Chic Sustainability


Sally Conran, founder of Sally Conran Interiors, shares her top six tips for creating timeless sustainable interiors that are stylishly, individualistic and which sit outside the influence of passing trends and fashions

Being surrounded by beautiful images of aspirational, newly designed interiors creates the urge to constantly re-design or upgrade our homes with the latest looks and trends. I should know. I am an Interior Designer. But at what cost to our planet? This is a profound question that all Interior Designers and the industry as a whole are having to seriously consider.

My initial approach to new projects has always been to consider how I can create longevity within my design. How can I create something both beautiful and useful for my clients which not only answers their aspirations and needs, but also will last and last and perhaps even get better over time?

Tip One

Keep your choice of materials for the fundamentals in your house such as floors and walls simple and classic; choosing materials that are not only hard-wearing but also age beautifully. Examples of this are natural materials such as stone, terrazzo and polished concrete, wood, porcelain tiles and even recycled bricks for floors; polished plaster and organic matt paint for walls, marble or ceramic tiles in bathrooms, kitchens and utility rooms; classic brassware in warm metals such as dark bronze and brass.

Tip Two

Elegant windows dressings such as full-length curtains with good quality tracks hidden by architectural recesses and pelmets or hung on classic black metal poles are understated, timeless and never date. I tend to choose natural linens as they hang so beautifully and in the same shade as the walls to give a quiet and seamless wrap-around effect. If a more dramatic look is what you are after then luxurious curtains in rich soft velvets are stunning.


Tip Three

Then extend and build up a layered palette of natural timeless materials such as wood, bronze, brass, linen, velvet and leather in your selection of furnishings and fittings. A carefully selected mix of vintage furniture pieces and light fittings combined with elegant new designs always creates a beautifully individual and interesting interior. This also introduces sustainability with the mix. Buying old characterful pieces with personality and patina are a lovely contrast to newer items and combining the two in unique ways is what it is all about when creating something timeless and beautiful outside of fashions and trends.


Tip Four

Once the fundamentals are covered a simple sustainable way I bring seasonal updates into the home is by adding colour accents, pattern, texture and scale with accessories such as decorative cushions and throws by artisan makers, sculptural ceramics and coloured glass and, of course, art. Again, I like to introduce a carefully curated mix of old and new smaller elements in order to further enhance the individualistic, layered effect. This creates interesting silhouettes and shapes within a space and has the effect of elevating the design to something truly unique and original.

Tip Five

Adding specifically chosen art pieces into my designs or indeed designing a whole room around a significant piece also has the fantastic effect of really pulling together a palette, bringing unique character and soul to my designs and creating incredible focal points.

Tip Six

Last but not least, I love to bring in the natural world by introducing plants and indoor trees in handmade, glazed textural ceramic pots. Introducing living, organic foliage not only significantly improves air quality in interior spaces but also adds colour, 3D texture and beautiful seasonal changes.

I believe this sustainable approach to interior design creates beautiful unique and individualistic homes which, I guess, when it comes to it, is what we all fundamentally aspire to.


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