Interior Design

Interior design includes a broad range of tasks associated with making an interior space functional, safe and aesthetically pleasing.

Interior designers or decorators may be responsible for choosing paints, flooring, furniture, lighting, paint, wallpaper, and other elements of the space.

Sustainable interior design may consider one or all of the following elements:

Furniture. Furniture should use responsibly sourced materials that are low emitting. Pieces will have a smaller environmental impact and lower embodied energy if they are salvaged or contain recycled, rapidly renewable, and/or certified sustainable materials.

Additionally, eco-friendly furniture will emit low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are harmful to occupant health and productivity. GREENGUARD certifies low emitting furniture.

Wall Coverings. Paints, like furniture, should be low emitting. In particular, LEED requires that paints meet the VOC limits in Green Seal Standard GS-11, Paints, 1st Edition, May 20, 1993. Many popular paint manufacturers, such as Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams, offer no VOC paints.

Wallpapers are often made with PVC, with emits VOCs. Like furniture, GREENGUARD certifies wallpapers that contain low or no VOCs. Other eco-friendly features of wallpaper include water based inks, and recycled or FSC-certified paper.

Flooring. Flooring, like furniture and wall coverings, should emit few or no VOCs. Flooring should contain no added urea formaldehyde, if possible. There are numerous certifications or tests for low emitting floors. For example, carpet cushion may have the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label, and floor finishes may meet SCAQMD Rule 1113, Architectural Coatings.

Additionally, eco-friendly flooring should use responsible materials. In particular, wood flooring can contain wood that comes from forest management practices that have been certified for sustainable lumber harvesting. Other responsibly sourced flooring may contain recycled content or rapidly renewable materials.

Lighting. Sustainable lighting should be energy efficient. Some systems may include daylight harvesting, which collect sunlight and channel it into interior spaces. In commercial spaces, occupants may have higher productivity if their lighting is controlling and/or dimmable.


Find members with green building and green business skills and experience.

Want to be listed on this page? Join Poplar Network for only $99.99 per year!

Meet Pros.

AvatarTalia Dombriz's picture
Madrid, WA
AvatarStephanie Belko's picture
St. Louis, MO
AvatarMaya Ashkenazi's picture
Santa Clara, CA


Relevant education and training to consider.

: 650-746-4261