Everyone thinks of home when they consider interior design, but don’t you want your home office to reflect your style and commitment to your values too? My approach is to create a harmonious space where you can spend your hectic workday; it not only creates the right impression for colleagues and clients, but it also gives you more satisfaction and appreciation of the hours you spend there.
As an interior designer and animal lover, I recently made a decision to design spaces that are cruelty-free (vegan). I no longer use any items made with animal skins, fur or feathers. Vegan furnishings are fabulous, less expensive and save animals. Humane furniture is such a positive element to bring into a space because none of the decor is a result of cruelty or death. It’s a win-win all the way around.
I believe an office space can be everything a home space should be, and that humane design doesn’t have to end when you pull out of the driveway. It’s just as important to take time to consider your commitment to compassion in your 9-to-5 work life.
When you’re ready to begin, there are a few likely places to start if you’ want to take a more humane approach to your office environment. You may be sitting in one of them right now!
Office seating is big business, about 25 billion a year.. much of that is spent on leather, feather, and hide products that are part of the seating design. That’s no way to run an empire. You make all the decisions that will drive your success from this one seat, but the comfort of the executive chair doesn’t have to come at the expense of animals sacrificed to upholster it.
There are many alternatives to leather that can provide a long-wearing, comfortable and stylish place from which to run your business. They don’t have to be stuffy, either. One company, Herman Miller, creates amazingly comfortable and beautiful chairs using animal-friendly materials that give your space a sleek, European feel.
Check out humane alternatives such as faux leather, microfiber and plant-based fabrics. Be sure the fill in your chair is vegan-friendly as well. Compassionate design runs more than just skindeep.
Your desk set – blotter, pen cup, portfolio and other accessories – may not hit the mark when it comes to humane treatment of animals. Many upscale looks are available for your desk, with no injury to animals involved. Opt for faux alternatives to outfit your work station and use recycled or sustainable materials where you can. A few small changes can make a big impact on the lives around you.
Sit down to close the deal in comfort and compassion. Wool, down, silk and other animal products can be replaced with luxurious and humane options. Take a survey of your office space and the furnishings, either as part of a total redesign or as part of an easy Pick Five approach to slowly make your work area a more compassionate space. Begin with a list of five things you can change.
Bag your leather case. It’s a symbol of industry, but it doesn’t have to be a symbol of pain or inequality. Going to a non-leather alternative for your working bag is easy: Many affordable, durable and helpful options exist that will help all your stuff get where you’re going without harming an animal to accomplish it.
Check out other ways to create a harmonious workplace design here.
Deborah Rosenberg is a leader in vegan, cruelty-free design. She is the founder of the ultra-luxury design firm Dimare Design based in Miami, Florida. Her projects are national and global. Deborah is a PETA advocate, has been a featured designer on TLC and has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show. She lectures and writes articles on humane design and design therapy.