So, you’ve been making changes and “going” green. Are you ready to take the next step? Sustainable living starts at home and updating your décor with a green interior design makeover should be at the top of your list for eco-friendly living.
Creating a plan for your green interior design doesn’t have to mean scrapping everything you have and starting over. After all, that wouldn’t be very green! But if you have a plan for your interior design, then as the time comes to replace different elements in your home, you will be ready to make green and sustainable choices.
And the good new is that green interior design has changed a lot in the last few years. Modern green design is no longer about “making do” with low-light bulbs, utilitarian wall coverings or uninspired furniture. Nor does having a sustainable interior design automatically have to mean “country kitsch.”
Today’s green living is full of choices—amazing low-voc paints, supple organic fabrics and sustainably-harvested wood floors and furniture. So, your home can be a true reflection of both your personality and your environmentally-conscious values.
Use these ideas to start making a plan for your green interior design, and get ready to give your home an eco-friendly makeover.
Sustainable Design Choices for Furniture
Depending on your redecorating budget, you can invest in sustainable wood furniture (such as bamboo or mango wood), or accomplish your eco-friendly goals by purchasing used furniture. If you are creative and/or handy, you can make your own interesting furniture out of recycled items.
Not all of your furniture has to be new. Consider buying some of the pieces second hand. You can find interesting really interesting furniture with character, history and charmCheck out yard sales, thrift shops, flea markets, and antique stores for some good deals.
Sustainable Flooring: Foundation for a Green Interior Design
Take up the synthetic, wall-to-wall carpet. Donate it to a charitable organization rather than throwing it into the trash (as long as it is in decent shape). If you have hardwood underneath, restore it with eco-friendly stains and varnishes. If you don’t have hardwood under your carpet, or if you just want some eco-friendly flooring options, consider the following:
- Modular flooring tiles do not require adhesives, and can be laid down by the homeowner. They can be recycled when they wear out, or you want to redecorate again.
- Linoleum is a natural, non-toxic flooring option that has been around for decades. True linoleum is different from vinyl flooring, which is what many people have in their homes and incorrectly call “linoleum.” Natural linoleum comes in a nice array of colors, and is very durable.
- Recycled rubber flooring is available in tiles or sheets, and also comes in a surprising variety of colors and designs.
- Wool carpet is an eco-friendly option if you want to have carpeted floors.
Design the Interior with Natural Light
Make the most of natural lighting whenever possible. Keep window treatments minimal to let in as much light as possible. Use light colors on walls and furniture. If privacy is an issue, consider window coverings that will let in light while obscuring the transparency of the glass. Find more lighting ideas that save electricity.
Paint the Interior: Green Comes in Many Colors
You don’t have to like the color green to use green paint. Eco-friendly paints come in a wide palette of colors to accommodate anyone’s taste. Look for paints low in or free from VOCs (volatile organic compounds). These are the chemicals that “out-gas” from conventional paints that can cause headaches and respiratory problems. Eco-friendly paints are pigment-rich, meaning you will not need to put on as many coats. This offsets the expense.
Changing the color of your walls is a great way to bring significant change to a room. As you are preparing to paint, use old sheets or reusable tarps to cover your floors and furniture, rather than disposable, plastic drop-cloths. Look for paint trays that are reusable and/or made from recycled materials.
Other Green Interior Design Ideas to Cover your Walls
You don’t have to use paint at all. Conventional wallpaper, with its chemical adhesive, is not necessary either. Consider creative, innovative wall coverings, such as:
- Paper bags (really – pressed onto walls with eco-friendly paste, paper bags make a textured, leather-like wall covering)
- Rice paper
- Waste paper – pages from encyclopedias, magazines, and even newspapers
- Fabric panels