Rambles from the Couch: It’s all gone eco-chic

By Kellie Hill: Couch Editor

It’s fantastic to see interior designers from all corners of the industry really thinking about sustainable design and showing people how to re-use materials – creating eclectic pieces for the home, but also showing the public simple ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

On the other hand, pressure groups and political parties have shouted about eco-friendly living for years, so this new “eco-chic” or “up-cycling” trend which has swept the design world, hasn’t just popped onto the scene from nowhere. So I ask, why has it taken us so long to finally care about our surroundings and start to change our habits?

I’m sure some boffins out there have an intricate explanation, but from my point of view, attending shows such as Birmingham InteriorsIdeal Home Show (IHS) and keeping track of what other bloggers, designers and tweeps are discussing, reveals one major point…people have far less to spend so are forced to make-do and mend.

I know a growing number of friends and designers, who’ve jumped on the band wagon – using old wood from skips, battered doors, unwanted plastic bottles and vintage suitcases. All to re-create various pieces of furniture. I’ve even done it myself!

I attended one of Linda Barker’s “How to do Eco-chic” seminar at IHS in March, where she demonstrated to the crowd a number of up-cycling tricks including how to make a vintage cake stand. So I took her simple explanation, tested it out and cooked up a post for others to use.

Eco designer Sarah Turner, who I met at this years Birmingham Interiors Show (BIS) way back in January, creates lights from used plastic bottles.

Top boys Hendzel & Hunt, who are behind the label “Made in Peckham” (also showcasing at BIS) create wonderful rustic tables and chairs from wood and pallets discarded on the streets of Peckham.

This years huge Ideal Home Show event followed suit and was heavily based around sustainable living. From George Clarke’s Coronation Street eco-refit demonstrating how energy inefficient many of the UK’s homes are and how they can be improved, to Linda Barker’s eco-chic styling seminars.

It will be interesting to see if the “go-green-go” message is emphasised as much or at all during the Ideal Home Show at Christmas event this week.

Couch WILL be attending and reporting back.

Finally, to end my ramblings, it is important to point out how all this restoring and up-cycling people are doing, is really benefiting our charity shops. I think my local Age Concern is sick of the sight of me, but I get a lot of pleasure making use of unwanted items and helping others at the same time, so it’s worth having a look to see what you can find. Why not make something ordinary, extraordinary?

If you have any examples of up-cycling, eco-chic or DIY pieces you want to show off to the Couch crew, drop us a line or comment!

Images: Sarah Turner, Hendzel & Hunt, Couch.