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Breathe Easy: The Power of Material Selection in Interior Design for Healthier Living

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

© Murray Fredericks Photography / One Central Park, Sydney / Ateliers Jean Nouvel

In recent years, the focus on sustainable and health-conscious living has extended beyond just dietary choices and exercise routines. As people spend a significant portion of their lives indoors, the impact of interior spaces on overall well-being has gained prominence. One crucial aspect of this impact is the choice of materials in design and its direct correlation with indoor air quality and health.

The Connection between Material Selection and Indoor Air Quality

The materials used in interiors can have a profound effect on the air we breathe within our homes and workplaces. Many conventional materials, such as certain paints, adhesives, and synthetic furnishings, release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. VOCs can contribute to indoor air pollution and have been linked to various health issues, including respiratory problems, headaches, and allergies.

Conscious material selection not only mitigates these risks but also supports overall well-being by creating healthier indoor environments. Interior designers are increasingly recognizing the importance of choosing materials that are environmentally friendly, low in VOCs, and conducive to good indoor air quality.

Case Studies

The Edge, Amsterdam

The Edge, a high-tech office building in Amsterdam, is a stellar example of how material selection can contribute to a healthy indoor environment. The designers incorporated sustainable and low-VOC materials, including recycled wood, energy-efficient glass, and non-toxic finishes. The building's indoor air quality is enhanced by advanced ventilation systems that ensure a constant flow of fresh air, promoting the well-being of its occupants.

One Central Park, Sydney

This residential development in Sydney, Australia, seamlessly blends nature with modern architecture. The designers focused on using natural and sustainable materials, such as reclaimed wood and recycled steel. The integration of greenery throughout the building not only improves air quality but also adds a touch of biophilia, connecting residents with nature and fostering a healthier living environment.

BuzziSpace Showroom, New York

BuzziSpace, a design-focused company, prioritizes sustainability in its products and showrooms. The New York showroom is a testament to their commitment to healthy interiors. From acoustic panels made of recycled materials to furniture upholstered with low-emission fabrics, every element is chosen with indoor air quality in mind. This showcases how even commercial spaces can prioritize the well-being of their occupants.

CopenHill, Copenhagen

CopenHill, a waste-to-energy power plant in Copenhagen, combines functionality with sustainability. The interior design of the facility includes recycled and upcycled materials, contributing to a reduced environmental footprint. With an emphasis on clean air through advanced filtration systems, CopenHill demonstrates that industrial spaces can also prioritize the health of those working within them.

Here are a few some of our favourite sustainable-friendly suppliers/materials/collections for you to consider for your next project:


As the awareness of the impact of interior spaces on health continues to grow, the role of material selection in interior design becomes increasingly crucial. By prioritizing sustainable and low-emission options, designers can create spaces that not only look aesthetically pleasing but also support the health of their occupants. As the design industry evolves, incorporating health-conscious practices will undoubtedly become a standard rather than an exception, ultimately shaping a healthier and more sustainable future for interior spaces.

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