Fortunately, as eco-friendly living continues to increase in popularity, giving your home a green make-over is easier than ever. Until recently, it was challenging to find environmentally-friendly home décor options that were as attractive as their counterparts (think limited colors and a lack of any real design).
But as retailers and manufacturers have responded to increased eco-demand by consumers, the market has improved considerably.
By incorporating these and other eco-friendly ideas into your home, you will be creating a much healthier environment for you, your family and for the planet, as a whole, says Rachel Hulan, local interior designer of Hulan Design.
Here are Rachel’s 10 tips for creating a more eco-friendly home:
1. Use cleaning products that are 100 percent organic and that don’t contain toxic chemicals.
2. Open all of the windows in your home as often as possible and look for new ways to allow more fresh air to flow through.
3. For upholstered furniture, choose pieces made only with natural dyes and fabrics, and for wood furnishings, like dining room tables, select pieces without varnishes because they are laden with harmful chemicals.
4. Before painting, buy only no-VOC wall paint which means that it doesn’t contain any volatile toxic compounds in it. A toxic-free paint is well-worth the price when it comes to you and your family’s health, and you won’t miss the strong fumes either that go along with using traditional paint.
Also once the paint has dried, toxic chemicals can be released for years after using a conventional paint, Hulan says.
5. For optimum energy efficiency, only use appliances labeled “Energy Star.”
6. Convert to hard flooring wherever possible.
Over time, carpeting collects dirt (that you can’t necessarily see even after vacuuming), pesticides, dust mites and other potentially harmful substances that can be even more troublesome for people with allergies or asthma.
7. For curtains, bedding, bathroom towels and rugs, choose only natural fibers. Synthetic fibers are harmful to the environment because they’re not biodegradable and can also leach toxins into the groundwater once they’re in a landfill.
Also because synthetic materials are not natural, they don’t “breathe well,” so it’s especially important to use bedding made with only natural fibers.
Further, many people think that as long as a fabric is cotton its eco-friendly but actually, that’s a bit of a misnomer. Conventional cotton fibers contain pesticides at the time it was cultivated, so try and use organic cotton whenever possible.
8. Keeping and maintaining family heirlooms is another great way to make your home more green. Not only are they eco-friendly but vintage pieces also add character while personalizing your living space, too.
Try to avoid coordinating your home to the point that it begins to look like a hotel lobby. Using a mix of different style elements will make your space look more individualized and inviting as well.
9. When shopping for household furnishings, resist the temptation to purchase pieces primarily based on cost. Holding off and saving your money for higher quality items made with natural, sustainable materials is the best choice all the way around.
10. Additionally, instead of shopping at large retail stores, get to know the local artisans in your community. Most of their creations are made by hand using natural materials.
If you’re just beginning to learn how to make your home more eco-friendly, don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to make your home more green overnight.
You want it to be an enjoyable process, too, so just start by incorporating greener options little by little; and before you know it, you could have one of the greenest, most sustainable homes on the block!