Wednesday, May 29, 2024

9 Eco-Friendly Decor Tips That Bring Sustainability Home

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In the quest for sustainability at home, decor is one of the easiest places to start. Don’t know where to start? We’ve got tips from low-VOC pain to the best house plants for better air.

The rush of home renovations and redecoration projects that began during covid show no signs of slowing down. Also on the increase is interest in sustainable decor, energy-efficient appliances, non-toxic materials, and air quality.

A recent survey found new home buyers want sustainability throughout their home builds and renovations. This includes everything from solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations to paints, and furniture.

Sustainability at home

Every bit helps reduce your home’s carbon footprint. Some homes are even being built with recycled metal and cement, FSC-certified wood, and designed to reduce heating and cooling costs.

wood beams
Upcycled wood can be used in home improvements | Photo Courtesy Jared Zacharias

When renovating your space, opt for premium materials that will give the luxury finish you’re after. For example, if you’re updating the kitchen, you could choose beautiful quartz countertops, porcelain tiles, and stainless-steel handles. High-quality materials will withstand the test of time, helping your space look its best for years to come.

You can also use glass throughout your interior design to maximize the natural light and make the space feel bigger. This could be elegant glass separator walls, glass atriums, or skylights. You could also install bi-folding doors with full-height glass panels that offer the ultimate indoor-outdoor living.

Consider your storage options as well, especially if you want your home to feel super luxurious. It’s essential to banish the clutter. As part of your renovation, create clever storage solutions that will keep the mess at bay and ensure your space feels both sleek and welcoming. 

There are many ways to do this, such as installing bespoke understairs storage that can hide away shoes, coats, and bags, using beautiful pieces of fitted furniture to store toys or books, or making the most of vertical space with contemporary shelving. The key is to make your storage complement the overall interior design, using colors and materials that create a luxurious look and feel.

Home decor is one of the easiest areas to bring sustainability into your home. Here are some other easy swaps you can make.

how to cool your home
Photo courtesy Collov Home Design

1. Low-VOC paint

When choosing paint for your home, look out for low-loose options in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are chemicals that can off-gas into the air and cause health problems. Low-VOC paints have come a long way in recent years, and there are now many great options available that don’t sacrifice quality or color.

Paint is one of the easiest ways to change the look of a room, so it’s a great place to start when you are thinking about sustainability. However, there are many other sustainable painting practices, such as using recycled paint or choosing paints with natural ingredients like clay. These alternatives can be more expensive than traditional paint, but they are better for your health and the environment.

If you want to take things a step further, you can even look into zero-VOC paint. This type of paint doesn’t off-gas at all, making it a very safe option for your home. However, it can be more expensive and more complex to find than other types of sustainable paint.

sustainable homewares
Photo courtesy Kam Idris

2. Furniture choices

When you are furnishing your home, think about where your furniture is coming from and how it was made. Then, try to choose pieces made from sustainable materials like bamboo, wool, certified wood, bamboo, rattan, or recycled plastic. These materials will help you reduce your carbon footprint.

If you can’t find furniture made from sustainable materials, look for secondhand or vintage pieces. You will be giving new life to an old piece of furniture, but you will also be saving it from ending up in a landfill. “Even if you have a new house, put in a vintage piece — there is a soul there — craftsmanship that we don’t have anymore,” Designer Erin Lokitz told Ethos.

Another excellent option for sustainable furniture is to buy items that can be used for multiple purposes. For example, a coffee table that doubles as a storage ottoman is a great way to get two pieces of furniture in one. And, a daybed that can be used as both a sofa and a guest bed is another useful option for small spaces.

sustainable homewares
Photo courtesy Spacejoy

3. Eco-friendly fabrics

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to fabrics. First, look for natural fibers like cotton or linen. These materials are all biodegradable and will break down over time, unlike synthetic fibers like polyester or nylon.

Second, try to choose fabrics made from sustainable materials like bamboo or hemp. These plant-based fibers require less water and energy to produce than conventional fabric options. Finally, when washing your fabrics, be sure to use eco-friendly laundry detergent and hang them up to dry whenever possible. This will save energy and help your clothes last longer too.

spanish tile
Photo courtesy Darwin Vegher

4. Get creative with secondhand finds

One of the easiest ways to reduce your impact on the environment is to shop secondhand. You can find amazing décor pieces at thrift stores, garage sales, and online marketplaces.

Be creative and think outside the box when it comes to repurposing items. For example, an old dresser can be transformed into a bathroom vanity or a bedside table. When you want luxurious and sustainable flooring, consider Spanish tile to make it happen. You can often find tiles and other leftover materials at home surplus stores at discount prices. Mix and matching is in these days, so mix colors, sizes, and styles.

minted
Photo courtesy Minted

5. Art

One of the best ways to personalize your space is to add some art. But when you are thinking about sustainability, it’s important to choose pieces that won’t end up in a landfill after you are done with them.

There are many great options for eco-friendly art, such as paintings made from recycled materials or sculptures made from found objects. Also, explore vintage or antique pieces. This is another great way to get unique items for your home while supporting the reuse economy.

energy efficient eco appliances
Photo courtesy Miele appliances

6. Appliances

Upgrading appliances when it’s time is no small task. There are scores of options out there at all price points. There are a few key things to keep in mind.

First, look for Energy Star appliances. This means they’re reducing their energy use and will save you money while also reducing the impact on the grid and the environment.

Also, look for companies that highlight their sustainability efforts that go beyond just the Energy Star rating. Increasingly, appliance brands are using recycled metals, reducing shipping materials, and working to reduce emissions overall.

parachute home goods
Photo courtesy Parachute

7. Bedding

We spend a third of our lives in bed, but they can be some of the most toxic and unsustainable parts of our homes. Beds can contain known carcinogens including formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds that can cause a range of health issues.

Sheets, pillows, and comforters can often be just as toxic, made with synthetic materials or cotton that’s been heavily sprayed with herbicides and pesticides, some of which are linked to cancer.

Opt instead for clean, organic, and eco-bedding that makes your home more sustainable and may even improve your sleep.

Sustainable home decor houseplants
Photo courtesy Laura Lauch

8. Houseplants

One of the biggest covid trends was cultivating green thumbs. Houseplant sales surged as apartment dwellers and homeowners alike brought nature indoors.

There are numerous benefits to houseplants beyond just keeping us company, though. They can improve air quality, bring pops of color, and are an inexpensive way to brighten up a room.

sustainable kitchen products
Photo courtesy Roam in Color

9. Let in the light

Take advantage of natural light by keeping your windows clean and using light-colored window treatments. This will help brighten up your home and reduce your need for artificial light. During the daytime, open your curtains or blinds to let in the sunlight.

An open layout can help. Some of the most luxurious homes in the world feature open-plan layouts where you can entertain and enjoy family time. Not only do open-plan areas offer a luxury look, but they are also highly practical and can add value to your home. 

In fact, according to a recent study, creating an open-plan living area can boost a property’s value by as much as 15 percent — making it a no-brainer when it comes to renovating. If possible, incorporate open-plan areas into your home’s design – whether that’s a large open living and dining area or a sprawling kitchen with a snug TV.

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