Whether you’re remodeling or building your home or office, the possibilities of minimizing energy usage and preserving the natural environment are endless. Incorporating a “green” or “sustainable” living can be simple. Just start with one goal in mind and then move your way up to a more sustainable lifestyle one day at a time. The first step is to reduce, reuse, and recycle. That doesn’t sound too bad, right? Especially if you’re on board with preserving our beautiful planet for generations to come. We can each play a part in saving our planet, and creating our home a little greener is completely doable. It can work with any budget and small steps can make a huge difference. Make your living space more sustainable with these helpful, green interior design tips:
Above all, save water. Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth or rinsing dishes, especially when you’re in a city where it seldom rains. Reduce the use of old paint that contains harmful chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene. These chemicals can cause short and long-term health problems like dizziness or nerve damage. When you buy paint, look for natural, non-toxic or zero VOC paint. These paints come in a wide variety of colors, to expand your color options.
Reduce the use of synthetic fibers such as nylon, acetate, or polyester by removing old carpeting and rugs made of these fibers as they can harbor allergens and pesticides that are tracked in from outside. These man-made fibers are highly flammable and are often treated with synthetic chemicals to reduce flammability, increasing the potency of toxins off-gassing into your home. Instead, choose natural fibers such as wool, or cotton over synthetics. Synthetic carpet can also contain volatile organic compounds or VOCs, a class of chemicals that can be harmful to your health. Wool is naturally fire retardant unlike its artificial counterparts, which are prone to igniting more easily, and this natural fiber absorbs moisture and captures dust or pollen, thus reducing humidity and allergens in the air.
If you have hardwood floors, it’s a good idea to preserve them. If not, you can try Earth-friendly flooring options like bamboo, reclaimed wood or cork.
Accessorize with antiques versus opting in for new furniture pieces. A fun example is using an antique chest and transforming it into a vanity. It will have more character and you’ll feel good about incorporating a green space. There are local antique shops, estate sales and plenty of online resources to shop for key pieces. You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you discover unique treasures for your design scheme. Repurpose for a purpose and instead of buying all new furniture, you can make old furniture new again by refurbishing or covering it. If you decide to go with all new furniture, make sure you select items that are made of non-toxic and organic materials.
Make trash beautiful. Add space for multiple trash bins; one for paper/cardboard, another for plastic/metals and a third for non-recyclable trash. Separating and labeling your trash bins will make it easier for everyone to take part in this very easy task. When remodeling, buy products that are made from natural products and can be recycled.
Want to take it one step further? Rinse all plastics that contain products or liquids before throwing them into the recycle bins and only buy products that have recyclable packaging.
Green living is all about reducing, reusing and recycling, so do exactly that when decorating your home or office.