Earth Day this year falls on Sunday, April 22, though many schools, businesses and communities will be celebrating Earth Day all week long and into the weekend of April 22. As an interior designer I am always thinking about ways I can incorporate green-design into the homes I decorate, especially at this time of the year.
Going green with home decorating does not have to break the bank or, even worse, be unattractive. With home sales still stagnant, people are remaining in their houses longer and are devoting more time and resources to remodeling and redecorating. Here are a few Green Tips to consider for your next interior design project.
Utilize vintage furniture. Save treasures from landfills by using unique vintage pieces of furniture in your home. Older furniture (about 60 to 100 years old) is often better constructed than anything you can find today. The craftsmanship is remarkable and you will have a truly unique piece in your home. Refinish the frames and reupholster the cushions–and voila, you have a new piece of furniture that is earth-friendly!
Reuse, recycle and re-purpose the décor in your home. A fresh coat of VOC-free paint on wooden kitchen chairs can make them shine like new. Also, look into repairing old lamps, vases, clocks and other accessories that can be fixed and used again. Have old china that is cracked and can’t be used on the table any longer? Turn those plates into coasters or jewelry with the help of crafter Juliet Ames of The Broken Plate Pendant Company. Donate your home furnishing you no longer wish to keep; they may be a treasure for someone else in need and their sale will help a local charity.
Use renewable resources in floors and cabinets. Stone, recycled metal, cork, bamboo, linoleum, wooden parquet and reclaimed wood all can be replaced via biological processes with the passage of time and are safe for the environment.
Use low-VOC or VOC-free paints and stains. There are now paints and stains on the market that are free of or contain few volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These paints are safer for your family and are an easy way to make yourself and your home part of the green movement. Next time you paint a room in your home, ask your local paint store about these new, safer paints.
Use organic linens and fabrics. Look for fabrics, bedding and towels that are produced from organic materials and have been treated with non-toxic water-based dyes. Major retailers like Pottery Barn are now offering organic bedding lines; check them out and keep your family safe from dangerous chemicals while they sleep.
Start small; green decorating and design doesn’t need to happen overnight. But even the smallest green decorating efforts will help make our planet a safer place to live. Happy Earth Day!