This research explores some of the barriers that prevent sustainable interior design from becoming a part of common interior design practices. Sustainable interior design is a variant that is relatively new in the field of interior design. But, in recent years, sustainability has become more popular and has become a trending area of interest as concerns about the condition of our planet intensify. The barriers in the field can be categorized broadly into three main types: economic, institutional, and mental. After identifying and understanding these barriers to more wide-spread implementation of sustainable interior design practices and products, I discuss ways to expand the use of sustainable interior design practices and products. Drawing from the work of theorists James O’Connor’s on the second contradiction of capitalism, Weber’s moderation of the Marxist perspective, and Riley Dunlap’s New Ecological Paradigm, this paper looks to shed light on why these barriers still apply within the field. Research for this paper is carried out, in part, through content analysis of both a conventional interior design magazine as well as an interior design magazine focused on green design. As well, three interviews were conducted with interior designers in the US and abroad to get a better understanding of work occurring in the field and the barriers encountered to the adoption of sustainable interiors and practices. I found that the influence of these barriers is heavily dependent on an individual’s socio-economic status, their awareness of environmental issues and their appreciation for the interplay of interior design and sustainability. It is my hope that this study will contribute to understanding of the field of sustainable interior design and thereby help to speed its further adoption.


Mariola, Matthew


Sociology and Anthropology


Environmental Design

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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