Design Ideas for a More Sustainable Dining Room and Kitchen

As individuals become increasingly aware of the need for climate action, sustainability now takes priority in shopping behaviors and daily lifestyles. An annual sustainability survey by BlueYonder reveals that 78% of US consumers are concerned with environmental sustainability when making purchasing decisions at shops or retailers. Despite price concerns due to ongoing inflationary pressures, respondents are also willing to spend more in pursuit of more eco-conscious choices.

However, you can demonstrate a commitment to sustainability by going beyond shopping behaviors to also include home living. In this light, a previous post on sustainability tips for new homeowners introduces the idea of incorporating eco-friendly decor and design into your living space, such as choosing non-toxic paint with little to no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). But whether you’re moving into a new property or renovating your home, your dining room and kitchen are ideal places to start adopting sustainable design — below are a few ideas to help you out.

Sustainably sourced furniture

When looking for furniture like dining sets, countertops, and kitchen cabinets, it can be tempting to choose solely based on aesthetic preferences like color and design. However, it’s still important to ensure quality and durability by opting for sustainably sourced materials, such as acacia wood, which promotes a cycle of renewal as a fast-growing species.

Fortunately, the furniture retailer Living Spaces can help you easily find a dining table with bench made of said sustainable materials without sacrificing design versatility. For example, the classic Cambria dining set with a table, bench, and upholstered chairs features solid acacia for a balance of minimalist style and optimal comfort. Meanwhile, the mid-century modern Elle Brown Rectangle Wood dining table with bench and side chair combines solid wood with veneer, which is considered environmentally friendly since it maintains the natural wooden aesthetic while still conserving natural resources.

Eco-friendly flooring

Besides choosing furniture sets that balance style and sustainability, it also helps to prioritize minimal environmental impact when it comes to flooring options. Flooring is especially crucial for kitchens and dining rooms, as these are areas with high foot traffic and can be vulnerable to spills, fallen objects, and temperature changes.

Among the most viable materials for eco-friendly flooring is bamboo, as it can be grown and harvested in a shorter cycle compared to traditional hardwoods like oak and rock maple. Bamboo is also highly durable, especially when the type of flooring uses strand weaving to create an interlocking pattern of grass fibers. Lastly, bamboo flooring elevates the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen with its easy maintenance and refinishing potential. Other eco-friendly flooring options include cork and bio-based materials, such as Matter of Stuff’s mycelium floor tiles made of agro-industrial residues, corn crops, seaweed, and clam shells.

Secondhand and repurposed pieces

Lastly, you can search for secondhand pieces like shelves, racks, and light fixtures to not only save money but breathe new life into used furniture. Straits Research’s report notes that the secondhand furniture market was valued at $29.80 billion in 2021 and is expected to continue growing to a $58.58 billion industry by 2030. The growth can be attributed to the presence of online shopping platforms like eBay and Etsy, where you can easily filter through search keywords to find the right piece that suits your budget and aesthetic needs.

If you have the time and resources, another way to live out sustainability and prevent still-usable furniture from going to waste is to make repurposed or upcycled pieces. One of the most common DIY projects for the kitchen is a mini-bar reworked from an old cabinet with the doors and handles taken off.

If you enjoyed this article, consider reading the rest of the blog posts here at Sustainable Living Association for more helpful insights and resources.

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