Eco-friendly Eco-Chic Home Décor Tips and Resources
Re-Use, Re-Cycle, and Re-Create When You Decorate
Home Decorating trends do not just happen. They reflect the times. Today, with the increasing and much needed focus on the environment and the economy, eco- friendly products are being made and used more and more in home building, remodeling, and interior decorating.
Fabrics, colors, and budgets are also reflecting a “down to earth” sensibility — and not just in materials and colors, but also in cost.
For many, this means making the most of what they already have – recycling that sofa with a slipcover or new upholstery, giving new life to old pieces (whether a piece of furniture you already have or a thrift shop or eBay find) with a splash of color or by using old favorites in innovative ways.
Think about using fabrics made from natural materials or from synthetics made from renewable resources. (You can find out more about many fibers made from sustainable resources in The Green Truth About Fabrics.)
Consider the environmental effects of the products you use in interior decorating as well as in cleaning and caring for your home. Many products, including paints and fabrics, are now available in environmentally (and people and pet) friendly formulations. Look for Mineral and vegetable dyed home décor fabrics and carpeting (make sure carpeting is also formaldehyde free).
Bring the outdoors inside and not just for holiday decorations or special occasions. Live plants not only look great indoors — they help keep the air in your home healthy. (If you have young children or pets, be sure the plants are not poisonous.)
Green is a decorating style to suit all tastes – from the spare sandy desert to the opulent rain forest. Think about your favorite outdoor spot and take your home decorating cues from Mother Nature – and take care of her in return.
10 Easy Eco-Chic Decorating Tips
2. Re-purpose (aka "upcycle") items. A plain hollow-core door propped up by a couple of old cabinets, a pair of short bookcases, or two workshop horses makes a great desk or table. Stack a set of old luggage to use as an end table (and for extra storage!). Think outside the box.
3. Often simply sanding and re-painting an old plain piece of furniture can transform it into just what you need in that new guest room or for the porch you just enclosed (with windows from your local salvage yard, of course!). Polish the old hardware or add some new knobs and be proud of yourself. You not only kept that old dresser out of the garbage dump, you've saved a tree or two in the process.
4. Recycle glass jars as vases or fill with small collectibles, such as shells, buttons, small stones, or marbles and display as small grouping.
5. Wrap leftover yarn around defunct tennis balls and place in an old wooden bowl or basket for a colorful decorating accent.
6. Old ties make great quilts. So do a lot of other fabric items. (But you knew that!) Just have a few? Make a throw pillow instead.
7. Window shutters not only help with window energy efficiency. They make wonderful cabinet doors (easy to attach to the front of that yard sale bookcase for hidden storage) and three or four larger ones hinged together can be used for a screen or room divider or even a headboard.
8. Broken cups and dishes can be broken into even smaller pieces and used for drainage in a flower pot or, if you're crafty, in lieu of mosaic tiles to decorate a table top to an entire piece of furniture or even a wall, birdbath, or garden bench.
9. Stand old wooden fruit crates on their sides and stack for a modular bookcase or storage unit. Or hang an old wooden ladder horizontally on a wall to hold books, media, or other items.
10. Use leftover wallpaper to wrap gifts, cover empty cereal boxes to use as periodical holders on a shelf, line drawers or closet shelves or (one of my favorites) ask a local ice cream store for an empty cardboard ice cream "tub" and turn it into a custom wastebasket by covering it with wallpaper or decoupage it with leftovers from your scrapbooking projects.
More Ideas for Green Home Decorating
Take a look at our picks and feel free to submit your own suggestions for eco-chic home decorating tips. You can also vote the books on the list up or down, so if you have read any of these, please let us know what you thought of them by doing that.
There are more resources below this section, so be sure to scroll down for more ideas and finds!
Inspiring Ideas and DIY How-to Advice - For Recycling and Re-purposing Furniture
There are many books that provide home décor ideas for recycling and using existing furnishings in creative yet practical ways. This is one of my favorites. A good basic reference you'll turn to again and again.
A little ingenuity and time can not only save your financial resouces, it can help save forests and the planet.
Please take note, though, that re-finishing antique furniture can substantially lower its value as original finishes, whether stained or painted, are more desirable even if they are in less-than-perfect condition.
Have You Decorated by Re-Using, Recycling or Repurposing ?
What is your experience with eco-chic decorating? Have you come up with a new and creative use for something you already have or used an older item in a new way?
What do you think of eco-chic decorating? Have you re-used, recycled or repurposed one or more items in your home?
Recommended Resource for DIY Upholstery & Slipcovers
This is the most popular and highly rated instructionals for DIY upholstery.
You will be surprised at how easy it is to re-upholster your own furniture.
You not only save money on labor costs, you help save the planet by recycling -- and you wind up with a custom one-of-kind item too!
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- FABRIC: Are Natural or Synthetic Fibers Better?
The differences (pros and cons) between natural and synthetic fibers in home decorating fabrics.
- What You Should Know About Invasive Plants in the U.S.
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