Slow design: the new movement focusing on the creative process behind your home decor & furniture.
An offshoot of the Slow Movement — which began in Italy in 1986 as the Slow Food Movement (a natural reaction against a McDonald’s opening up) and has gained serious traction as of late — Slow Design focuses on process, origin and materials, while valuing the environment and the individual. If the Slow Design movement is of interest to you, read on to discover five principles to help guide your way.
Now a days if you are wanting to buy a new sofa for example, it can be easily accomplished with just a few clicks of a button. We don't always think about how the sofa was created, where the fabrics came from and how and if it was made ethically. Further more, not much thought is given to the quality of what we are purchasing. We need to start asking questions when it comes to what we consume. Does this speak to me? Will it last us for many years? Is it made with sustainable materials that won't damage the earth?
The slow design movement is about celebrating the process of artisan crafted pieces, it celebrates time: the lengthy amount of time it takes to create artisan furnishings – and the long time they will spend in our homes.
Here I will share 5 Principles of the Slow Design Movement
And by this, I don’t mean spending more time in stores, but rather, carefully consider your purchases before committing. With impulse buys and one-click online shopping leading to lots of unplanned purchases, it can be hard to remember that shopping comes with responsibility. When I used to shop the bigger box stores, I didn't always think about the problems buying yet another $15 throw pillow, I typically didn't worry about where the pillow would end up in five years, whether it would still be sitting on my couch—or taking up space in a landfill. Over the past few years I have had my eyes opened to the disposable side of consumer goods. We have become so use to buying such low quality items that are not made to last. But if we slow down our shopping, and really pay attention to what we consume, we can reduce waste and love everything we live with more.
*Living room styled with old and new items gives a more lived in, comfortable space.
Opt for Modular and Multi-Tasking Pieces
Adaptability is one of the main principles of Slow Design, as the movement values modifying to meet future needs, rather than throwing away in order to buy new.
To bring this future-focused flexibility into your own home, choose items that can be used in multiple ways and various places.
Modular pieces, that let you add on storage as needed, are showing us how modular furniture can adapt to whatever space we live in.
Storage pieces that can offer more then one function are key! I have built in banquette benches in my home dining room. Not only do they offer tons of storage for my space, but the comfortable cushioned benches are also my seating. We use this space for more then just eating. It has become our game night area perfect for board games and puzzle making.
In order to get the most out of your things sometimes repurposing is key.
This is where DIY comes into play. Perhaps you have a vase that you once loved, but it no longer visually appeals to you. Instead of tossing it, try buying some chalk paint and giving it a new life. I have done this countless times and have saved myself so much money by repurposing instead of buying brand new.
Shop Handmade, Fair Trade & Sustainable
Slow Design isn’t just about the products created, but also about the people and process behind them. Buying from a local artisan is the easiest way to find out more about the people and process that go into an object, but there are also ways of learning more when shopping online.
When on Etsy, for instance, message the seller directly for more info, or search for sites that are committed to fair trade standards.
Fair trade is an arrangement designed to help producers in growing countries achieve sustainable and equitable trade relationships. The fair trade movement combines the payment of higher prices to exporters with improved social and environmental standards
Once you know that your new piece of furniture is coming from a source you feel good about, you can sit back and practice the ultimate test of slow-shopping patience.
Let Your Home Grow With You
There are those who move into a new place, furnish it in a couple weeks, and are happy to be done decorating. And then there are those who see their home as an ongoing project without a specific end date. I was definitely victim to the rush of decorating a space. Constantly seeing drool worthy posts on instagram of these perfect looking rooms I was sucked into having to have it all at once. This is such a mistake to make. You see, trends are just that trends, they are popular one minute and then gone the next. And almost all influencers on the gram are given these products for free to promote so that people like you and me feel the need to run out and buy them. But are you really drawn to what you're seeing because it speaks to you, or is it just because it looks aesthetically pleasing?
By not rushing through the process, you can build a home that reflects your life, rather than passing trends. Part of embracing a slower pace is being okay with things that are unfinished. Leave some room (and blank walls) for pieces you discover along the way or artwork you find on a future trip. If we give ourselves permission to slow down, we may find that home isn’t a static place, but it changes along with us.
Will you be joining the slow design movement?