Are you redecorating your house and wondering how you can give the space a new look with an environmentally friendly design? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Below are a few tips and tricks on how you can create the “green” design you’re looking for.
Repurpose Pre-Owned Furniture
The first way you can create an eco-friendly design is by repurposing old furniture instead of buying it brand-new. For instance, you can find incredible pieces at thrift stores, garage sales, and even online at significantly lower prices than new furniture.
In particular, repurposing this “pre-owned” furniture helps the environment by reducing the amount of trash contributed to landfills. According to the EPA, 9.8 million tons of household furniture is thrown out each year. Much of this furniture is still usable; it’s just that most people throw away their furniture when they’re updating the design of their home.
Now, you might be wondering how you can have a stylish, cohesive design when you’re using other people’s trash. After all, you’re a lot less likely to find pristine pieces, let alone a matching set, if you’re thrift store shopping.
Well, there a couple of ways you can turn old junk into gorgeous gems. First, you can give wooden furniture a face-lift by refinishing it. It’s actually a very simple process and you can find the instructions here. Another way you can update old furniture is by reupholstering it. Reupholstering is a little harder to do yourself, but it is possible. You can find the instructions here.
Use 100% Natural Materials
While you can save tons of money by repurposing pre-owned furniture, there are some elements of your design that you might want to buy new. For example, you probably want to buy a luxurious new set of sheets and a gorgeous comforter if you are decorating a master bedroom. Since the bed is a major focal point in this room, beautiful bedding goes a long way in making your design dreams a reality.
However, you don’t have to sacrifice your environmental ideals when you buy brand-new items. If you do want something new, choose 100% natural materials. Natural products protect the environment because they avoid the use of pesticides and other harsh chemicals in their production. By choosing an product over a synthetic one, you are supporting an industry that refuses to pollute the earth.
To see how exactly products reduce pollution, let’s go back to our example of buying bedding for a master bedroom. If you want to buy a 100% natural bed set, then choose king size bamboo sheets and a bamboo comforter.
Premium bamboo bedding gives you all the luxury and elegance you’re looking for in your décor while still being a green option. Bamboo is naturally resistant to bacteria and fungus so it is never treated with pesticides. Moreover, this bedding is never treated with harsh chemicals so these chemicals never leach into the environment. If you want to learn more about how the production of bamboo bedding is eco-friendly, read What is Bamboo Viscose?
The one downside to buying natural materials is that they tend to be expensive. While products tend to cost more initially, they are usually a much higher quality than their cheaper, synthetic counterparts.
For instance, 100% bamboo sheets are extraordinarily durable in addition to being luxurious. Traditional sheets only last a year or two, while bamboo can last up to 15 years if cared for properly. This means you will actually spend less on bamboo sheets in the long-run because you won’t be replacing them year after year.
Reduce Energy Consumption
In addition to using eco-friendly materials, consider how your overall design affects the environment. In particular, how does your design reduce your home’s energy consumption?
Most designs can reduce energy consumption simply by combining aesthetics with functionality. For example, thick curtains and seasonal rugs are great at insulating heat. By keeping the heat trapped inside your house, your air conditioning system doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your home warm. By reducing the burden on your air conditioning system, you decrease your energy consumption, and as an added bonus, lower your heating bill.
Now that you know how thick curtains and carpets reduce energy consumption, let’s look at how you can use these items most effectively so you can make sure your décor is eco-friendly.
As you read above, thick curtains are perfect for insulating heat. All you have to do is close your drapes at night to prevent heat from escaping! Yet, many designers opt for fixed curtains, or in other words curtains that don’t actually close. The fabric just remains fixed on either side of the window so the space looks perfect 24/7.
These designers are missing such an easy opportunity to conserve energy that it’s almost laughable. Who really needs a room to look perfect when everyone in the house is asleep anyway? Instead, use curtains that are both thick and functional to prevent heat from escaping, increase privacy, and give your design a rich, majestic feel.
Seasonal rugs are also a great way to reduce the burden on your air conditioning. If you have a rug covering your floors in the winter, you can prevent heat from escaping and your house stays warm and cozy. This is especially important if you have hardwood floors. In the summer, clear your floors and store your rug in a closet so heat can easily escape. By letting the heat naturally escape, your home stays cooler and feels light and airy. Moreover, incorporating seasonal rugs can keep your design looking fresh and new since the room is always changing.
In summary, environmentally friendly interior design not only helps the earth, but also saves you money. First, buying pre-owned furniture reduces waste in landfills and is significantly cheaper than buying new furniture. Second, investing in high-quality, natural materials can save you money over time. Third and finally, factoring in long-term energy consumption into your design lowers your heating costs. If you can save money and save the earth, why wouldn’t you design with the environment in mind?