Eco-style in interior design

Today, there are enough names in the list of popular styles for interior decoration. Still, the most relevant ones are brought together by a common aspect – the desire for tranquility, well-being, and closeness to nature. The last point is especially important today when environmental friendliness and the importance of protecting the environment are becoming a priority around the world.

It was under the influence of this trend that the Eco-design style was born, in which the number of natural materials, green plants, harmony, and serenity far exceeds any other design options. Do you want to try eco-friendly design options for your apartment or house? We hope you find our short guide helpful.

What is Eco Design?

Eco-style is a fairly young trend in design. It began to develop at the end of the 20th century when the concentration of society on environmental issues and the desire to unite efforts to protect nature met at one point, as well as the accumulated fatigue and stress experienced by actively working citizens.

It is impossible to name any milestones or starting points in the history of Eco-design. Still, it is obvious that the principles and traditions of housing design in Japan and the Scandinavian countries have a huge influence on it. The desire for naturalness, authenticity, the absence of anything superfluous, and harmony with nature has inspired architects and designers who were looking for solutions that meet the needs of society. Today, three decades later, such a concept is not at all outdated, and Eco-style interior projects are integrated with the same enthusiasm.

Basic principles and key elements

The main features of Eco-style are clear as day. Let’s dwell on them in more detail:

  • Natural and high-quality materials. Of course, the first violin is played by wood – with maximum preservation of the natural texture, minimum polishing, and without any paint. Stone, marble, willow and rattan, bamboo, glass, metal, natural fabrics, and, to a lesser extent, leather is no less appropriate.
  • Maximum free space. The more light and air the interior receives, the closer it is to the concept of true eco. This design does not imply anything superfluous, unnecessary, or overly complex.
  • Balanced lighting. It is best if it is natural – in this case, large and high windows will come to the rescue, letting in the maximum possible amount of light. If it is not enough, a carefully thought-out scenario with suitable fixtures compensates for the lack of light.
  • Restraint in furnishings and decor. Nature offers everything for comfort; nothing more and nothing less. This reality also influenced the Eco-style interior, mainly designed according to the “necessary and sufficient” principle.

Colors and prints

Ocean coast, coniferous or tropical forest, desert or prairie, alpine foothills – Eco style in the interior allows you to create a design reminiscent of any of these landscapes. The color palette contributes significantly in this sense, using exclusively natural shades found in nature. Among them:

  • Woody tones. They can be different, but priority is given to warm and light shades – honey, milky, nutty.
  • Grays. Shades of pebbles, forest boulders, rocks, the autumn rain, and morning mist create a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere.
  • Browns. First of all, you should pay attention to earthy shades – for greater comfort and solidity.
  • Greiges. Such tones are associated with natural fabrics and fibers – linen, jute, sisal.
  • Greens. Eco-interior is a real expanse for green shades. Use natural tones of any lightness and saturation – primarily the colors of leaves, grass, and natural needles.
  • Soft and natural whites. They make the room brighter, more spacious, and positive.

Also, yellow and blue shades are used in Eco-style interiors as a replication of the sand and sun, the water and sky.

As for the prints, they are absent in this design since there is no need for them. The pattern of natural wood, stone texture, and the interweaving of green plants look more organic than a stripe, a particular geometric shape, or a baroque print.


What materials you need for interior decoration in Eco-style is quite obvious – they must be safe, with unpainted and unpolished texture and, if possible, natural. However, if you dig deeper, things are not that simple, and there are many options for creating a base for an eco-friendly interior. Let’s consider them in a little more detail.


The easiest way is to paint the walls with soft matte paint, but this is clearly not enough: Eco-style, of course, implies modesty, but not to such an extent. In the decoration of vertical surfaces, wood panels (including 3D), boards (by no means tongue-and-groove), as well as bamboo and stone inserts are widespread. You can combine these materials if you want, although no more than two of them.


A 100% authentic eco interior requires a bit of attention to the ceiling – as a rule, it should be whitewashed, painted, or decorated with wooden slats. Nevertheless, there are more solutions – laminate, ceiling beams, and even multi-level stretch ceilings. The last option will be tackled in more detail a bit later.


Floor coverings for Eco-style interiors can be made of natural wood or cork, less often stone. At the same time, the painting of wooden surfaces should not be considered: the more open and natural the textures are, the better. Recently, laminate and porcelain tiles with imitation of natural materials have also been welcomed – especially in kitchens, hallways, and bathrooms, where wood can be put at serious risk.


We cannot say that any special, exclusive requirements are imposed on furniture for an eco-interior. Conciseness, restraint, calm and soft lines, lack of decor, monochrome soft upholstery of sofas and armchairs – all this is typical for furnishings in most interiors that are relevant today, including minimalism, Scandi, and even loft. However, eco still implies something interesting – for example, coffee tables with glass tops and a base made of wooden driftwood or hemp stools.

As for the furniture itself, it does not differ in saturation: ideally, in such an interior, there should be a minimum set of items that allow the room to fulfill its function. However, you can very well dilute this restraint with a simple wooden chest of drawers, a wicker rocking chair or a hanging model, and a cozy chaise lounge. Nevertheless, consoles, flower vases, accent tables, cupboards, and showcases are not to be found in Eco-style since they contradict the concept of maximum freedom and open space.


What connoisseurs of Eco-style would immediately say is a hard “no” to traditional chandeliers. In such an interior, they are replaced by ceiling lamps and pendants of discreet shapes and small sizes – most often made of glass, metal, willow vine, or fabric. You can also see floor lamps and sconces in a minimalist style and table lamps – on wooden or matte ceramic bases with fabric lampshades.

However, the active use of modern high-tech lighting systems – track lights, spotlights, and others – is of the greatest interest. In expensive and carefully thought-out interiors in the spirit of eco, diode lighting and hidden lighting lines are increasingly being used – this creates the effect of natural lighting and the feeling that the rays of the sun penetrate through the branches of trees (in this case, wood trim and plants).


The textiles in Eco-style are unobtrusive but quite organic and tangible. It is quite logical that natural materials are chosen, if possible, with a rough texture – linen, wool, matting, cotton. The design elements are as follows:

  • curtains made of natural fabrics in natural tones;
  • fabric rolls;
  • rugs or mats made of sisal or jute, less often low-pile woolen ones;
  • decorative sofa cushions (plain) and large-knit blankets.


There are practically no decorative elements in an Eco-style interior, in the classic sense of the word, and it would be strange if paintings in carved frames, luxurious mirrors, or porcelain figurines were seen in a design that recreates a piece of nature in a house or apartment. However, environmental friendliness also implies pleasant accent details.

The best decorations for such an interior are, of course, plants – live, strong and green, in tubs, planters and ceramic pots, climbing and tree-like, on the floor, walls, shelves, tables, and even on the ceiling. A fashionable accent has become a “living wall” trimmed with real moss or grass. The following types of decor are also appropriate:

  • handmade elements made of natural materials (wicker baskets, saw cut tables, etc.);
  • figurines (including abstract ones) made of wood and stone;
  • aquarium with fish;
  • small vases made of clear glass or white ceramics.

Eco style in various rooms

Eco-style is an addictive direction, and therefore, having implemented such a design in one of the rooms in your house or apartment, you will definitely want to decorate other rooms similarly. So, let’s find out how this can be put into practice.

Living room

Fashionable Eco-style living rooms have a very special atmosphere. They have so much greenery, natural texture, light, and tranquility, replicating a strong feeling of relaxation somewhere in nature – either in a garden gazebo or on a veranda. Wood is actively used in the decoration, the floor can be decorated with a board or cork, and there are often no curtains on the windows: preference is given to light wicker rolls or wooden blinds.

As for the environment, it is quite simple and unsaturated, but at the same time not without hedonism. Sofas and armchairs in the spirit of the Scandinavian style – large, comfortable, laconic restrained forms and upholstered in fabrics with matting texture of soft shades. There are often poufs, chaise lounges, and ottomans, creating that very relaxing environment. There is also not much decor, but you cannot go without it: take a closer look at thematic wooden panels and 3D panels, branch-shaped shelves, small vases made of glass and white ceramics.

A few words should also be said about the fireplace, which, in an eco-friendly interior, becomes a symbol of the primary source, the natural principle and the hearth around which our ancestors gathered. It is this concept that does not provide for a luxurious and catchy design of the portal: it should be an organic and slightly noticeable element. Today, in living rooms, you can often see ergonomic and, at the same time, mesmerizing with their simplicity, bio-fireplaces.


The design of the space for sleeping and relaxing is as close as possible to the concept of Eco-style. Modest in terms of decor yet a comfortable wooden bed, a couple of bedside tables, shelves on the wall, compact and dim lamps, a small rug or mat on the floor – this is quite enough for a cozy and relaxing environment. It is noteworthy that a monochrome palette works great in an eco-bedroom: you can paint the entire room in beige, light brown, or pale gray tones, and it will not be boring. Variety will provide textures of materials and accents in the form of indoor plants.

Dining room and kitchen

The interior of the Eco-style kitchen and dining area evokes such peace that you want to stay here as long as possible – even if you are already full or do not plan to reach new culinary heights.

This design requires very little furniture and accessories, although visual and physical comfort is mandatory. As a base, the safest materials and coatings are inspired, if possible, from natural materials or textures – of course, wood and stone (in extreme cases, porcelain stoneware) remain favorites.

As for the furniture, there is a rather laconic yet comfortable and cozy dining area with a table and chairs or armchairs, a work surface for cooking, and, if space allows, a kitchen island or a bar counter. Cabinets for eco-interiors, as a rule, are ergonomic, with dull and smooth wooden facades. However, they can also be replaced with simple open shelves. The decor is limited to live plants or a moss accent wall.


The design of an Eco-style hallway or hall is also extremely simple and does not imply cabinets, massive sets, or numerous shelves and drawers. If you strive for absolute authenticity, pay attention to wooden hooks in the form of branches or wooden logs instead of poufs, although the latter may well be replaced by a small sofa or rattan bench. It is also unnecessary to place plants in large numbers in the hallway: a palm tree or ficus is enough.


The design of an Eco-style bathroom presents certain difficulties in terms of stylistic purity. The fact is that wood is not suitable for finishing in rooms with high humidity, and if you are not lucky enough to get a spacious bathroom or there is no way to install the most efficient ventilation system, it can be a great letdown.

However, designers are increasingly offering quite worthy alternatives – first of all, natural or artificial stone or porcelain stoneware with natural wood texture. There is still room for nature-inspired units – in the form of shelves for bath accessories and cosmetics or cabinets under the sink. Speaking of the sink: a model in the form of a bowl would be an ideal solution, while vessel sinks and “tulip” options do not fit into such an environment.

Modern Eco-style

It would be somewhat strange to say that there is an “old” and “new” Eco-style in interior design – as we already know, it appeared about 30-35 years ago, which is not that long ago for any direction in interior design. However, it is still worth mentioning some very significant changes within the eco, which are acutely felt right now.

When this style was just gaining popularity, the issue of using natural materials was paramount. Wood, ceramics, stone, cane, rattan, bamboo, cork – those who wanted to design their home in accordance with sustainable trends needed more and more of them. The growing level of consumption has posed a completely different question for designers: what is more environmentally friendly – cutting down forests for interiors, or is it still the production of materials that save green resources?

Obviously, opinions are increasingly in favor of the second option. Extremely high requirements for the quality and safety of finishing materials imposed on manufacturers today, as well as the development of innovative technologies, make it possible to obtain absolutely non-toxic and durable options, which, moreover, will please with a natural texture. Let’s take a look at some examples.

  • Porcelain tiles. Today, finishing ceramics are recognized as some of the safest, most reliable and aesthetic materials. Flooring made of it is much more practical than a floorboard – although it can be almost identical to wood in terms of texture. No less interesting is porcelain stoneware with the texture of natural stone, which is also suitable for wall decoration – and besides, it will cost less than the natural material.
  • Composite. Composite materials also serve as a good substitute for natural stone and, at the same time, are much more affordable and are presented in a larger number of colors and texture solutions.
  • Stretch ceiling. Such designs (especially if complex and multi-level) became another decorative accent, especially when complex lighting systems are used. In Eco-style, they may well be appropriate, although fabric canvases should be considered.
  • Photo wallpapers and frescoes. Such wall decoration with images of realistic views and landscapes is the easiest and fastest way to put into practice the idea of merging with nature. And there is nothing false and unnatural about that if you approach the implementation of this idea deliberately and choose the ideal one for the environment in the room – and, frankly, an expensive option. It is not that affordable but worth its price: big brands are very serious about both the production process, quality, and the safety of materials for frescoes and photo wallpapers.

It is also worth mentioning the Scandinavian chairs made of safe and non-toxic plastic, furniture fabrics with natural textures, but not without special water-repellent impregnations and reinforcing threads, as well as lamps made of the same plastic – all this is also firmly integrated into Eco-style scenarios. Of course, no one will stop you from adhering to absolute naturalness, although reasonable consumption and respect for nature are much more in line with the very concept of sustainability, isn’t it?

Eco style: is it trendy now?

It probably doesn’t make sense to repeat this, but we cannot help but state it again: yes, Eco-style is one of the trendiest. And this is not surprising since urbanization has reached completely unimaginable limits, and the desire for unity with nature to achieve harmony with the world and with oneself is necessary for almost every one of us like a breath of fresh air.

Why should you try this style?

The classics are too pompous and respectable: Art Deco – deliberately elegant, chic, and expensive; Minimalism – a bit boring; Loft – harsh; Mid-century modern – overly eclectic; Farmhouse – naive. Vintage evokes a feeling of being stuck in the past. Hi-tech is too functional. Scandi is too simple. If all these thoughts came at least once to your mind, then you have no choice but to choose an Eco-style. Of course, this is a joke, perhaps not a very good one. However, if you really feel some confusion and are constantly searching for harmony, it is the Eco-style that will help you find balance, calmness, and peace.

Who is Eco-style suitable for?

Despite its apparent simplicity, eco is far from easy to implement. That is why designers recommend taking a closer look at it in the following cases:

  • You need peace and relaxation. Eco is a real solution for you if you work hard or often experience stress. This does not mean at all that this style will not suit you if you are absolutely satisfied with life. If you are in love with the very idea of being close to nature, such a harmonious environment will only strengthen your emotional background. However, if you lack positivity, green solutions are not just a friendly piece of advice but a strong recommendation.
  • You strive for exclusivity. One of the advantages of the Eco-style is its amazing variability: it is simply impossible to find two closely similar interiors in such a design. Feel free to use any materials and solutions you wish: your own perspective on this style will keep you on the safe side.
  • You have time to clean up. Most natural materials require careful handling and regular cleaning – and with special tools. Numerous plants, without which the Eco-style is not such complete, need attention and care. And all this together takes a decent amount of time and effort, so think about whether you have enough of it.
  • You are not a big fan of technical and electronic novelties. The most important feature of an eco-friendly interior is the almost complete concealment of any household appliances and electronics. Indispensable appliances should be hidden or carefully disguised: even the TV is covered with a wooden panel while it is not being watched. If this does not bother you, feel free to embody Eco-style in your interior.
  • You have enough funds. Eco-interior implies serious financial investments: natural materials are by no means cheap, just like built-in appliances. Of course, spending millions on it is optional, although cheap finishing, furniture, or decor will be very noticeable and bring serious chaos and discomfort to the stylistic unity.

Eco-style in different countries

People around the world are unanimous in their vision of merging with nature, so it cannot be said that Eco-style interiors have any significant differences in different countries – unless they are influenced by the climate, flora, and landscape. From this point of view, there are still certain nuances, so it seems interesting to us to study them a little deeper.

Great Britain

Despite the intolerance of eco to eclecticism, the British manage to flawlessly integrate traditional solutions into interiors in a similar style. The traditional sofas with plain upholstery, cozy armchairs on curved wooden legs, carpets with ornaments, and classic lamps (although without any gloss) work in perfect harmony with plants, with the calmness of light wood, and minimal decor.


There are two extremes in the implementation of eco-interiors in American homes. This is either absolute authenticity with the maximum possible use of natural materials to one hundred percent naturalism, or a kind of symbiosis characteristic of Eco-style in the UK. Moreover, the first one is much more exclusive thanks to very interesting decorative techniques – from wooden slabs to the use of cascades of climbing plants on wooden ceiling beams.


Oddly enough, Eco-style in France is not distinguished by an abundance of greenery – perhaps because there is enough of it even in large cities. Here they are fond of stone and porcelain stoneware with such a texture: in interiors, its ratio with wood is approximately 50 to 50.


The environmentally friendly environment in houses and apartments in Germany implies some subduedness, intimacy, and, at some level, mystery. This effect is achieved mainly due to subdued and dim, more often spotlighting and shading, provided by blinds or curtains on the windows. German psychologists explain this by the desire for security and the sense of being alone with yourself and dive deep into your thoughts and feelings.


The Scandinavian style is very closely related to the concept of sustainability, and therefore they are incredibly similar to eco. Imagine Scandi with a lot of wood, warm tones, green shades, and living plants – this is the Swedish interpretation of Eco.


Environmental friendliness is the very essence of traditional Japanese style, so you can safely put an equal sign between them. The differences are quite insignificant and concern only the presence of decor with national flavor in the case of the “pure” Japanese style – they may not be found in Eco.

The Eco-style interior promises to be an interesting adventure during which one is searching for security, tranquility, and complete unity with oneself and the outside world. The implementation of the eco-design in your home will allow you to join the whole philosophy of this style, where cleanliness, lightness, naturalness, and the most careful attitude towards nature and each other is of particular value.

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