking to minimise this by choosing clever solutions. For example, AGA has introduced new reusable transit and delivery packaging which reduces the number of cardboard inserts, straps and foam pieces needed to safely deliver an AGA cooker. These small changes companies are implementing will add up to make a big difference.
Over the next decade smart tech will become even more important. Doorbell cameras that connect to your smart phone and self-learning tech, such as Google Nest, are already popular, so it makes sense this trend will continue to grow. Plus, when someone is looking to buy a new home, smart tech will become an increasingly important selling point. From noise-cancelling windows through to home security systems, our list of must-haves is set to grow.
Glass is another great material if you’re looking to buy products for your home that come from previously used materials. From kitchen worktops to tiles and from stunning lighting to beautifully designed coat hooks, recycled glass is popping up everywhere in the home. Plus, with amazing new printing techniques it can be designed to look like other materials, such as marble, meaning you don’t need to compromise on the overall aesthetic.
Considering the circular economy
A circular economy is simple. It designs out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use. Nothing is wasted in nature, everything having a purpose. We’re looking for companies that produce products that work to these principles too.
Sharing is caring
One thing that is easy for everyone to do is not to buy things we’re going to use only once. There really is no point in having a shed full of tools that you never need or a kitchen full of gadgets that you use for one dish every five years or so. Increasingly, we are getting together with friends or using apps such as Nextdoor to borrow obscure gadgets. It makes perfect sense and is a great way of cutting down on items ending up in landfill.