If you want to incorporate some environmentally friendly practices into your home life, but think it costs too much, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out how easy, and affordable, going green can be. Whether reusing everyday household objects or choosing more sustainable products, it’s never been so simple — or so easy on your wallet — to decorate your home in a way that feels and looks good. Read on for a roundup of eight easy-to-incorporate, eco-friendly decorating ideas you can try at home.
Low-Voc, Non-Toxic Paints
Sadly, those new home smells so many people like are actually toxic. Many paints contain volatile organic compounds (nasty chemicals) that can be absorbed into the skin or inhaled, and can create health issues as a result. Protect your family by choosing to colour your home with low-voc primers and paints instead.
Eco-Friendly Flooring Options
When researching home and land packages, you can also consider eco-friendly flooring choices in your home’s design. Think long-term and look at sustainable flooring options instead of traditional formaldehyde gas-producing carpets or hardwood flooring made from virgin timbers. More environmentally friendly choices include bamboo, cork, polished concrete, carpet made from recycled materials or rubber flooring produced from used tires. If you do choose to purchase new hardwood flooring, opt for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified products to ensure responsible harvesting practices have been used.
Recycled furnishings not only save trees, but can also add a special touch to your home décor. The warmth of lovingly refurbished furniture or the memories invoked by pieces passed down through generations is something not to be overlooked. Old or ugly pieces of furniture can usually be quickly and easily transformed by sanding and repainting, polishing or adding some new knobs or feet.
Source cleverly designed home solar power décor items for your home and you’ll not only be helping the environment, but also saving on your power bills. Rather than relying on batteries for their power source, solar-powered products make use of the sun’s energy by converting sunlight into electricity. It’s easy to find an array of funky solar choices these days, from solar-powered wall clocks, lamps and alarm clocks to garden lights, water fountains and decorative string lights.
Sustainably Sourced Timber
You can help tackle the issue of deforestation — the second-largest source of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions — by choosing timber products made from wood that is sourced from sustainably managed forests. In these areas, trees are replanted at least at the same rate as they are felled, and many well-managed forests actually store more carbon than those not harvested.
By purchasing furniture items or home accessories made from recycled materials, you can help reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill every year. “Upcycled” products — those made from previously used materials that are turned into something new and creative — lend some individuality to your home décor, as they’re usually one-off or limited-edition pieces with their own special history. Look for items made from recycled steel, timber, paper, vinyl, china and more.
Another easy yet affordable way to go green with your home décor is to source accessories made from eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, hemp and bamboo. Organically grown cotton is better for you, your family and the environment as it contains no nasty pesticides or fertilisers in its fibres. Super fast-growing hemp and bamboo are also better for the planet as they can be replaced by new plants more quickly than a new tree can grow. They also require far fewer chemicals than traditional cotton, meaning less environmental damage to the Earth’s soil, air and water.
While the most eco-friendly way to light your home is by making use of as much natural light as possible, another option is to purchase either LED or compact fluorescent lights, which might cost more to buy at first but use a lot less electricity and last longer than the old incandescent globes.
As you can see, eco-friendly interiors and a tight budget can coexist. Whatever items you’re looking for when decorating your home, rest assured that it’s easier than ever to create a safe and more sustainable home environment for your family, while at the same time reducing the impact you have on the Earth.
About the Author: Sylvie Redmund is a blogger and lifestyle writer with a passion for interior design, travel and films. She loves to keep up to date with the latest decor trends and can regularly be found “researching” with a cup of tea and her favourite magazines on hand!