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Invest in the future by embracing eco-friendly design- a few simple tweaks can make a world of difference

Interior trends come and go, but there’s one look that’s becoming more important every day: sustainability. It might not sound like the most alluring of concepts, but eco-friendly home design is here to stay – and it can be much more stylish than you think.

In a city where change and development are paramount, it can be easy to lose sight of the impact your home has on the environment – just ask Gundeep Singh, the founder of Dubai’s eco-friendly emporium The Change Initiative (the change initiative.com): “While some people have a steady interest in purchasing eco-friendly and sustainable products, there are many that are not aware or interested in sustainability issues. We see it as an opportunity to inform individuals about the benefits of sustainability – and then leave the choice to them.” It’s an approach that works, too, with many ‘converted’ customers championing the cause.

Making your home eco-friendly can entail a few lifestyle tweaks or a full re-design – it all depends on your budget, and choices that will fit in with your family. The Change Initiative is a good place to start – Gundeep describes the shop as an “information hub” for sustainability-minded shoppers – and the range of products features everything from kitchen composters (perfect for keen gardeners who want a useful way to dispose of food waste) to plumbing, such as Low Flow taps (a simple way to minimise water consumption). It’s all about introducing simple changes that work for you and the environment.

For stylish furniture pieces with a conscience, look to THE One (pictured above, theone.com), where ‘Creative Emotional Originator’ Thomas Lundgren has established a unique eco-friendly aesthetic. “It’s all about taking care of people and the planet,” says Thomas, “and the better we do, the more good we can do.” Here, you can be assured that items are responsibly-produced and that materials aren’t costing the earth: wooden products are sourced only from managed forests, not illegal logging, and manufacturers must sign a legal document stating the pieces’ origins. There’s plenty of ingenuity, too – everything that looks like fur is 100 per cent textile, and the life-like mounted antlers are in fact cunning fakes.

THE One’s commitment to sustainability doesn’t end there, though, as Thomas explains: “We call our company guidelines Socially Responsible Investment, as each of our Do Good initiatives is an investment in our people, communities or the planet”. Every item is produced under good conditions, and child labour is completely outlawed by the brand– and, better yet, turnover from sales funds THE Onederworld, a village community programme that supports communities in Kenya and India. Even the carrier bags are guilt-free: buy a FEED Love shopper and you’ll supply 25 school meals for a child in an HIV-stricken country.

Eco-friendly interiors needn’t stop at furniture and accessories, though – the innovative range at RAK Ceramics brings sustainability into the bathroom too. The Wood Art collection (pictured right, rakceramics.com), the latest range from the tiling specialist, features no wood whatsoever – instead, the grain effect is created by a sophisticated digital printing process. Designed to give a realwood finish without drawing on natural resources, the line is not only wholly sustainable but also resistant to chemicals, frost, fire, moisture, dirt and termites – qualities that timber can never have. “The collection meets the requirement of international quality standards,” says Abdallah Massaad, CEO of RAK Ceramics. “We have managed to aid in sustainability on two fronts: minimising the use of real wood and providing a product that will stand the test of time.”

Indeed, eco-friendly interiors needn’t be drab or unimaginative – which is great news for design minded decorators. In a world that is putting endless strain on its natural resources, sustainability is priceless – and splashing out on a few changes can make a long-lasting positive impact. As Thomas of THE One points out, we’re all in this together: “We believe that the role of business is to make the world a better place for everyone: responsible investment is not just a values issue. It’s a priorities issue.”