It may or may not come as a surprise to learn that the 'vegan' trend went more or less mainstream in 2015. It's always interesting to see how and when trends come into vogue, but even more interesting in the case of the vegan movement, because it's a philosophy that transcends so much more than just the food we eat. Today, there is a huge demand for vegan products right across the board, especially within the realm of interior design.
As consumers' tastes seek to embrace more environmentally friendly and sustainable methods, vegan homes and home accessories have begun to take off. Even Elon Musk's Tesla cars are heeding the trend, producing their vegan car interiors made without any animal-based products. As the world looks towards more a sustainable approach to its affairs, and one that gives greater rights and ethical consideration to its furry friends too, vegan interiors are rapidly becoming a priority for designers and occupants across the globe.
Today on homify, we're taking a sustainable wander through some of the more vegan-friendly options available to today's conscientious domestic consumer, from the installation of faux leather, to using non-toxic, animal product-free paint. Take a look, and consider the alternatives.
Whether you class yourself as a 'vegan' or not, using non-animal products for your home interiors remains an effortless and easy alternative. Right across the board, freshly designed and improved non-animal products are being manufactured in order to cater to booming demand.
Once upon a time, if an interior designer or home owner wished to furnish their domestic spaces with a fabulous leather Chesterfield couch, or ottoman, or even a lavish bedhead and frame just like the one in this lush bedroom scene, they'd have to rely on the traditional animal-based tanning process: hides of cows and other animals, cured with vegetable tannins or chromium, fashioned into the products of their desire by artisan craft makers. We live in a new world these days, and while artisan leather tanning remains an expensive niche, 'faux', or fake, leather – aka: pleather, naugahyde, or 'leatherette' – is an artificial, synthetic alternative that is rapidly matching the old ways when it comes to quality, resilience and style. You might be shocked to learn that this bedframe and head here is actually made of faux leather too: a very neat replica.
Of course, adding the right non-animal products to your house shouldn't be done without considering overall style – the two elements aren't mutually exclusive, so if you need a little extra advice and guidance, why not chat to a professional?
While it may be said that candles made from beeswax have benefits, in the form of reducing asthma, allergies and hayfever around the home by naturally releasing negative ions into the air, when it comes to the vegan philosophy, they aren't the most appropriate options for bringing in a little romantic light. As well as the bee's labour, beeswax candles can also contain animal-derived stearic acid, a cheaper alternative for manufacturers, given that slaughterhouses produce it by the tonne.
Thankfully, there are green and vegan alternatives to the beeswax option. Soy- and plant-based candles are a popular choice for vegans and vegan conscious consumers, and more and more companies are beginning to manufacture candles using these alternative materials. Many larger scale producers are also steering away from the animal-derived fats, instead using coconut-based stearic acid to bind their candles. Sure, they might cost a little extra, but for that sustainable peace of mind it's always good to choose the more ethical option.
It's probably not something you'd give much thought to otherwise, but so many products we use around the home are actually derived from animals. Who would have thought that the humble couch cushion too often relies on the fruits and labour of animals and insects? Silk, something which many cushions incorporate at least to some degree in their construction, are crafted using silkworms. Consider what they're often filled with too: pillow made from goose and duck down, often using harsh, ethically questionable methods.
Here's proof that being a little more vegan around the home need not be a laborious task. Start with something as simple as the throw cushions you choose for your lounge chair or couch. When it comes to cushions, there are so many alternatives to be found in the marketplace; all it takes is to be a little more conscious of what's in the household accessories you purchase, and where you can, always seek out ones that treat animal ethically, or have little to nothing to do with any animals at all.
The same principle applies when it comes to the bedding and haberdashery you choose for your bedroom and resting quarters. Almost all conventional bedding, from doonas and duvets, to comforters, pillows and blankets, are stuffed with down: the soft undercoat of feathers that grows around the chest region of waterfowls, including geese, ducks, and swans. Needless to say, this process of extraction can be very harmful to the animals in question, with many mass-production factories doing little to treat these animals in an ethical or humane fashion.
The good news is that there are multiple cruelty-free alternatives available right now, as more and more companies are taking heed of their conscience and the voice of the marketplace by adopting more ethical methods of production. Of course, with all these products, it can be tricky to know what is and isn't vegan. Ultimately, if there's nothing on the label about it, then you can guess that it's probably not – vegan producers are always keen to communicate their ethical standards to consumers. But when it comes to organic bedding, look for products that use cruelty-free ingredients such as: Thinsulate, Primaloft, MicroMax and TCS Downfree – these, and others, are all made from non-animal-derived alternatives and will ensure you sleep that extra bit better knowing that no animals were harmed in order for you to enjoy a good night's rest.
While we've already discussed the virtues of faux leather, another traditionally animal-based product has also been revamped and overhauled in recent years through mimicry. Faux leather can work wonders, but so too, faux fur. There's nothing controversial about faux fur – for a long time now, fur in fashion has been considered a firm 'faux-pas'. It's little wonder that the trend trickled down into the realm of the home interior too.
Once upon a time, a home was often appointed with a large animal fur rug to keep the living or sleeping quarters warm and insulated from the cold night. We've come a long way from this more primitive usage, and today, a fur rug, or rug of any sort, remains a purely aesthetic addition to our homes. Fake fur is a cruelty-free alternative that evokes the spirit and feel of the past, without harming anything to achieve the aesthetic.
Ok, so this might be stretching the limits of what is and isn't 'vegan' as such, but natural paint is just as important a consideration when it comes to creating an environmentally friendly and cruelty-free home, and certainly ought to be included in the mix here.
Yes, by their nature, natural paints are animal-product free, but their selling point is the way they impact the environment, which is to say, not much at all: they're biodegradable by nature, and free of petrochemical ingredients so often found in conventional latex paints. Mainstream paints are also far less 'breathable', in that the plastic coating doesn't allow moisture to pass through; natural paints do, allowing your walls to 'breathe', which contributes to a positive, and more organic room climate. Additionally, naturally-manufactured paints are far less energy intensive to create, meaning they're an all-round good sustainable option.
Did you like that Ideabook? Why not delve more into the world of ethical design with Wonderful wooden interiors?