In my opinion home should be two things: an oasis, which makes you feel safe and healthy and a reflection of your personal style. Okay, three things, it should also smell terrific. Whether your home is a sprawling house in the suburbs or a closet-sized apartment in the city home should make you release a sigh at the thought.
Greening your home doesn’t require a decorator or another mortgage. In fact, if you went and replaced everything in your home to “greener” products, you would actually be the anti-green (red?). So let’s break this down: we want to reflect our personal style, we want to feel safe and healthy and we want a nice smell. Over the next couple of weeks I will try to address each of these topics.
Today, let’s talk about the big things for decorating in an Earth-friendly, sustainable way. Furniture, floors, walls and building will be the main focus.
The most prominent feature in your home (besides the walls and ceiling and stuff) is probably your furniture. If you really need to replace your furniture you should, just keep in mind it take a lot of energy to manufacture new products and processing emits toxins and chemicals. Here are some alternatives to buying new.
Antiquing is an action for a reason: not only can you find carefully made (things were just made better long ago), GORGEOUS furniture, it is completely ecofriendly because no energy is required to produce it (it’s already been made, and used, and maybe used again). Check out local antique stores, flea markets, garage sales, and furniture consignment store (How to shop garage sales etc. coming soon!).
Carpet, though soft and confortable, are loaded with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as toluene, formaldehyde and xylene, all of which are bad for your nervous system and the Earth. Carpet is also very difficult to clean, even if you steam it, therefore they accumulate soot, fungus, flea eggs, dust mite poop, arsenic, mercury and pesticides. Yum!
Instead, opt for either bamboo flooring (for the same reasons mentioned above) or reclaimed/refurbished wood (possibly from a piano factory). Lay out some areas rungs, which are easy to shake out. Look for those made from natural fiber with no nasty glues.
If you absolutely must buy carpet for whatever reason, Interface is a company that, while not completely guilt free, at least uses some recycled and renewable materials in production.
I know, wallpaper brings to mind scenes of interior design nightmares, but there are some very chic patterns available (it’s making a comeback ya’ll). Most wallpapers are made with vinyl, aka PVC. If you have room to learn two things today, I suggest you learn this too: vinyl is literally the worst. Look for the wallpaper that is vinyl free (since ’93).
That’s all I have today. Leave a comment below if there’s something you’d really like to know more about.