Be prepared to learn how much we use animal products in our spaces!

I am no interior designer, but I have this feeling that I decorated rooms in a past life because I am just fascinated about the esthetics of places. I appreciate architecture, enjoy modern art, and used to be a huge fan of TLC’s Trading Spaces back in the day.

I’m glad Vegan Interior Design‘s Aline Dürr reached out and offered a review copy of the book she self-published in 2020, Vegan Interior Design, because I think this is one area most new vegans might overlook. Yes, you’ve eliminated animals from your diet. Yes, you’ve committed to not purchasing vegan clothing. But what about home decor? Dürr says in her introduction: “A healthy interior environment does not include animal products.”

I love that the book not only covers the different animal-based materials and how they’re used, but also says that it may not be possible to have a fully vegan space, at least not right away. She provides beautiful imagery as examples, and also solutions the average person won’t know.

Here are all the nuggets I found fascinating (or in some cases, heart-wrenching!) about this pioneering book:

  • Alternatives to leather, wool, silk, etc. exist. The markets just need to catch up so they become the norm.
  • Furniture and its placement, lighting, acoustics, and air quality all affect our health.
  • Fur, wool, leather, and down are not healthy products. Chemicals are required to prevent them from rot, and we can get allergies, asthma, hormone imbalance, cancer, and feather duvet lung from these materials. (I told my husband I was afraid of all the feathers that floated around every time we changed our duvet cover, and maybe I intuitively knew why!)
  • Farming sheep is not sustainable.
  • While faux leather or fur isn’t great for the environment if it contains plastic, it still uses less land, food, and water than animal materials because there is no tanning or bleaching involved.
  • Leather is not a byproduct; we kill 1 billion animals each year for leather and hides.
  • Dürr shared the 3 myths about leather. I didn’t know leather also comes from dogs, cats, seals, goats, deer, ostrich, lamb, buffalo, and kangaroo (good God!). These animals are usually still conscious when their skins are ripped off. The chemicals and waste used in this industry go into our rivers and lakes, causing us respiratory problems, asthma, rashes, infections, infertility, tuberculosis, and birth defects. Love that leather smell? That might actually damage your respiratory system. No thanks!
  • Dürr shared the 3 myths about wool. This includes goats, which are treated similar to sheep for their cashmere.
  • Dürr shared the 2 myths about down and feathers. Conscious birds are suspended upside down every 6 to 8 weeks while they are plucked, and killed at two years old instead of the 20 years they would live in the wild. Down is more susceptible to mites and bacteria, and Dürr talks about alternatives to these materials.
  • Dürr shared the 3 myths about fur. Fur comes from foxes, raccoons, minks, rabbits, chinchillas, lynxes, and hamsters. They are killed by poison, electrocution, breaking their necks, or severing their heads, or they are skinned alive. Chemicals and waste are leaked into our water supply.
  • Dürr shared the 3 myths about silk. 6600 silkworms are required to make 1kg of silk. The child labour and injury in this industry is rampant, and silk has the worst environmental impact of any material. Who knew? Current silk alternatives come from bananas, citrus, cactus, and lotus flowers.
  • Dürr covers GOTS vs. Oeko-Tex materials, and which to look for.
  • Paint isn’t vegan by default. It can contain casein and beeswax, and be tested on animals. So look out for this when shopping for paint!
  • Dürr talks about what to be aware of in bedroom furniture and how nurseries can be safer.
  • Sofas, rugs and towels (!!) might contain down, wool, and beeswax.
  • Finebone china contains up to 45% bone ash.
  • Dürr also talks about considerations for offices, hotels, and restaurants, and shares courses she offers where others can learn more about vegan interior design.

Whether you’re an interior design pro or looking to spruce up your home or workspace in an animal-free way, definitely pick up this book!


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