More and more of us are keen to live as ‘green’ a lifestyle as possible, whether that means recycling and upcycling or buying food grown by local suppliers. Thankfully we can also do our bit when it comes to decorating our homes, as there is an abundance of furnishings made from sustainable materials on the market that are every bit as beautiful, and in many cases much more so, than their synthetic equivalents. To mark World Environment Day (5 June) we’ve rounded up some gorgeous natural floors that will not only add style and flair to any home, but are also fully biodegradable and free from harmful toxins or chemical compounds – making them ideal for allergy sufferers as well as anyone concerned about environmental pollution.
Coir is derived from the outer husk of the coconut – a material that would otherwise be discarded – and possesses incredible natural strength and durability. The raw fibres are spun by hand to create distinctive rustic-looking designs, like the popular bouclé weave of this golden-toned coir carpet from Sisal & Seagrass. With an appealing homely look that will make any room feel instantly warm and welcoming, it’s well able to stand up to wear and tear in even the most hectic family homes, and is a fantastic choice for high-traffic areas such as hallways and living rooms.
Cork is currently enjoying a surge in popularity thanks to its impeccable green credentials. No trees are felled during its production – only the bark is removed, and cork trees soon regenerate; they can live for up to 200 years. Portuguese manufacturer Granorte harvests cork from southern Mediterranean cork oak forests to make beautiful organic flooring that is a world away from the varnished orange floor tiles of the 1970s. Its range includes cork flooring in the palest of greys and off-whites, vivid shades of blue, green or orange, digitally printed to give the appearance of wood, leather, Moroccan tiles or marble, as well modern spins on classic looks like Expression Sand, a playful tiger-stripe design from the company’s Studio collection.
If you’re looking a sustainable floor covering that’s also guaranteed to be a talking point, consider a paper rug. As strong and resilient as they are striking, Sisal & Seagrass’s Ratia paper rugs are 100 per cent organic (even the backing is made from natural materials) and are available in six different sizes and 16 designs, including this vibrant orange Swing design – perfect for giving a room a fresh, modern update.
If you covet the soft feel and stain resistance of a nylon carpet but would prefer a more eco-friendly alternative, SmartStrand could fit the bill. Partly made from corn starch, it requires 30 per cent less energy to produce than equivalent materials, and offers fantastic resistance against spills and stains thanks to its closed cellular structure; it’s simply impossible for liquids to penetrate the fibres. Lano offers a fantastic array of SmartStrand carpets that aren’t just green – they’re almost any colour you can imagine, from goes-with-everything greys and subtle taupes and mushrooms, to vibrant reds, Millennial pinks and this gorgeous on-trend duck egg hue.
Derived from the leaf fibre of the succulent Agave Sisalana, sisal is traditionally used in ropemaking and possesses incredible strength and flexibility. Unlike many other natural fibres it takes dye well, so as well as the gorgeous organic, natural shades you’d expect, Sisal & Seagrass’s extensive range of sisal floorcoverings includes sophisticated metallics and colours ranging from palest cream through bronze and burnt oak to jet black, woven into eye-catching designs like this elegant Sisal herringbone weave in Stone.
Real wood floors are undoubtedly beautiful, but not all of them come from sustainable sources. When choosing, look out for FSC Certification; this means the timber has come from forests that are correctly managed, and where there is no illegal logging or deforestation, wildlife is supported and workers are treated fairly. With its gorgeous pale golden tone and softly flowing grain, UK Flooring Direct’s Galleria Professional Solid European Rustic Oak flooring bears the FSC stamp and, correctly looked after, will last for decades – if not a lifetime – before needing to be replaced, making it an eco-friendly as well as stunning addition to any home.