4 inspired ideas for a sustainable home

Designer Ben Frost gives us his top tips on eco-friendly living

4 inspired ideas for a sustainable home

Furniture designer Ben Frost is passionate about embracing sustainability in every area of the home. His sofa collection collaboration with Grand Designs and DFS is a case in point, fusing contemporary style with comfort and impressive eco-credentials. ‘The range reflects a more responsible, sustainable approach to modern living - something that’s ever more important in our daily lives,’ explains Ben. ‘It’s perfect for anyone who wants to invest in affordable, sustainable furniture, but without compromising on style, comfort or function. Here, he talks about how to embrace sustainability affordably and in style.

Think big

    While we’re more aware than ever of the need to make our homes eco-friendly, big-ticket item like sofas might not seem the most obvious way to buy into sustainability. Ben’s striking ‘Kent’ sofa for DFS, though, is different. Handcrafted in Britain, it boasts clean, architecture-inspired lines, subtle quilted details and elegant wooden legs, and is available in velvet, chenille or woven fabric upholstery in a range of timeless shades. It has also been designed from top to toe with eco-consciousness in mind. ‘Every component has been chosen to reduce its impact on the environment,’ Ben explains. ‘The frame is constructed from sustainably sourced timber, the seat and back cushions are made using fibres derived from recycled plastic bottles, and the super-soft upholstery fabrics are crafted from recycled yarns.’

    Know what to look for

    know what to look for
    Avery Klein

    Ben is brimming with smart yet simple ideas you can adopt in your own home – not just investing in natural and recycled materials, but also thinking about longevity and the potential for re-use at the end of an object’s life. ‘When shopping for homewares, whether they’re new or used, look at things like the methods used to manufacture them, whether they make efficient use of materials, and the build quality – all of these things affect a piece’s lifespan.’ He also suggests being savvy about how you dispose of furnishings – could an old item be sold or given away, rather than being got rid of? ‘The way we repurpose the things in our homes is just as important as the new purchases we make,’ Ben argues. ‘Reach out on social media or auction sites, and to charities - you might find your old furniture a new home.’ Usefully, DFS offers a Sofa Rescue scheme, which is designed to help divert old furniture from landfills. The service will pick up a customer's old sofa and recycle as many of the materials and component parts as possible, offering customers a way to dispose of their old sofas easily and responsibly.

    Invest in good materials

    invest in good materials

    When shopping for new buys, there are specific things that Ben recommends keeping an eye out for. ‘Responsibly sourced FSC timber, textiles made from recycled materials, and recycled plastics are three good choices, but also consider whether materials can be recycled at the end of their life,’ he says. Some considerations may not be immediately obvious, such as an item’s finishes, fixtures and packaging. ‘With the ‘Kent’ sofa, for example, the feet have an eco finish that’s free from man-made chemicals or lacquer, while the delivery packaging is recyclable and made from used polythene bags.’

    Give your home longevity

    elizabeth dot
    Elizabeth Dot

    Ultimately, though, Ben believes that the best thing we can do as eco-aware consumers is to keep things for longer. This means championing furniture that is timeless – Ben loves designs from the 1940s and 50s, which ‘complement the contemporary pieces that we also need for our modern lifestyles’. Discovering a new lease of life for old favourites is one way to extend their lifespans. ‘Simply sanding down and repainting an old chest of drawers, or changing the handles, can mean you’ll love it for longer,’ explains Ben. ‘That’s an excellent way to contribute to a sustainable future. Pinterest is perfect for inspiration on what can be achieved, and often has how-to guides.’

    With these ideas in mind, how would Ben accessorize the ‘Kent’ sofa? ‘I would complement it with some vintage cushions and throws and add a 1950s coffee table alongside,’ he suggests. ‘It’s the perfect mix of new and sustainable.’

    To see the full range of stylish and sustainable sofas in the Grand Designs collection available exclusively at DFS, visit dfs.co.uk

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