Eco-Friendly Home Décor Tips

By Thiyashi Koththigoda | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 6 2021
Home Eco-Friendly Home Décor Tips

By Thiyashi Koththigoda

Can home décor be an environmentally friendly practice? The answer is yes! You can still have a stylish home and prioritise eco-friendliness with just a few small tweaks to your home decorating routine. From repurposing to sustainable shopping, here’s how you can start decorating your home the greenway.

Thrift and repurpose

 One sure-fire way to be eco-friendlier is to buy used furniture and décor. Not only does it cost less than buying newly manufactured goods, but it also reduces your carbon footprint and ensures that reusable objects don’t end up in landfills. Certain pieces with a distinctive distressed look can also add a vintage feel to your space as well. Another bonus is that reclaimed furniture and décor will likely emit less volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. 

Usually, freshly painted or manufactured goods will have VOCs, which are harmful and toxic emissions affecting both people’s health and the environment. So, if you plan to redecorate with some second-hand pieces, looking for them is easier than ever now. Hop onto online marketplaces or better yet, explore local fairs and markets. You can also delve into fairly heirlooms and hand-me-downs for a personal touch to your space. 

You can choose to make your reclaimed pieces even more customized by repainting, upholstering, or repurposing it too. Adding a new coat of paint, varnish or embellishments can make it your own. And if you’re looking to weed out any pieces from your home, do it in the spirit of recycling by giving away your furniture or decor to family, friends, or a charity. You can even put it up for sale for others to buy-second hand.

Keep it all-natural

 When looking for furniture, you can be making the greener choice by opting for furniture made of natural and sustainable materials. Wood is usually the most popular option here. However, always pay attention to see if it’s ethically and sustainably sourced. Keep an eye out for certifications that focus on fair trade, sustainability, and responsible forest management that aims to reduce the effect of deforestation. 

One common certification you can check for is from the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). The logo indicates that the wood used has been sourced responsibly and sustainably. Another popular material you can choose is bamboo. This is ideal for several furnishings from reclining chairs to bookcases. Similar to bamboo, your home can also be given a new but sustainable look with pieces made of rattan, rubber wood, and wicker.

It’s all in the fabric

 You can keep up your streak of eco-friendliness by also including natural textiles in your home. Synthetic textiles may not be inherently harmful, but they may be made with environmentally damaging processes. As an alternative, more sustainable fabrics would be ideal for any of your needs from curtains to upholstery fabrics. 

There are many options to choose from including organic cotton, wool, linen, and hemp. You can also find carpets and rugs woven from natural materials like jute and coir. This is also an overall better option as standard carpets and rugs are notorious for emitting VOCs and other allergens. There are now even more options are available now for sustainable furniture and décor made with recycled fibres.

A coat of paint

 Paint can be a wonderful tool to refresh and redecorate your space. However, what you may not know is that certain paints can be harmful to your health and the environment. Some paints contain VOCs which consist of harmful substances like formaldehyde and heavy metals, as mentioned before. 

The carbon-containing substances that are emitted will dissipate into the air at room temperature and contribute to the toxicity of air in your home. This process is known as ‘off-gassing’. This off-gassing of VOCs can also cause air pollution, usually causing smog. It’s also known to be harmful to your health as it contains carcinogens.  

When buying paint, it’s better to be mindful of the VOC levels which are usually indicated at the back of the can or package with VOC gram per litre. Low or zero VOC should be 50 grams per litre or less for flat or interior paint and 50 grams per litre or less for non-flat paint.

Add some greenery

 This should come as no surprise as everyone knows that greenery contributes to cleaner air. In addition to the environmentally friendly perks, house plants can greatly improve your wellbeing as well. Not only have indoor plants been proven to lower stress levels and boost mood, but they can also greatly purify the air of VOCs. 

Through a process called absorption, plants can remove these harmful carbon-based compounds and other gases from the air inside your home. For a greener home, you can start with some low-maintenance plants which even beginners can successfully look after. Luckily, many low-maintenance plants are also effective at air purification. 

Peace lilies, for example, kept in indirect sunlight and watered once a week can improve air quality by up to 60%. Other easy-to-look-after plants like philodendron, snake plant, aloe vera, and spider plant are also great at removing harmful substances like formaldehyde and benzene from the air.

Shop local

 One other way to significantly reduce your carbon footprint is to shop locally for your home décor needs. Buying from your local community will cut down on energy expenditures and carbon emissions from shipping or long deliveries, making it a greener alternative. 

Supporting local artisans, potters, woodworkers, and handcrafters will also boost and promote a sustainable economy. Not only should you be able to find marketplaces online on sites such as Facebook or Instagram, but you’ll also be able to shop at community markets or fairs as well. This means that sustainable and local furniture and décor are even more accessible.

A lightbulb moment

 Having an energy-efficient household can help the environment and help you cut down on your bills. This is where you can adjust the lighting decor in your home for more sustainability. Firstly, you can switch out any incandescent lightbulbs with LED or CFL lightbulbs. Both take up less energy and last much longer. 

LED lightbulbs in particular can be great for tableside lamps or decorative light sources as the light is softer and more ambient. Then you can double down on the energy efficiency by changing the bulbs in less frequently used lights too. Switch out the bulbs and use 40-watt or 60-watt bulbs here. These light fittings should be ones that don’t get much use, whether it be the bulb in a shed or the lamp in a guestroom.

 Whether you follow just one step or all of them, a little can go a long way to help the environment. Hopefully, these tips and tricks can help you become more eco-conscious if you decide to decorate, renovate or simply just make a few changes to your home. 

By Thiyashi Koththigoda | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 6 2021

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