Concerns about global warming and the overall health of the planet seem to grow exponentially. As a result, environmentally friendly interior design is a growing trend, with homeowners looking toward their own practices and how they can contribute to the Earth’s health at home. Implementing sustainable practices in the way you decorate your home can impact your carbon footprint and keep excess pollution out of our air, water and landfills. Plus, turning toward “green” design can improve your overall health and well-being.
The primary focus on eco-friendly design at home strives to improve indoor air quality and reduce the impact that major purchase can have on the environment. And by starting at home, environmentally friendly interior design sets a positive precedent, expanding out to the larger world.
Consider the following areas of your home when you start your eco-friendly interior redesign to improve the air quality inside your home and your piece of the Earth outside it.
Think Long-lasting Furniture
Solid wood furniture, like walnut, teak, oak or maple, will last longer and be more durable, ensuring that it will last longer in your home. Additionally, look for sustainable hardwoods that rely on traditional building and joinery methods, think tongue-and-groove-joints, rather than glues. The chemicals in adhesives can off-gas VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, into the air, which affects the air quality in your home.
Traditional Home recommends looking for antiques. “These pieces are the ultimate in being ‘green’” because they were created from old growth forests without modern glues or chemicals for staining. Additionally, antiques can be an eye-catching addition to any room, even the most contemporary, and make that home feel unique.
Avoid Chemicals in Upholstery and Textiles
Like the glues and stains on modern furniture, fabrics can also off-gas potentially harmful irritants into the air. Consider organic materials when recovering furniture or selecting curtains. The flame retardants in many upholstery fabrics include formaldehyde, polyurethane, doxin and brominated flame retardants. These unnecessary additives can be harsh on sensitive eyes and lungs. Select organic cottons, wools or silks that are labeled organic to avoid the chemicals and side effects.
Consider organic, also, when you shop for a rug for your home. Synthetic rugs are often made of nylon, acetate or polyester, which are all words for plastics. If your rug ends up in a landfill, and wall-to-wall carpeting often does after it has run its course, then those materials don’t biodegrade, creating more waste.
Water-based Paint is Best
Wall paints are another carrier of VOCs. When you smell paint after it has been applied, you are experiencing the off-gassing of the paint’s chemicals. But even when that fresh-paint smell disappears, off-gassing may still be occurring. Look for paint labels that read “Low Odor” or “Low VOC”. Natural, water-based paints will help to eliminate the chemicals that affect your interior environment, and you can still select any color you’d like to paint your walls.
Use the Right Lighting
Rely on natural light whenever you can. Energy efficient windows and doors can set the tone for an entire house and help to bring the outdoors in. But at night, avoid incandescent bulbs that can drain energy quickly. Instead, consider relying a low-voltage system and fluorescent or halogen bulbs that efficiently convert most of the energy produced into light. These are available in a wide array of tones and hues, so you can match your preferred light color, such as daylight, soft white light, warm light, and more, for each room.
If your home is built using environmentally friendly practices, and you have consciously chosen eco materials to support our planet, then you might consider decorating with natural accents and finishing touches. Consider using salvaged wood or materials to construct a coffee or accent table. Repurpose glass jars into light fixtures. Or find recycled bricks to add character to outdoor walls or garden paths.
Naturally occurring materials also make beautiful and decorative accents. Look for beautiful stones, shells and d driftwood to catch eyes and create interest to your home. According to Midwest Living, these touches, “all add life to manufactured decor.”
Make the move toward environmentally practices when you consider your home’s interior design. By maintaining looking at interior design with a eco conscious approach, you support the health of your family and the entire planet.
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