7 ways to channel Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's eco-friendly interiors style
From LED bulbs to vegan paint – take your sustainable decor cues from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s ‘green’ Frogmore Cottage
Do you want to live like a royal? Don’t worry, you don’t need to relocate to a palace. Thanks to the UK’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the hottest trend in interiors is environmental sustainability.
The couple, who are expecting their first baby, will soon move into Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate in Berkshire. Getting the 10-bedroom, Grade II-listed property ready for them will cost about £3 million (Dh14.5m), with the interior decor designed by Vicky Charles, whose other clients include the Beckhams and the Clooneys.
Several details have emerged about the eco choices Harry and Meghan have made for their new home. So, if you want to follow in their low-carbon footsteps and create a place to live that is good for you, your family and the environment, read on for some simple ideas.
Choosing the right paint is no longer a simple case of deciding on your favourite shade. Harry and Meghan have gone with an organic, non-toxic, vegan paint for the nursery at Frogmore Cottage, choosing the Auro range from The Organic & Natural Paint Co.
If you’re looking for a paint that’s green in essence, rather than colour, the main thing is to avoid volatile organic compounds. These leach out of the walls well after the paint has dried and can cause serious health problems, with the World Health Organisation saying that professional decorators are 40 per cent more likely to get lung cancer. The best option is to go for paints that are plant and water-based.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have also installed a top-of-the-range green energy unit to provide their heating, electricity and hot water. While not everyone can afford one, you can make changes around the house that reduce your energy usage – such as ensuring your lights are turned off when you don’t need them and to swapping traditional light bulbs for LED ones.
Candles are another effective way of lighting up your interior. We know from Meghan’s old Instagram account – which regularly featured pictures of her former home in Toronto – that the Duchess of Sussex is a big fan of candles. So it’s likely she’ll be buying some from Philippa Craddock, the florist who did the couple’s wedding flowers, and who has launched a range of 100 per cent natural, hand-poured candles. Many traditional candles are made from paraffin wax and scented with synthetic fragrances. A 2001 report by the Environmental Protection Agency found that when they burn, they release chemicals that can be as bad for you as second-hand smoke, and they are also not great for the environment. If you’re a candle fan, go for those made from non-toxic materials such as soy, plant or beeswax, and that are scented with coconut or essential oils.
Clean and green
Next, look to green cleaning products. OK, so it’s unlikely that Harry and Meghan will do their own cleaning, but they may well insist that their cleaners use environmentally friendly products at Frogmore Cottage. After all, it’s not only good for the planet, but it’s also beneficial for them and their future children. There are a number of products on the market, but you can also make your own quite simply. For example, combining a quarter cup of white vinegar, one tablespoon of corn starch and two cups of water makes a great window cleaner. And adding lemon oil to water is enough to create a simple but effective furniture polish.
Decorate with plants
Also given the prolific use of flowers and greenery at their wedding, it seems safe to assume the couple like plants. Which means they’ll probably bring them into their home, as well as the extensive grounds surrounding Frogmore Cottage. Plants make brilliant home accessories and not only because they look so good; many of them actually clean the air around us.
Choose varieties such as spider plants, or peace lilies and bamboo palm. As an added bonus, being around foliage and nature in general is great for our well-being, a phenomenon called biophilia.
Recycle and upcycle
Another way to utilise what you already have is to upcycle. Waste is a huge problem all over the world – landfill sites are crammed; the sea is full of plastic; and animals are dying because of it. We need to do something about it now unless we want to leave future generations with a serious problem on their hands. There are many things we can do to help around the home: reduce your use of plastic; recycle everything you can; and think about what you can upcycle. If you’re in need of ideas, Pinterest is your friend. Search “upcycle” and you’ll discover thousands upon thousands of suggestions, from fire bricks made of old newspapers to bedspreads stitched from discarded pairs of denim jeans.
Finally, buy carefully. You don’t need to be a minimalist to ask yourself: “Do I really need this?” before pulling out your wallet. Or, “Do I have something already that I can use instead?” If you’re replacing something, find out if it can be fixed. Sofas and chairs can be reupholstered, for example, rather than replaced. By being more thoughtful about items you do purchase, too, you can further improve your green credentials.
Also think about what the item you’re buying is made of. For example, if you’re buying wooden furniture, is it made from sustainably grown or recycled wood? How far has it travelled to get to you? Is it of a good quality or will it break and end up in a landfill soon, forcing you to buy a replacement?
By taking the time to think that bit more carefully about your home and its eco credentials, and making small positive choices, you too could have a home fit for modern-day royalty.
Published: March 28, 2019 01:46 PM