Photo via everythingaboutdesign.com
Let’s face it — Our houses can do a number on the Earth. Even if they’re free of asbestos or lead paint, they can still be filled with not-so-great substances that leak fumes into the air, or stocked with forest-depleting furniture and not-green fabrics. Kind of undoes all that recycling you just took out, right?
But the good news is that you don’t have to feel guilty every time you redecorate. These tips from the eco-friendly experts at Modernize will help you make maximum design impact with minimum harm to the Earth (Phew!).
Kick the Clutter Habit: There’s no denying that humans are addicted to stuff. Kick the habit by following two simple rules: Only bring things you LOVE into your home. And always pick quality over quantity.
Give Your Furniture a Makeover—Instead of Tossing It: Speaking of trash, try not to throw out valuable pieces if they just need a little TLC. Quality pieces will age beautifully over time and you can even update the look with new upholstery or finishings.
Let the Light In: Give your overhead lights a break by pulling back the curtains. This is especially important, as lighting accounts for 10% of energy consumption in the US. Consider the natural light sources in your home when you redecorate—don’t block off windows with large furniture! If you want to make a bigger change, opt for new windows, a skylight, or a tubular daylighting device, to help you get more sunlight in your life.
Check Your Wood: Thinking about building a new dazzling hardwood patio? Unfortunately, not all wood flooring is sustainable. Some materials may even be sourced from threatened regions, or gathered by companies with wasteful refining techniques. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council certification on any wood you buy. It’s better for the earth, but still looks beautiful in the home!
Buy a Ceiling Fan: Did you know that installing a fan can reduce your home’s thermostat by several degrees? They don’t even have to be eye sores either! For extra energy efficiency, look for one that features LED lighting and a motion-sensor so you won’t leave it running in an empty room.
READ MORE: Ceiling Fans That Aren’t Ugly.
Channel Your Inner Earth Mother with a Kitchen Window Garden: Who doesn’t want fresh basil for their caprese salad? Unfortunately, herbs are easy to waste, and many have to be flown in or trucked in from warmer locations, which can use a lot of fuel. Save the oil and incorporate a natural herb garden in your home!
Select Window Treatments with Energy Efficiency In Mind: You know that one window that’s always hot no matter what you do? Try hanging a curtain over it! A blackout curtain could significantly reduce heat gain in your home, and with the right fabric they can make a bold design statement.
READ MORE: Home Design 101: How to Hang Drapes
Look for Sustainable Upholstery: The textile industry cab be one of the pollution bad guys—some experts have estimated that wasteful textile processing plants may throw out much more material than they actually use. Not every company is a wanton waster, though. Consider eco-friendly furniture sellers that create products that are just as lovely as they are green.
For more energy-saving ideas, visit Modernize.com