Reduce, reuse and recycle home interior choices for healthier design

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People are much smarter to be environmentally friendly. As a designer, I’m always looking for ways to be creative with eco-friendly materials for healthier homes and to reduce waste. We all need to play a role in reducing our waste and being mindful of the materials we use in our spaces.


The use of vintage pieces in design has never been so trendy. With the start of the mid-century design trend, pieces that were once considered antique are now coveted. I have integrated vintage pieces into my interiors since the beginning of my business. These pieces add soul to an interior, giving it a conservative feel. The pleasure of finding parts in a garage sale or a flea market always excites me.


We all know that energy efficient LED lighting is the way of the future and it is fair to make sure that you use these bulbs in your existing fixtures or that you use built-in LED recessed lights for new construction. You want to make sure that you are using soft LED lights, which are specifically designed for interior applications. These emit a warmer light that is not as harsh, which is important when choosing the right bulbs for your light fixtures. Biophilic design also takes a prominent place in lighting, a movement where the integration of the natural world like plants is used in the design. It creates a unique moment in a house.

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There are many materials available that are made with recycled materials or have been Greenguard certified (low emission products for indoor air quality). These products range from countertops, tiles and flooring. Choosing these materials when making your interior selections will really help you reduce your carbon footprint, make your home healthier, and feel good about your home choices.


Think about windows first when building or renovating your home. Windows play an important role in making your home attractive but also more energy efficient. Do your research when it comes to windows to make sure you choose the right ones, and remember that the more panes a window has doesn’t always mean it is better.


It is important to focus on the local when thinking about purchasing items for your home, especially now. It’s great to support local businesses. There are quite a few that do amazing things in terms of furniture design, carpentry, and mattresses. With each of their items sourced and manufactured in Calgary or Alberta, you are putting money back into the economy and helping a local business thrive – which is extremely important.

Alykhan Velji is the founder and director of Drawings Alykhan Velji, a residential and commercial design studio in Calgary.