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You’re wearing faux-leather, you often order the meat-free option when you’re out, you’ve even overhauled your beauty routine, but what about closer to home?
If you’re looking for animal-friendly interiors to go with a more conscious lifestyle, you’re not alone. ‘The switch to vegan interiors is a huge story right now,’ says Emma Hooton, interior designer, committed vegan and founder of Studio Hooton. ‘There’s a movement towards not only cruelty-free interiors, but to achieving a healthier overall living environment without compromising on design.’
Not sure where to start? We asked Emma to share some of her pro tips.
If you want your makeover to start from the ground up, there are plenty of vegan alternatives to wool carpets and rugs. ‘Look for sisal, seagrass, hemp and bamboo carpets, which are now all available from mainstream suppliers,’ Emma suggests. Sisal also has the benefit of being sustainable, non-toxic and hard-wearing. For something that’s a little softer to the touch, try jute. You’ll find a wide selection of jute rugs on the high street at the moment, as homeowners look to tap into the nu-rustic trend, celebrating natural tones and textures.
When you’re looking to make a big purchase such as a new sofa, you want to feel good about it in the long-term. That’s why DFS has just launched its new range of vegan sofas, chairs and footstools. The stylish collection features five different sofa models, which are available in a choice of leather-look, accent print or woven fabrics. We love the classic Cedar sofa with quilted backrest that comes in a range of colours, including forest green, teal and blush. Or, if you’re wild about pattern, make a statement with the Cherish accent chair in a faux cowhide finish.
Emma’s advice? ‘When shopping for vegan furniture, examine the different materials used, such as fabrics, fillings on upholstery, or anything that looks like it might be leather. Companies that have strict policies on sourcing and manufacturing methods will nearly always have a dedicated page on their website detailing where they sit with sustainability and welfare. If they don’t, ask.’
Until the news that Meghan Markle was decorating Archie’s nursery with vegan paints (infused with eucalyptus and rosemary oils), many of us didn’t even know paint wasn’t plant-based. However, some can include animal derivatives, so if you want to be completely animal-friendly, you'll need to look for vegan ranges. Luckily, there are plenty out there, including Little Greene and Lick.
Some furniture may also be constructed using glues and chemical finishes that contain animal products. If you’re not sure whether a product is vegan or not, Emma’s advice is to check with the supplier. ‘If they keep getting asked, it will inspire them to respond to a demand for ethically-sourced products,’ she adds.
Changing up your accessories is the easiest way to start transforming your home. The DFS vegan range also includes a collection of scatter cushions in faux cowhide, leopard print and tiger print finishes, to add colour and pattern to your living room. When shopping throws and blankets, swap wool for linen and cotton, and replace down and feather-filled pillows and duvets with microfibre alternatives, which have the added benefit of being anti-dust mite and hypoallergenic.
Happily, you can still get that indulgent finish with vegan materials. ‘If you love silk and are looking for something that feels equally soft and luxurious, you can use organically produced cotton velvet, for example,’ Emma explains. ‘Or incredibly luxe fabrics made from bamboo fibre are now readily available.’
Whenever you upgrade your furniture, Emma suggests using a recycling service, so nothing goes to waste. ‘There are companies such as Clearabee that will come and clear old furniture (and any other bits you may have been sending to charity anyway),’ she explains. ‘It promises to divert 95% of what is collected away from landfill and runs as a completely carbon neutral operation.’ To make your upgrade even easier, DFS partners with Clearabee on its Sofa Cycle scheme, so customers can organise for their old sofa to be collected when they're ordering their new one.
Discover the new DFS vegan range, which is PETA-approved, at dfs.co.uk