Sustainability in Interior Design

Sustainability has become somewhat of a buzzword in virtually every sector. And while we usually focus our content on restaurants, hotels, or bars, in this piece we are going to consider the role that sustainability plays in interior design across the hospitality sector.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember when reading through this article is that sustainability is an underlying priority for countless consumers, guests, diners, and customers. And so the more you can do to highlight and show your commitment to the environment and to sustainable design and operations, the greater your connection will be with the customers who visit you.

What’s more, sustainability doesn’t just lie in the inclusion of more greenery and plant life in your venue. It should also be represented in the materials used to furnish and decorate your space, and in the way you reduce waste in your business.

Here are some of the ways of embodying sustainability through interior design.

The role of natural light in sustainable design

Energy efficiency is one of the biggest and most important touch-points in the journey to becoming more sustainable. This is something that domestic consumers and businesses are becoming more familiar with, reducing energy consumption by increasing insulation and maximising the use of natural light as opposed to electricity.

This is something that lends itself to interior design – not just ticking the energy efficiency box but also creating a sense of relaxation that comes from a bright and well-decorated space. Natural light is an asset that all hospitality venues should use to their advantage, with large windows and open spaces that facilitate the flow of natural light.

Natural materials across sustainable interior furnishings

Hotel lobby

Another major overhaul that many interior designers recommend is a switch in the way you approach and use different materials in your space – be it a commercial and communal area, or a private setting.

Wood is one of the best natural resources to use in furniture creation, alongside recycled materials and low-impact resources which include recycled glass, wool, and FSC certified wood and other timbers.

And it’s not just the environment that benefits when you choose to use sustainably sourced, durable materials. These materials and the finishes that they provide are also considered very on-trend at the moment and lend themselves to rustic as well as modern spaces.

The use of technology in boosting sustainable design

We’re all familiar with smart metres and other technologies that are designed to optimise energy efficiency. But for hospitality venues looking to enhance their sustainable interior design, technology can also help to minimise wastage and cut down on unnecessary energy output.

Some of the best suggestions include motion sensor lights, apps that replace the need for room keys and printed check-in documents, and online ordering systems for restaurants and bars.

Sustainable design ideas for different hospitality venues

Finally, to a few specific tips for different hospitality venues depending on your customer base and your business model. These include both design ideas and changes you can make to enhance the sustainability of your operations.


  • Enhance sources of natural light and use energy efficient bulbs for late night opening hours
  • Work with local businesses to supply your food and drink, and to cut down on travel costs for supplies
  • Consider a green wall to add life to your bar setting
  • Open an outside seating area in the spring and summer months, optimising the use of space both inside and outside your bar


  • Source ingredients as locally as possible
  • Use natural materials to bring your restaurant design to life, including wooden tables and reclaimed fabrics
  • Up-cycle existing items to bring the right aesthetic to your restaurant, without sourcing new furnishings
  • Work with local food banks to minimise wastage at the end of each service


  • Look into technology that boosts energy efficiency in communal and private spaces within your hotel
  • Enhance the use of natural light where possible
  • Offer local excursions on a group basis to minimise individual travel and the use of multiple vehicles
  • Embody biophilic design and the use of plants to add both vibrance and textures to your setting
  • Create an open layout which connects inside communal areas with your outside space

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