Going green is a trend that is en route to becoming a permanent lifestyle, which is happy news for this big, beautiful planet we call home! However, environmentally friendly practices are more than recycling cans and paper. Interior design can contribute to sustainability as well.
Eco-friendly design doesn’t have to be ugly (except for you, CFL bulbs). Check out some gorgeous examples of going green below.
GOING GREEN WITH MATERIALS
Look for recycled and recyclable products when shopping for project materials.
Cork oak trees are not damaged when the bark is removed (Tree: whew). Even better, cork itself is highly durable, recyclable and provides great insulation; it’s a substance with substance.
Not to mention, anything that can be laid in a herringbone pattern gets major style points.
Glass bottles can be recycled over and over, until the end of time, while maintaining quality and purity.
These bejeweled tiles are perfect for kitchen backsplash!
GOING GREEN WITH ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Limit the use of artificial energy whenever possible. Luckily, appliances and lightbulbs are all available with energy efficient technology. And of course, we have smart use of the good old sun.
Skylights allow for natural illumination, natural ventilation, natural cooling and natural heating.
Plus, everything looks better under the glow of some rays.
Solar roof tiles and panels convert the sun’s energy into electricity.
Don’t underestimate the power of that giant fireball in the sky.
GOING GREEN WITH WASTE REDUCTION
Try to go for products that break down, pieces that are durable and fixable. The goal is to keep goods around for a long time and keep them out of landfills.
Ice pops or chairs? Hard to tell. These gorgeous creations are made of recycled plastic!
Next time you go to throw out a plastic bag, think of all the amazing furniture, like these chairs, that could come from it, and reroute to the blue bin.
Plant based natural fibers like jute, bamboo, sisal, seagrass and bamboo, are all biodegradable and recyclable.
They also happen to produce some fine looking rugs so everybody wins.
GOING GREEN WITH SPACE MAXIMIZATION
Everybody wants smaller bills, right?
Pay attention to the amount of room you have versus the amount of room you use. Use what you actually need and use as little as possible. Downsizing can save big bucks in both construction materials and resources needed to maintain the space.
Good things come in small packages.
GOING GREEN WITH LOW TOXICITY
Ok, quick science lesson! Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gases emitted from solids and liquids. What kind of solids and liquids? A lot. Some examples are paint, glue, cleaning products, markers, carpets/rugs. VOC concentration is ten times higher indoors than outdoors. High exposure leads to health issues, both short and long term. But don’t panic! Take the hazmat suit out of your shopping cart! There are ways to cut back on the amount of VOCs in your home.
Look for paints that are marked as either low or zero VOC. The major brands (Benjamin Moore, Behr, Sherwin-Williams) carry zero VOC lines so you won’t need to skimp on quality or color options.
Fabrics contain VOCs so when selecting for draperies and upholstery, think about using natural textiles like linen, wool, organic cotton and hemp.
Houseplants do a great job of absorbing VOCs. Do your research because some plants absorb more than others but you can’t go wrong by bringing a little greenery into your nest.
GOING GREEN BY SHOPPING LOCAL
Believe it or not, how we shop affects the environment. Shopping from a national chain requires large scale processing, packaging, and transporting. This results in use of fuel, emissions, factory waste and land loss. Local businesses simply do not contribute to environmental deteriotation at the high rate of speed of national chains. Now don’t get me wrong, I love drinking a chai from Starbucks as I test out sofas at West Elm just as much as the next gal. But shopping at the local fabric studio down the street, even once for every ten visits to a national chain, makes an impact.
Make a conscious effort to work local shopping into your routine. Drive home with a pair of pillows, made by someone in your community, that same day!
As you can see, it is entirely possible to go green without living in a cave lit by fiery torches. It might not be possible to jump on every single one of these eco-friendly measures right away. But ultimately, each person making little changes is what makes a huge difference. Building on that over time is the best way to make going green a lifestyle.