How To Stay Eco-Conscious When Redecorating
Fall is the perfect time to clean and redecorate before the holidays arrive. Few things are more thrilling than updating your home to match your style. The first thing you’ll want to do before you redecorate any room is to get rid of clutter and re-organize. You’ll be surprised at how different a room will look when you remove all of the unnecessary tidbits, and it will give you a much better canvas to work with when you redecorate. There are lots of ways to maintain a healthy home, but one that’s gaining a lot of steam recently is to be green and eco-conscious. If you’re thinking of jumping on the environmentally-friendly bandwagon. here are several ways to “think green” when you revamp your home:
A fresh coat of paint can really turn a room around, but there are a few things to consider when re-painting. First, remember that dark, heavy colors will soak up natural light, requiring you to use more energy heating and lighting your home. If you find a dark color you love, only use it for trim or an accent wall. Try to find paint that doesn’t contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds,) fungicides, or chemical pigments. You can also consider asking your local home or hardware store if they have “Oops” paint. Sometimes they mess up when mixing colors for customers, and they’ll save these colors and sell them at a discount in hopes they won’t have to throw them away. If you’re patient enough to drop by every week for a few months until you can pull together the right colors, you may just be able to repaint your entire home with little cash while also reducing waste.
One thing people often forget when re-decorating is lighting. Yeah, a new lamp shade or two can change up the decor, but the placement and quality of lighting can make or break the appeal and usability of a room. Remember that having smaller lamps lower down on tables is good for reading or manual projects (like knitting) that one does while sitting down, while above eye-level lighting is ideal for any space you want to host social gatherings.
Many living rooms do not come with ceiling lighting, so if you’re not a fan of floor lamps, consider installing some. There are plenty of stylish options, and adding a ceiling fan into the mix can also reduce energy costs year-round. Just remember to always use an energy-efficient option like compact fluorescents (CFLs,) and don’t buy into the myth that they are bad for the environment because they contain mercury. Using CFLs actually puts less mercury into the atmosphere because they utilize way less energy than traditional light bulbs.
Lastly, don’t forget to flip that switch whenever you’re not using a room!
Sometimes new towels, bedding, or curtains are all you need to breathe new life into a room. There are so many eco-friendly options, from bamboo sheets and bedspreads, to organic cotton towels, to sustainably harvested hemp window treatments, there are a menagerie of options that will fit your style and make you feel good about the environment.
Getting new window treatments is a quick and inexpensive way to update any room. The right look can even completely transform a space. If you’re in the market for new window coverings as part of your redecorating, keep in mind that they can have a huge impact on how much energy you use when heating and cooling your home. Thermal curtains are a simple way to block out light when you’re trying to keep cool, and keep all the heat in when you want to stay warm and bright.
Furniture can very easily get expensive, especially when it comes to being green. While there are several companies out there that utilize sustainable or recycled materials or maintain environmentally sound manufacturing practices, one of the greenest ways to refurnish is to find old or recycled furniture. Local antique and thrift stores often have great deals, and if your budget is very small, garage sales or Craigslist may have just what you are looking for. Sometimes you can find interesting things that are still in great shape. Other times it may be a great piece that just needs some work, but even refurbishing old, sturdy pieces is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment, and as a bonus, you have all the control when it comes to style and color.
Luxury Can Be Green Too
The finer things in life don’t necessarily have to be exorbitant or wasteful. If you’re considering adding some luxury during your redecoration process, don’t forget that luxury items like pools, hot tubs, and home theater systems can be utilized in a smarter way, too. For example, there’s no need to use harsh chlorine to clean a pool when there are green alternatives like ultraviolet pool sanitizers that utilize lightwaves as a natural germicide.
If you love your movies and television, or just having a great set-up to show off, consider going with a projector system, which uses a lot less energy than most large-scale televisions on the market. You can also save energy (and money) by cutting the cord and getting rid of multiple media providers. These days, most can get by with a TV antenna and streaming internet.
If you’ve got enough money to buy a home theater system or a hot tub, then you can probably afford to invest in solar panels to help power them. At a cost of less than $3.00 a watt, it’s no doubt that you’ll benefit from solar energy.
Art, Accents, and Embellishments
Whether you find a statement piece you love and then decorate around it, or pull all of the bigger pieces of the puzzle together and then shop for accents to bring the room together, there are so many ways to go green when purchasing all the little trinkets that emanate your style. Simply re-painting, re-finishing, or re-upholstering things you already have can make a surprising difference. If you’re crafty, repair or refurbish recycled or old accent pieces, or peruse local antique or second hand stores for something to give a new home. Often local artists make wonderful things from trash or recycled materials, and if you absolutely must go chic and in-season, consider accents that are made from sustainable materials like glass, recycled plastic or wood, or sustainably harvested materials like hemp or eucalyptus.
Remember that one of the best parts about re-decorating is the fun you’ll have putting the work into it. Sure, you can hire professionals to get everything done, but wouldn’t it be more fun to do a little research and spend some family or couple time trying something new or difficult together? That’s how memories are made, and hopefully these tips will help your home be greener, cleaner, chic-er, and more cozy for all.