Tips For Eco-Friendly Interior Design

Jan 18 2013

These days we are all doing everything we can to go green. Drivers all over the country are trading in their SUVs for bicycles, while other people are forcing themselves to remember their reusable grocery bags every time they go to buy some food instead of using those petro-filled plastic bags. (Some cities are even charging for those pesky, environmentally destructive plastic bags!) There are always more ways to change your lifestyle to make it greener, both big and small. If you are looking to make your home greener, there are plenty of adjustments you can make. Interior design can be fun and exciting and green – the three are not mutually exclusive. Below are some tips for eco-friendly interior décor. Implement the ones that work for your time and budget.

TIP #1 – REPAINT THE WALLS
Repaint WallsYou may not have realized that even the paint on your walls can be environmentally toxic if you are using the wrong kind. Luckily, the market these days is chock full of eco-friendly paint options that perform well, meaning they last long, offer good coverage, are sufficiently durable, and are available in a spectrum of bold hues and vibrant colors. Repainting a room can totally change its look, so get rid of the toxic chemical filled colors in your house and replace them with toxin-free paint instead.

TIP #2 – CHOOSE ENERGY EFFICIENT APPLIANCES
AppliancesIf you are in the market for a new major appliance, do your homework and see which ones are the most environmentally friendly. Don’t believe everything written on the box or the product’s website. A lot of it is just clever marketing. Energy Star, for example, is really more of a baseline in energy efficiency than an aspiration. When it comes to washing machines and dishwashers, make sure you look for a water efficient option as well.

TIP #3 – UPDATE THE LIGHTING
Lighting can make a big difference in a room, so make sure that yours is energy efficient. Start by maximizing the natural light that comes into your room. Don’t keep the curtains closed over your picture windows – draw those curtains wide open! Next, change all your bulbs from conventional ones to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). These bulbs might have a higher sticker price, but they will last much longer, bring your bills down, and protect the environment.

TIP #4 – GO VINTAGE
VintageIf you are looking to get some new furniture in your home, make sure you go about it in an eco-friendly way. Start by donating – not throwing away – any furniture you are going to replace. What you no longer want, someone else may cherish. Donation is not only good for charity, it is also good for keeping things out of landfills. Next, check out some local vintage, used, and thrift stores for new pieces. This is a lot less expensive and good for the environment. If you don’t want something used, look for crafts people that are building furniture from reclaimed materials. These pieces are one-of-a-kind and always start conversations!

TIP #5 – BUY ORGANIC
buy organicOrganic isn’t a term that just applies to food. Your linens – e.g. towels, sheets, curtains, etc. – should also be organic. Organic materials have only natural dyes, are toxin-free, and come in as many options as you could ever want. They are often softer to the touch and easy on the eyes, too. Considering how close we get to our sheets and towels, it is important that they not be drenched in chemicals. We breathe those chemicals into our systems! So look for organic linens next time you’re in the bedding aisle at the store.

TIP #6 – USE NATURAL CLEANING PRODUCTS
Natural Cleaning ProductsOnce you’ve repainted your walls, replaced your furniture, and gone organic with your linens, you’ll still need to keep everything clean. And you should make sure that your cleaning efforts don’t interfere with your greening efforts. Buy only environmentally cleaning products, or better yet, make your own. Vinegar and water is a great cleaning combination!

About the Author: Jerry Davidson is a home improvement professional specializing in eco-friendly designs. Click here to learn more about environmentally safe construction and remolding.

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