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“Reduce, reuse, and recycle” are the three pillars of sustainable living, a growing movement that encourages conscious lifestyle choices to preserve resources and limit your environmental impact. One way to embrace a greener lifestyle is to incorporate sustainable home decor, such as using furniture made from reclaimed materials, choosing organic cotton or linen fabric, or opting for energy-efficient lighting.
Not only is sustainable home design eco-friendly, but it can also be trendy. Here are several tips on how to implement sustainable home decor without compromising your style.
Choose Furniture/Decor Made From Sustainable Materials
Sustainable furniture is made from renewable, biodegradable, and nontoxic materials, meaning it has a lower environmental impact than furniture made from nonsustainable materials. Furniture made from sustainable materials often uses high-quality, durable fabrics. This reduces the waste produced and the resources needed to manufacture new furniture.
Choose items made from natural materials, such as bamboo and stone, or recyclable materials, such as glass, ceramics, and metal. Another option is reclaimed or old, repurposed wood, which can add a unique look to your home. For example, a coffee table made from wood salvaged from a torn-down old barn will have imperfections and a history that makes it one-of-a-kind.
Look for sustainable home decor at local small businesses, craft fairs, or vintage stores. Buying locally made decor items reduces mass overproduction and the carbon footprint associated with transportation. Protecting the environment is one of the shipping industry’s biggest sustainability challenges. Buying locally eliminates the need for single-use packaging and reduces air and water pollution.
Shopping locally also helps boost the economy, creates jobs in the community, and helps support local businesses. Plus, it allows you to see and touch the items before buying, ensuring that you’re happy with the quality and design.
Use Solar Energy
Solar energy is a growing market and one of the most significant green energy sources. Solar power doesn’t release harmful emissions like carbon dioxide; instead, solar panels or shingles draw energy directly from the sun and convert it into usable electricity. Extra energy is sent back to the grid for credit or stored in a battery backup system for later use.
Solar energy can help homeowners reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, lower electricity bills, and increase their home value. Your total savings depend on various factors, but a study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that solar energy technology increased home value by about $15,000 on average.
Decorate With Houseplants
Add plants to bring the outside indoors, create a sense of calm, and add a pop of color to your home. Plants can help improve your home’s air quality and restore ecological balance by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.
Purchase greenery at your local garden center and match plants to your specific style. Fill shelves and use hangers and stands to layer plants at different heights. Flowering plants in a simple planter can add a dramatic contrast.
Switch to Energy-Efficient Lighting
Consider ditching standard, energy-exhausting light bulbs for light-emitting diode (LED) or compact fluorescent light (CFL) products. LED and CFL light bulbs or USB LED-powered lamps use less energy to produce the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs. Additionally, they have a longer life span than traditional bulbs and need replacement less frequently. CFL bulbs can also be recycled, which helps to reduce waste going into landfills.
Another way to implement sustainable home decor is to design around natural lighting. Use light wall colors and mirrors to reflect sunlight and rearrange furniture to make the space feel more open.
Use Nontoxic Paints and Stains
High VOC (volatile organic compound) levels, fungicides, and biocides in some paints and stains can pollute the air; irritate your eyes, nose, and throat; or cause respiratory problems.
Choose paints and stains with low or zero VOCs. Most paint companies list the VOC level on paint cans. Look for products that contain less than 50 grams per liter. Another option is to use paints made from natural ingredients, such as plants, beeswax, and seed oils.
Choose Cotton-Based Decor
Using cotton blankets, pillows, bedsheets, and rugs instead of those made from synthetic materials is another sustainable home decor option. Natural materials are soft and breathable, last longer, and are biodegradable, whereas synthetic materials can take decades or even hundreds of years to break down.
Many cotton-based decor products are made from cotton grown with sustainable farming practices, such as organic farming methods or those that minimize harmful pesticides and fertilizers. Organic farming reduces nonrenewable energy use and is a far more sustainable alternative.
Upcycling furniture is an environmentally friendly way to breathe new life into old, worn-out pieces. Repurposed furniture minimizes the volume of discarded waste each year. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that over 12 million tons of furniture is produced every year while over nine million tons end up in landfills. A majority of the furniture thrown in the dump was made within the last 10 to 15 years.
Upcycled furniture is affordable and allows homeowners to add their personal touches for a truly unique piece. Spruce up furniture from around the house or check out garage sales, thrift stores, or even Facebook Marketplace for pieces that need some love.
Experts estimate that the world’s population will reach 10 billion by 2050, but an increasing number of people will be unable to meet basic needs. The world is stretched thin on resources, and our lifestyle choices directly impact the planet.
Sustainable home decor is just one step toward reducing your carbon footprint. Living sustainably is about making conscious choices to reduce our environmental impact by using resources wisely, reducing waste, and minimizing pollution.
Sustainable living is growing in popularity, which means there are more products and resources available to live a greener lifestyle. This can be as simple as using eco-friendly cleaning products or tackling easy do-it-yourself (DIY) projects to boost your home’s sustainability.