With the majority of us spending more time at home, the UK has seen an increase in people looking to give their home a makeover and create useable, multi-purpose spaces. Whether it’s designing a dining room come playroom come office space, or getting that Zoom background just right, our interior design needs have changed dramatically this year. Read on to get the lowdown on how the pandemic has changed British interior design priorities in 2020...
The rise in ‘grounding’ design trends
It’s not just the physical design requirements that seem to have changed as a result of the pandemic; our need for more natural and grounding materials is growing in popularity as we become more environmentally conscious. This compliments several trends we see at the moment, including ‘Biophilia’ which focuses on a ‘human-centred’ approach to living and prioritises wellbeing, down-time, and natural materials.
‘Cottagecore’ is another trend that has grown in demand this year. The aesthetic celebrates the joy of a simple, self-sufficient, rural life, with a return to traditional skills and crafts. It taps into a desire to be at one with nature, and to live in a world outside of the one currently inhabited, with eco-friendly elements that reflect our need for calm.
The eco-conscious consumer
With these trends in mind, many of us are also taking more care to find out the provenance of where products are sourced from, as well as their environmental impact. When it comes to flooring there has often been the misunderstanding that wood is not a particularly ‘green’ however, hardwood flooring can be sustainable and much kinder to the environment than first thought.
One of the most sustainable woods is oak. With UK forest management and protection programs regularly replanting oak trees in woodland areas, it has one of the smallest carbon footprints of all woods and releases fewer toxic emissions during the manufacturing process than other options.
The FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) makes it easy for you to ensure you are purchasing from an environmentally conscious company and that their products are sustainable. The FSC® sets the strongest available standard for new wood globally, guaranteeing that timber has been sourced ethically from well-managed forests.
With the pandemic having an impact on many local, family businesses, there is also new drive to support and appreciate British manufacturers. Manufacturing is an integral industry, in 2019 – 2020 the sector’s annual output accounted for £192bn to the UK’s economy, demonstrating how vital manufacturing is in supporting Britain’s financial recovery.*
We are committed to constructing all of our products sustainably. By producing a selection of solid wood floors and flooring accessories at our own mill in Chirk, North Wales, we are cutting the emissions that are caused from transporting goods from mills to warehouses to consumers. We are also extremely proud of our ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems certification, which demonstrates that we strive to minimise our environmental impact as a business.
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Manufacturer and supplier of premium hardwood flooring, Atkinson & Kirby, has relocated its headquarters to Chirk, North Wales, joining the company’s existing onsite manufacturing and distribution facility. As part of the ongoing development of the company, Atkinson & Kirby has relocated its office headquarters to join its existing manufacturing and distribution facility in Chirk. The move will improve both the service and quality of products by having all staff in one location, unifying working relationships between all departments, from marketing to distribution, as well as improving efficiency, customer service and delivery. Atkinson & Kirby still retains its office and distribution in Livingston. Tradition is an integral part of Atkinson & Kirby and the company is proud to remain one of a few British manufacturers of hardwood flooring, with a selection of solid flooring being produced in its Chirk mill. Tony Miles, CEO of Atkinson & Kirby, comments: “The consolidation of all offices to Chirk is a big move and demonstrates just how serious we are about British manufacturing and sustainability. “We are FSC® certified and take pride in the quality of wood we supply, with rigorous inspections at various stages of production, making sure the wood is always from a sustainable source. “We are a family business and above all, excellent quality and customer service are our priority. The move is already proving successful, with a unified workforce, improved communication and efficiency.READ ARTICLE
When picking out new flooring, many people overlook the toxic chemicals that some flooring types can emit into the home. Young children and pets can be especially susceptible to these toxins which is why it’s important to choose a floor that is as natural as possible and free from any toxic chemicals that can contribute to indoor air pollution. Use this as your guide to non-toxic flooring. Carpet Carpet has traditionally been a popular choice of flooring, however as we become more aware of the health risks associated with carpet flooring people are searching for more natural options. There are many areas in which toxic chemicals could be used within carpet, including the dye used to colour the carpet, adhesives used to bind carpet fibres, and the chemicals used to create resistance to stains. New carpet installation is a large contributor to indoor pollution, a recent EU study identified over 59 hazardous substances found in carpets. Carpets hold these chemicals for months, if not years, but fear not, if you are set on choosing carpet or a rug for your home, place the rug outdoors or a well ventilated area for at least a week, as the first few weeks are when the carpet expels the most toxic fumes. Hardwood Flooring There are two types of hardwood flooring, solid or engineered. When installing hardwood floors the most common option is to glue the floor down. There are many safe, non-toxic glue options that you can use, speak to your installer about sourcing a non-toxic glue. Alternatively, flooring profile options have advanced including 5G click, which simply clicks together allowing you to ‘float’ the floor, without requiring glue. Solid Hardwood Solid hardwood flooring is considered the safest and least toxic option as it’s completely natural and free from any toxins. Solid hardwood floors are made of planks milled from a single piece of timber. It has many advantages, including its durability, with proper maintenance and care, solid wood flooring can last a lifetime. For an even more eco-friendly option, choose 100% FSC certified wood floors, as the timber used to produce the floor comes from legal sustainable sources. However, as solid hardwood floors are 100% wood they can’t be used in moist areas, including bathrooms and basements. Engineered Hardwood Engineered hardwood flooring has low toxicity and similar advantages to solid hardwood flooring, but it can also be used with underfloor heating. Engineered flooring is made from multiple layers of wood for extra stability. Laminate Laminate flooring mimics hardwood, but instead uses synthetic wood. Unfortunately, due to the toxins and chemicals in the bonding adhesives, laminate isn’t the safest option for non-toxic flooring. Ceramic Tile Ceramic tile is also another safe option, as the tiles are usually made from non-toxic materials. However, as tiles require a thinset mortar for the tiles to adhere to, as well as grout to fill the spaces between each tile. While, the tiles themselves do not contain these chemicals, it is possible that these products do. In Summary When choosing your flooring opt for the most natural materials and products for a non-toxic home that is safe for pets and children. Atkinson & Kirby is committed to supplying non-toxic hardwood flooring, with solid hardwood floors being manufactured at our mill in Britain. All of our hardwood floors are FSC® and PEFC® meaning you can be sure the timber was sourced from sustainable forests. View our solid hardwood floors or engineered hardwood floors. If you would like to order a sample, or speak to one of our experienced customer service team, contact us here.READ ARTICLE