Slow living isn’t a trend; it’s a state of mind

Granny’s old chest of drawers gets a new lease on life with eco paint – and it’s clearly an enjoyable task.

When you build and decorate using regional materials, traditional methods and low-pollutant paints, you’re doing something nice for yourself – and everybody else, too. And as our photos show, the results are extremely stylish as well!

“Slow living” sounds like such an obvious and natural aim. So it’s easy to miss the fact that the first word is actually an acronym for four different terms: sustainable, local, organic and whole.

What does this mean in concrete terms?

Let’s take an example: The new bed I’m buying for my flat was constructed from certified wood that came from a sustainably managed forest in my region. Any oil or wax applied to the wood is non-toxic. So once the bed has outlived its useful life, it can be recycled or disposed of without any concerns. But its quality of construction and timeless elegance means this won’t be happening for a very long time.

The same goes for a floor covering: regional timber, processed locally to demanding standards and given natural protection, will remain an eye-catcher in your home for decades to come (and at Haro this is precisely the quality we aspire to in our wooden floors). When a floor like this ages with the passing years, the “patina” it develops is a mark of distinction rather than a blemish. This is why you can now buy brand-new floors which already have a used look.

Slow living is not a trend of the kind that is discovered this year and gone the next, it’s a state of mind. And it involves much more than just the way we treat our timber. We can apply the same “slow” tests to every material we bring into our homes, whether textiles, carpets, blankets, lamps, tiles or anything else. For people building a house or furnishing a flat, acting in a sustainable manner means keeping the future in mind, protecting the environment, and not leaving a load of chipboard for future generations to deal with. It means choosing furniture that has an intrinsic value and will be treasured for many years – ideally, antique pieces. Furniture of this quality isn’t normally mass produced, and you’re more likely to find it being made by expert craftsmen in smaller workshops and studios.

If you are looking for fixtures and fittings that will stand the test of time, you should opt for natural materials, simple shapes and muted colours – because as everyone knows, it’s the brash and garish items we tire of most quickly. Naturally our tastes and needs can change as the years go by. And, despite the importance of sustainability, we don’t want to be bored by our surroundings.

So how can we ensure this doesn’t happen? We can paint a wall in a brighter colour, have that valuable couch reupholstered or use eco paint to freshen up granny’s old chest of drawers – even it would have not won a design prize when brand new. That may take longer than popping out to buy a new piece of furniture at the discount store on the industrial estate, and it certainly involves greater effort and commitment, but it’s not called slow living for nothing.

Share your good taste!

You have already voted!