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Vegan interior design: 4 tips for buying cruelty-free furniture.

If you've been vegan for some time, or have recently started following this lifestyle, no doubt you're begun looking to adjust various aspects of your life to be cruelty-free. But, what about your home décor? Here, Matt Deighton from Sofas by Saxon shares his tips for transitioning to vegan furniture.

The number of vegans is rapidly growing, with a record high of over 400,000 people signing up to take part in Veganuary in 2020 compared to 250,000 in 2019 (Vegan Society). If you've decided to stick with veganism past January, or have been following this lifestyle for some time now, you're no doubt looking for ways you can omit cruelty to animals from your daily life.

While you may have already begun switching to a plant-based diet, there are many other areas of you can adapt to help you live a kinder and more sustainable life. One of the most popular interior trends for 2019 was vegan décor, as reported by Houzz, and it seems that this is set to grow alongside the rise in the number of vegans.

If you're looking to make your home a more ethical space, you're in luck! Here, I will be sharing my top tips for transitioning to cruelty-free furniture.

Check out the company's eco-credentials before you buy from any company, it's important to look intotheir beliefs and attitudes towards animals and the environment as a whole. Ensuring that they seek to preserve animal life and their habitats will be important to any vegan.

For example, keep an eye out for furniture that is marked as being made from 100% recycled materials. These will reduce the need for harmful manufacturing processes to take place again, meaning there will be fewer pollutants released into the air and water. This, in turn, means that animals' habitats are safer to live in, which will match up with your vegan lifestyle.

If you're set on buying new furniture for your home, look out for materials that have been made responsibly. For example, buying forest-friendly wood that has met legal and environmental standards will ensure the new pieces you purchase for your home are helping to preserve animal habitats and their welfare.

Switch to vegan or faux leather
If you love the look of your leather sofas, but want to switch them for cruelty-free versions, you'll be pleased to hear that many furniture manufacturers now offer faux leather alternatives.

These are typically made from natural materials such as cork, glazed or waxed cotton, or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), so avoid using animal skins to make the finished product. As well as looking great, the PVC coating of these materials means they have a texture very similar to real leather. To find out more about shopping for cruelty-free leather, check out our guide to faux leather.

Choose natural fabrics
If the leather look isn't for you, it's worth knowing that some of the fabrics you currently have in your home may not be as friendly to animals as you might have hoped. For example, silk, cashmere, and feathers and down can all have their impact on animals and insects, so it's worth looking for others that'll match your lifestyle more closely.

As well as helping to reduce the demand for synthetic materials that can be made in a way that's harmful to the environment, the manufacturing of these materials shouldn't require any toxic chemicals like petroleum that may be used in manmade fabrics.

So, if it's time to replace your fabric sofa or chairs, consider looking for linen, raw cotton, or velveteen, which will ensure your interiors still look great, but are more ethical.

Buy British
While fighting animal-cruelty may have been the main trigger for your vegan lifestyle, you might also be concerned with the health of our planet. This means, as well as thinking about what your furniture is made of, you'll also need to consider where your purchases are coming from, and how theirdelivery may affect the environment.

This is particularly important given that 72% of all global transport emissions come from road transport, and there was an 80% rise from 1970–2010 (World Resources Institute). Add planes, trains, and other forms of transport into the mix when you buy furniture from overseas, and it becomes clear that we all need to be thinking more consciously about where we are buying from.

While buying British can help to cut down on your carbon emissions, it can also help to strengthen and support the UK economy. Plus, communication between yourself and the UK company you buy from is likely to be easier than with overseas companies who are on a different time zone.

Take your vegan lifestyle to the next level by transitioning to cruelty-free furniture. By checking business's values, buying British, and choosing sustainable materials, your home will perfectly match up with your beliefs.