5 Places to Shop Sustainable Interiors

Jasmine Hemsley shares her top tips for furnishing your home sustainably.  When it comes to decorating my home sustainably, my first reflex is to thrift for secondhand treasures. Not only are these pieces unique and so exciting (you never know what you might stumble upon!), but it’s also a more eco-friendly option than buying new every time something needs replacing or isn’t “sparking joy” for you anymore. It goes both ways, too: make sure to sell, donate, upcycle or recycle when you’re ready to part with older furniture or objects. If you’re secondhand shopping online, check out places like local Facebook groups, Spock, Gumtree, Preloved and their Freeloved section, eBay, etc. — you’ll find an abundance of furniture, ornaments and trinkets just waiting for you to give them a loving home while simultaneously taking away the stigma surrounding secondhand and saving these pieces from landfill. Meanwhile, I thought I’d share some of my favourite real-life shops and markets, as well as online brands that you can head to the next time you fancy a bit of a shop.

1. Royal Trinity Hospice

I love the Royal Trinity Hospice charity shops for many reasons, not least for their standalone furniture and homeware outlets across London, as well as your usual clothing and trinket shops. These guys are doing a great job of curating secondhand high street pieces (and the odd magic designer find) into a boutique-style experience that fits right into the chicest high street offering — check out the Notting Hill branch for a little addition to your wardrobe and the Putney location for something to update your interiors. Of course it helps that every purchase goes towards supporting people with progressive, life-limiting illnesses including those affected by dementia — remember if you’re a taxpayer and a regular charity shopper, you might want to consider signing up for Gift Aid, so the charity can claim more money from your donation and you get a small tax relief too.

2. Crystal Palace Antiques Market

I’m not a football fan but I do have a few very good reasons to make the trip to Crystal Palace in South London. Not only is this area such a lovely collection of coffee stops and independent retail shops, plus one of my all-time favourite farmers’ markets on a Saturday, the Crystal Palace Antiques Market has become my new mecca now that I’ve moved into this part of outer London. A jaw-dropping collection of antique, modern and vintage items for your home spread over four floors, I’ve enjoyed getting to know the local dealers, and this is where my bedroom sideboard, huge ‘70s orange ball light and office chairs came from. Hot tip: don’t be afraid to barter!

3. Battersea Boot

Few words titillate me more than the word “carboot.” You either get me or you don’t, but if you don’t then let me try and persuade you… A perfect Sunday afternoon for me involves a bit of nature and a lot of pootling, so after a lazy Sunday morning, a great brunch and a walk in the park with my dogs, I’m off to Battersea Boot, which, unlike other carboots, starts at the more sociable hour of 1:30 p.m. for only a 50p entry, or you can pay £5 to get absolute first dibs at 11:30 when sellers get started — or £3 any time in between. You can find all sorts of items, from shabby-chic vintage to priceless antiques — I have never come away disappointed and it’s just lovely being outside. You have to be willing to fight through the crowd, but that just adds to the buzz and if you’ve got a good idea of what you’re looking for, then absolutely pay the fiver. I’ve walked out with a marble lampstand, a huge handmade ceramic salad bowl, a ‘70s footstool, and some gold earrings all for less than £25. Oh, and one of my favourite dresses for £1.50. Let’s just say it’s worth it.

4. One Nine Eight Five

Back to beautifully designed homewares, my latest find, UK-based online shop One Nine Eight Five is dedicated to creating beautiful soft furnishings using materials that are as sustainable as possible. From wall art to fabric pouches to carry your keepsakes in, they specialise in super colourful prints and textiles, playful use of bold colours, combinations and patterns, and work with recycled fabrics that become works of art in your home, brightening up your space while supporting British manufacturing and craftsmanship in an ethical way. Think abstract prints and printed velvet cushions and woven blankets. I’ve got my eye on a fringed wall hanging and oh, oh… I’ve just spotted that they reupholster vintage furniture in their fabrics!

5. Nkuku

I can’t stop peeking at this website. Nkuku’s collection of unique objects and furniture are handmade by artisans around the world following ethical and sustainable practices. You can shop Nkuku online or visit their gorgeous shop and café in Totnes, Devon, near where Nick’s mum and our best friends live, so we have an excuse to pop in a couple of times a year. This is the kind of shop that can make your home instantly cosier with woven baskets and lampshades, Indian antique mirrors and tables, printed crockery and unusual festive accessories, all made from natural materials. I splurged on a beautiful wire work mandala for my living room wall and my family photos are encased in Nkuku’s simple brass and zinc frames. Their wooden chopping boards and gift selection make it a great place to shop for others, and their hanging planters are my top tip for bringing nature into your home.

For more interiors inspiration, see our list of ethical homeware brands you need to know and our guide to ethical bedding.

Keep your home sparkling clean with our favourite eco-friendly cleaning products.

Inspired? Browse our full catalogue of recommended brands.