March 19, 2011

Ethical Interiors

The purpose of my post today is to urge you to consider how your design choices affect the lives of animals and the environment. If you didn't already know, farming animals is detrimental to our ecosystem and our health. It forces animals to live under deplorable conditions, and oftentimes suffer agonizing deaths.The pollution from factory farm run-off has infested our waterways with disease.
Thanks to PETA, I have been made very aware of yet another atrocious act - the Chinese fur industry. The slaughter methods that have developed at these fur farms are ruthless and violent - they viciously annihilate  foxes, mink, rabbits, and even dogs and cats! If you would like to read the article and see the video (WARNING: This video is said to be very graphic - I could not watch), here is the link: Chinese Fur Farms.

This article, along with the senseless act of slaughtering animals for food, fashion, and profit, has encouraged me to look for and share some great alternatives to leather, feathers, wool, and fur, which are commonly found in the interior design industry.

1. Vinyl Furniture

Vinyl is a great leather substitute. When the vinyl is made from polyurethane it can be eco-friendly, animal friendly, durable, and beautiful. There is a great little article on J. Ennis Fabrics explaining what this manufacturer is producing - it can be found here: vinyl fabric. All of the furniture depicted below has been made from a leather substitute.

2. Faux Hides, Skins, and Furs

There are many alternatives to animal hides, skins, and furs that were traditionally used in interior design. They look and feel realistic and come in fun colors and styles. I found a great site that offers a variety of faux furs and skins by the yard, and a site offering faux skin rugs. Their sites are here: Faux Fur and Skin and here: Faux Rugs.


3. Acrylic Fabric Emulates Wool

Most people may think that the wool industry is harmless - but I can assure that it is not. This quote is take directly from the PETA website from an eyewitness: "[T]he shearing shed must be one of the worst places in the world for cruelty to animals … I have seen shearers punch sheep with their shears or their fists until the sheep's nose bled. I have seen sheep with half their faces shorn off …" If you would like to read the entire article, it can be found here: Wool Article.

Acrylic is a great substitute for wool in rugs, decorative pillows, and blankets.

Here are some fun, wool-free area rugs. You can purchase them here: Wool-Free Rugs.

4. Down Alternatives

Down alternatives are exactly what they sound like. Choosing the down alternative over actual down saves duck and geese distress, pain, and suffering. You can read the full article from PETA here: Down Feathers.

Down alternative comforters, throws, and pillows are easy to come by today. Most decorative throw pillows come with just the covers and down alternative inserts can be easily added. Here are a few of my favorites...

I truly hope that this post has helped in some way to educate my readers on the importance of ethical interior design. If you have any questions or need some advice with your ethical interior transformation, I would be more than happy to help. You can email me at:


  1. Thank you very much for posting this! This is very helpful :-)