*This post is sponsored by Urban Barn. All opinions expressed are – as always – my own.
As an interior designer who specializes in luxury residential design, I have certain filters I put all of my design decisions through. It’s very important to me that any product I specify is environmentally sustainable and responsible, both for the planet and for the people who will be living with it for years to come. Those filters have in many ways forced me into the luxury market. Why is that, you ask? Well, I have found myself in a conundrum when – for example – I’ve been approached by clients who want me to help their fresh-out-of-college kids furnish their first apartment. Budgets are tight, and sadly 90% of the time, budget-friendly choices are not environmentally-friendly ones.
That’s why I was so happy to be introduced to the small (but growing) collection of pieces offered at Urban Barn that fit through my designer filters. With some select custom upholstered pieces that are responsibly made in Canada, Urban Barn is recognizing that consumers at all ends of the budget spectrum are demanding more integrity (not just bang) for their buck. You can have a pretty, practical, budget-friendly AND environmentally-responsible space all at once, because the times, they are a-changing.
Just how budget friendly are we talking? Take a look at this room I pulled together with selections from Urban Barn‘s most environmentally responsible pieces, all for under 6K.
Let’s start with the Gems Area Rug. Made of wool, this 8×10 is only $899, a steal for a natural fibre rug of this size. I quite honestly only specify natural fibre rugs for my clients because synthetics – while durable and cheap – produce off-gassing that has a negative impact both on our health and on the planet. Yay for wool that is as stylish as it is sensible!
Next up is the Canadian-made Manhattan Custom Sofa for $1779 as shown. It’s made with sinuous springs rather than the higher-end 8-way hand-tied coiling that I often specify, but the truth is sinuous springs are more common than not in furniture these days. The great news is that it is responsibly and ethically made right here in our home and native land, and it can be customized by choosing from literally hundreds of fabrics. Say bye-bye to boring and hello to your happy place with the option to truly personalize your space.
The Loden Chair in this luscious teal velvet is one of my favourite pieces in the custom program from Urban Barn, and at $987 in this yummy fabric, it definitely falls into the category of #winning.
To pull it together, I selected the Madera Nesting Coffee Table (899) and Madera Round Side Table (599). I don’t always want my tables to match, but in this case the Nesting Coffee Table is a modern-meets-rustic fusion of reclaimed oak, black metal and glass introducing a nice interplay of finishes.
I’m loving the Panama Table Lamp (149) for its raw-meets-sophisticated edge. The fluted shape nods heavily at tradition while the concrete material choice feels decidedly modern.
Speaking of modern, how fab is the Atlantis Wall Mirror? If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll know that I’m kind of an original art snob, but when original art isn’t in the budget (and you’ve got a huge wall to fill), why not think outside the box? Rather than going for production art that might lack soul, consider a decorative mirror that will add light play and interest to your space. At $249, it’s going to make a much bigger impact than a lot of the art you could find at the same price, and you can spend what you saved on this design find by starting to collect small original works for the smaller walls and vignettes in your home.
Lastly, don’t forget to accessorize with pillows like these velvet Azure 20×20 Toss Cushions ($49 each), Sea 12×22 Lumbar Cushion ($29), Lahna Ombré Vase ($26), Lahna Ombré Tealight Holder ($19) and the charming little Nalina Grey Tealight Holder ($19).
Here’s that mood board again, just so you don’t have to scroll up to see the amazing look you can achieve for less than 6K.
If you’re wondering how you can find the most environmentally responsible pieces for yourself, here are a few key questions to ask:
- Where is the product made? Whenever possible, aim for products made in North America knowing that certain categories like lighting and rugs are almost always made off-shore.
- Is it crafted from sustainably sourced materials? Upcycled or reclaimed woods are excellent examples of a big win here.
- Is it crafted from natural (rather than synthetic) materials? Think wool, cotton, jute, linen, etc.
For any of you who are just starting out furnishing a new space (or know someone who is), I hope this post has left you feeling inspired! Know that your values and your design vision can coexist beautifully with just a little intention and a whole lot of love.