Carbon footprint, energy crisis, global warming, what do these terms have to do with your home decor? How about a great deal! According to statistics, almost 30 percent of all home renovations, remodels and repairs consume a huge number of ‘new’ or non-replenishable resources. Break that down and what you have is massive amounts of natural materials like wood, paper, glass and other vital natural resources are used in a remodelling project.
What if there was a way you could reduce the carbon footprint of your remodel and yet leave your home with a stunning new look? It is possible by following a upscaling, recycling and reusing model which is so simple, yet with stunning results.
10 Eco-Friendly Home Decor Tips:
1) Don’t buy stuff new: Quite simple, if for example you want a new chandelier for your living room, simply log onto a swapping site like Craigslist and check out interesting swaps. Or better still visit a flea market and pick up a classic chandelier that might just need a touch up here and there. That’s an idea that is big on both savings and eco-friendliness.
2) Reupholster, rather than replace your old sofa: Why get rid of your sturdy, old sofa, when you can change the way it looks to match what your vision for the room is. Simply have it reupholstered. Your old sofa will get a new lease of life and maybe a few trees in the forest will too.
3) Upcycle used glass bottles: Glass bottles, such as beer bottles, milk bottles, jam jars and such can easily be upcycled as ashtrays, serving bowls, cool and hip juice bottles etc. Easy and definitely better for nature than PET bottles.
4) Build a nature inspired display: Display homemade potpourri, seashells, pine cones, coloured and other natural objects in glass bowls, these make great pieces of decor and don’t cost a cent, this is one of the easiest ways to be trendy and a friend of the environment.
5) Go for quality over price: If you need to buy a new piece of furniture or a new appliance, consider the quality of said piece, and here’s why, if you end up buying a substandard piece you may need to replace it rather quickly, the financial damage notwithstanding, the damage the piece will cause to the environment rotting in a landfill could be devastating.
6) Reuse, reduce and recycle: Stop using plastic bags, switch to jute totes. If you need an artwork for the walls, simply use images from an old magazine to create a cool retro collage and an old record to frame it. Reuse-reduce-recycle as much as possible.
7) Visit a swap meet or garage sale: Sure shopping online is great but swap meets and garage sales are still places where you could pick up vintage decor pieces for a song. And what’s more you’ll also be giving the artefact a home rather than letting it go to waste.
8) Use old papers to line the inside of drawers: A quick, efficient and cost effective way of protecting your drawers and shelves in cupboards from dust is to use old newspaper to line them. Do this and increase the longevity of newspapers. Once they’ve been in your closet for a good six months or so you can dispose off them in the compost heap.
9) Digitize your library and use the extra space: If you live in an apartment, a great way of freeing up some space is by digitizing your book and music collection, donating your old books and CDs to charity and using the extra storage space you’ve just created.
10) Upcycle old newspapers into wrapping paper: Over the holidays, always use the more colourful sections of the newspaper, like the sports, lifestyle and cartoons to wrap your gifts. A staggering amount of paper goes into the production of wrapping paper and a mere fragment of it is ever reused. Do your bit to stop the insanity.
As is evident you don’t need to do anything monumental in order to make a positive difference to the environment. A few simple things will help you redefine both your carbon footprint as well as your home decor.
Christie Baker is an interior designer, who is a passionate advocate of eco-friendly design. She advises clients on how to make stunning changes to their spaces with minimal cost and a significant reduction in their carbon footprint.