Creating a home that is both eco-conscious and stylish can seem like an impossible task – however, writes online sleep brand, Amerisleep, it may be easier than you think …
Eco-friendly furniture companies are now creating pieces made with sustainably sourced materials that fit well into any design scheme. Additionally, there are simple and inexpensive DIY projects that can help you create a space that is both beautiful and safe for the planet.
Below, we outline some practice tips to help you transform your space and reduce your carbon footprint.
Opting for pre-used furniture is an easy way to protect the planet and create a chic home interior. Vintage items can give you a unique worn look that adds characters and drama to any space. Older pieces mixed with newer ones can also create a dynamic look.
In most cases, vintage decor pieces cost less than newer ones. You can scout local thrift stores, flea markets and estate sales for unique items at affordable prices. eBay and other resale sites are also great places to search for vintage finds.
As we mentioned above, more and more furniture companies are offering items made with sustainable materials. Both bamboo and rattan are fast-growing, abundant crops that can be grown without the use of pesticides. Some brands are also opting to create items from reclaimed and recycled materials. Recycled wood, textiles, iron, and glass can create attractive pieces for the home. Furnishings made from these materials have a natural aesthetic that is both stylish and environmentally safe.
You can also look for certifications to determine if a piece is eco-friendly. For example, look for wood pieces certified by the FSC (Forest Steward Council). This third party organisation guarantees the wood was harvested in a way that does not disrupt the biodiversity of the forest. By supporting brands that don’t contribute to deforestation, you are joining the fight for a cleaner planet.
Many eco-conscious brands also produce their goods with ethical labour standards and fair trade practices. They often give back to their communities and help to support local artisans. Sustainable, eco-friendly furniture enables you to achieve the natural aesthetic you are looking for while also helping the planet and doing good for people around the globe.
Other sustainable furniture certifications include: Cradle to Cradle; Green Seal; MAS Certified Green; and Scientific Certifications System (SCS).
When shopping for furniture and home decor, avoid those made with non-biodegradable materials, such as plastic. These synthetic items do not break down naturally. Additionally, their manufacturing processes contribute to environmental pollutants that contaminate our food, water, and air. A low VOC certification from CertiPUR-US or Greenguard Gold will ensure an item has a low toxicity rating. This certification can apply to mattresses, paint, and even carpet.
Not only do houseplants clean the air within our homes, but they also create a natural, outdoors-y look. Bamboo palms, dragon trees, spider plants and heavy-duty succulents are inexpensive and easy to care for.
Eco-friendly mattress and bedding
A more advanced, eco-friendly mattress is both stylish and healthy. A supportive, non-toxic bed can drastically improve the quality of your sleep. To ensure your new mattress is safe for both you and the environment, look for beds made with eco-friendly, plant-based foams and organic fabrics. A GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification will guarantee the material is organic and responsibly harvested. Beds made with organic latex foam should have a GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) certification.
Bedding made with natural, organic fibres such as linen, wool and cotton can also help you achieve an eco-chic look. Organic sheets, pillows, blankets, and duvet covers look great and are safer for you to rest on.
Flooring instantly changes the overall look and feel of a space. If you are looking for a modern but eco-friendly flooring option, there are several materials available. Bamboo looks similar to hardwood but is more sustainable because this natural vegetation matures quickly (usually taking around 3-5 years). This is much faster than the 20-plus years it takes for trees to reach maturity.
Cork is another flooring material that has recently gained popularity for its sustainability. During harvesting, cork oak trees do not need to be cut down. The same tree can be used again and again without damaging it or the ecosystem surrounding it.
When switching over to a more eco-conscious home, you will want to replace incandescent lightbulbs with LED or CFL bulbs. Light Emitting Diode (LED) and Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs are better for the planet because they use up to 80% less energy and last 25% longer than incandescent bulbs. These bulbs can also help you reduce your energy cost because they emit less heat.
It doesn’t take much to transform any space into a modern, eco-friendly haven. The next time you are shopping for new home decor, keep our tips in mind. You will be pleasantly surprised by the availability of beautiful, environmentally safe items.