Could the furniture and décor in your home be harming your health? Does it come from unsustainable sources and promote unethical production? If so, do you have any other options?
Yes, you do.
Eco-friendly design is a rapidly growing interior decorating trend. Not only does it make your space look fresh and natural, but it benefits the planet. This bandwagon trend can even improve your health.
If you’re planning an upcoming renovation or remodel, consider going green. Here are some eco-friendly design tips to guide you.
Did you know the chemicals in your home’s paint and cleaning products could cause liver damage? VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are chemicals found in all types of home materials.
When used outside, VOCs get diluted by the fresh air. But inside, they’re more concentrated and dangerous. Plus, VOCs evaporate at room temperature so you could be consistently inhaling them.
VOCs are also found in textiles, flooring, bedding, and upholstery. They can cause eye and throat irritation, headaches, and even cancer.
You can avoid the health hazards of VOCs in your home by looking for products without them. They’ll have labeling that says, “low odor” or "low VOC".
Most off-the-shelf carpets and textiles are synthetic. This means they’re slightly cheaper and need replacing more often.
Natural fibers, on the other hand, are more durable. The initial cost is sometimes more, but the long-term return on investment is worth it.
Plus, synthetic materials usually contain VOCs and petroleum-based materials. These products take up space in the landfill without biodegrading.
Instead, look for products made of wool, natural latex, cotton, and other natural fibers. This applies to everything from carpets to bedding to clothes.
If you buy a fabulous new area rug for your living room, make sure you maintain it. Natural fibers are durable if they’re taken care of.
Did you know that every piece of plastic ever created is still in existence? From the juice box straw you used as a child to the plastic binders you used in college. Plastic never biodegrades.
And, it’s full of nasty chemicals like VOCs and polyvinyl chloride.
When you buy décor pieces for your remodeled home, avoid plastic. Avoid anything synthetic, polyester, or chromed metals.
Instead, buy the same item you want in a natural material. For example, if you’re looking at a tray for the coffee table, choose sustainable bamboo or wood.
But, make sure the wood you buy is sustainably sourced. Many wood producers use unethical logging processes and harm the environment. You’ll know the wood is sustainable if it has a Forest Stewardship Council stamp.
Consider the shipping and transportation costs of buying interior design materials. Bamboo shipped from China causes an extensive amount of carbon to get to America.
Buying locally-sourced products reduces the demand for products with a large carbon impact.
What kinds of products does your state produce? What are the production methods? How do they affect the environment?
These are all things to consider when buying things for your home. Sure, it’s easier to buy something online and have it shipped to you. But, the health and sustainability consequences of doing so could be harmful.
It’s better to re-use wasteful materials than throw them into the landfills. If you have to buy something new, opt for an eco-friendly option.
But, when possible, buy secondhand and recycled materials.
You can find building materials, flooring, tiles, and wood at Habitat for Humanity. Check Craigslist for listings of the materials you need. Often, other homeowners buy too much and need to sell the excess.
Flea markets are another great place to find up-cycled materials. Some sellers re-purpose old materials into new statement pieces. Keep an eye out for art made of re-purposed materials.
Also called “green walls” and “living walls”, vertical gardens add earthy ambiance to your home. The houseplant trend doesn’t have to stop with pots. Vertical gardens partially or entirely cover an indoor wall.
Living walls help purify the air in your home and help control the temperature. For many, they help to reduce anxiety and stress.
Plus, they look really cool. It’s bringing the outdoors in, but on a whole different level.
To get one of these in your home, you may need an expert to help install it. Consider the climate of where you live and what plants grow natively there. These plants are your best bet for easy growing.
Some homes use moss, others a mix of vines and leafy plants. The wall should have an irrigation system installed for easy watering. Also, consider how much direct and indirect sunlight the wall gets.
The goal of most homeowners is to reduce their energy costs and utility bills. You can do this by focusing on emphasizing the natural light your space gets.
If you’re doing an entire remodel, install large floor to ceiling windows. Consider making an entire wall of your home glass folding doors. Skylights also bring in lots of light.
Of course, if you live in a cold climate, you also need proper window coverings. You don’t want to lose heat through the glass. Opt for thicker paned glass and insulating curtains or blinds.
When you do need to use artificial lights, use LED light bulbs in them. Over time, LED bulbs save you energy and money.
Natural light makes every space look fresher and more vibrant. If you can, avoid blocking windows with furniture and sheer curtains.
Making your home eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing isn’t easy. That’s why professionals like Stephanie Kratz dedicate their careers to making your home green and luxurious.
You don’t have to sacrifice elegance and luxury to make your home more natural. Just check out the eco-friendly design tips above for proof.
If you’re interested in making your upcoming redesign eco-friendly, contact us. We can transform your home from wasteful and unhealthy to fresh, sophisticated, and green.
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While your kids are heading back to school to learn their ABCs and 123s, get back to your basics on interior design. The basics for interior design are most likely incorporated into your home without you even realizing it! Now class, let’s review!