5 eco-friendly ideas for your home improvement project

Planning a project? Make better choices for your home and the planet with sustainable solutions – from consciously sourced materials to technology innovations that help reduce water and energy waste.

To mark Earth Day 2024 and help you switch to more eco-friendly solutions, we’ve rounded up five ideas that are kind to you, your home, and the environment. Let’s begin, shall we?

Eco-friendly paint

Growing up, I remember watching my parents take on home improvement projects around the house, and this included breathing life back into the walls with a fresh lick of paint. And whenever that happened, you knew you had to leave all windows open and sleep elsewhere due to… harmful paint fumes. Well, gone are those days thanks to brands who are reducing toxins in their formulas.

Bathroom design with orange vanity unit, black handles, white worktops and blue mirrors.
Joyful Orange, from £35 for 1 litre of eggshell paint, Yescolours.

With no compromises on quality, colour pay-off or durability, the latest non-toxic solutions boast green credentials by being solvent, adhesive or virtually volatile organic compounds (VOC)-free, formulated with plant-based ingredients, odourless and water-based – often thinner than oil-based formulas, which means they will also dry quicker.

So, if you’re thinking about upcycling your cabinetry or giving your bedroom walls a refresh, make sure to choose eco-friendly paint emulsions.

Peach and green kitchen-diner with open shelving and matt black accents such as lighting, taps and decor.
Secret room (kitchen) and Peach Baby (walls) paint, £57.50 for 2.5 litres of Claypaint each, Earthborn.

Sustainable surfaces

These days, there are plenty of eco-friendly options for your worktops and splashbacks. The latest sustainable surfaces include innovative solutions such as Diamik, which is made from recycled glass, Richlite, a durable and versatile material made from paper, and Durat, crafted using approximately 30% recycled plastic but 100% recyclable.

Kitchen-diner with eco-friendly surfaces and wood dining table and chairs next to large windows.
Diamik surfaces are crafted from recycled glass, price on application.

If you love the look of terrazzo, low-carbon manufacturing company Foresso crafts panels from waste wood – and they look oh-so-good! Reclaimed wood is another great option since you’re giving back life to existing material and thus, diverting waste.

Surface Matters also offers a wide range of designs made from recycled solutions such as textiles and plastic.

Green kitchen design with black handles, eco-friendly worktop and splashback, and a black induction hob.
Foresso has 10 base colours which range from black, ivory and white to pink, blue and green shades.

Limit your waste

You can make eco choices, without compromising on style, with low-flow toilets, and water-saving taps and showerheads, which will ultimately help you limit your water and energy consumption in the bathroom.

Pink bathroom with white sanitaryware and brassware, wood vanity, white mirror and house plants.
The Tecturis S range in matt white, starts from £165, Hangrohe comes equipped with EcoSmart + technology to reduce your water consumption to a maximum of four litres per minute, and the CoolStart function, which allows hot water to flow only when needed.

Many shower brands, including Hansgrohe, Mira and Kelda, incorporate air into their showerhead systems to decrease the amount of water released. Another great option would be an electric shower, which is energy-efficient, allowing you to heat up water on demand.

Smart shower toilets are incredibly helpful too as they help you save water and toilet paper – bonus. For example, VitrA’s V-Care Comfort model offers a completely paperless solution, thanks to its washing and drying features.

White bathroom with eco-friendly shower toilet, small basin, chrome pipe and tao and hexagon tiles.
V-Care intelligent rimless shower toilet in white, £2399, from VitrA.

Click here to discover how to plan an eco-friendly renovation

Energy-efficient appliances

Eco-friendly appliances are usually made from recycled and easy-to-recycle materials such as steel, glass, brass or aluminium. In terms of energy ratings, it’s advisable to opt for A or A+ where possible because these are the models which will consume less energy and reduce your water usage. Also, it’s important to look for appliances, no matter large or small, which offer helpful Eco modes and energy-saving features.

Large French door fridge in dark kitchen design.
Sub-Zero & Wolf 48” Classic French door fridge-freezer uses the same energy as a 75-watt light bulb. With split climate control to keep food fresh for longer, it uses a variable speed compressor to optimise the refrigerator temperature and night mode, to reduce the brightness by 90%. Priced £23,868.

Choose companies with eco-credentials

Whether you’re planning a complete kitchen renovation or a bathroom refresh, it’s always important to research the brands you choose for your project before committing. You can dive deeper into their background and discover the company’s sustainability ethos. This way you can find out where they source their materials from and if they use renewable energy, or recycle water and waste during manufacturing.

Happy planning!

Eco-friendly kitchen design with birch plywood cabinets and a central island with two bar stools.
For this kitchen, B-Corp-certified Pad Studio worked with the eco-conscious firm Pluck, whose factory runs on renewable electricity. The cupboards are all made from FSC- or PEFC-certified birch plywood. Photography: Malcolm Menzies.

Enjoyed this post? Click here to see five eco-friendly kitchen projects

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