Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


John van Buren


The profession of interior design proposes to enhance interior spaces through the use of furnishings, lighting, and color palettes while adhering to safety standards and building codes. Although designers follow strict codes to beautify a space, they may disregard the natural environment when choosing materials that are aesthetically pleasing. It is difficult for designers to design sustainably when they must balance many demands in design such as functionality, aesthetics, safety, and clients’ tastes. This paper addresses how sustainable design methods can be incorporated into the field of interior design to benefit the environment, while simultaneously improving the beauty of the space. Chapter one offers a problematic view of modern interior design, where most interior designers do not follow sustainable principles or consider the impacts of their actions on the environment. Interior designers use unsustainable practices which harm the planet as well as the inhabitants of the designed space. Chapter two looks into the history of residential homes and interior design, as interior design has not become a profession until the late nineteenth century. Beginning in the early twentieth century in Weimar Germany, designers at The Bauhaus School began to take the initiative to develop sustainable principles that incorporate ecology and art into one discipline. Chapter three further discusses current sustainable design methods such as using renewable resources and materials, energy efficient heating and cooling systems, the use of plants to reduce carbon dioxide levels, and the use of large windows to harvest natural sunlight. Chapter four explores the profound effects of interior green spaces on human psychology. Chapter five presents design principles which build on the current policies outlined in Hannover’s Principles. New policy recommendations are presented as well, such as valuing ecosystem services, using biomimicry in design, integrating biophilia into design, and only using recycled materials in the design process.