When it comes to refreshing, remodelling and redesigning the interiors of our homes we often only consider aesthetics. After all, this is a chance to express ourselves and create an environment that really makes our families feel comfortable. But shouldn’t we also think about the world around us?
In this article we’re going to show that it’s possible to have great looking interiors that are also kind to the planet. You might even find that a green approach saves you money in terms of materials and heating bills as well as saving and expending less energy.
Rely on Sunlight
One of the biggest mistakes many of us make, when it comes to the environment, is to rely too heavily on artificial or man-made lighting. The way to rectify this is to make as much use of the sun as possible. Choose curtains that aren’t intrusive or heavy. Or, you could install natural and sustainable wooden blinds that can be folded almost completely to the side during the day. If you’re remodelling extensively, you might even consider installing a skylight. This way your home will be flooded with natural light and will save money and converse much less energy.
Change Your Bulbs
The truth is that we can’t always rely on the sun, which is why we also need to consider the type of artificial lighting we use. Switching to LED light bulbs is highly recommended and has been found in a recent study to save the average home up to $1,000 over a 10-year period. These bulbs may cost more initially but they are long-lasting and of a high quality, so they represent an investment worth making.
You could also try and use Energy efficient bulbs these are similar to old incandescent bulbs that respond well to a dimer and emit just as good quality of light however, you can save up to 80% on your electricity bills and waste a lot less energy as they can typically use about 25-80% less energy.
Improve Your Insultation
Another way you can save money in the long run and be kind to the environment, is to improve the insulation in your home. With better insulation, made from natural materials, your home will require less heating. This could be loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, plasterboard and even floor insulation.
Unlike many conventional insulations, natural insulations made from materials such as sheep’s wool, Earth wool, Thermal fleece, Warmcel etc. have low embodied energy and are all fully recyclable and disposable at the end of their natural use. In winter you will be able to really feel the difference, even if this is eco-friendly improvement isn’t always immediately noticeable.
Make Your Own Furniture
Creating your own furniture can be a fun way to give your home an eco-friendly makeover. A good suggestion is to use reclaimed wood for any DIY projects, so that even your materials are kind to the environment. Once again, this is a great way to save money. Plus, reclaimed wood can add a sense of authentic, earthy style to your home. Just be sure to remove any nails or other potentially dangerous pieces of metal from the wood.
Add Plants and Grow Your Own Food
When it comes to your decorations, it can be a good idea to go green – literally. Plants can soften spaces and really add life to your interiors. They can also provide stunning focus points. What’s more, they can help to improve the air quality of rooms and to filter out harmful chemicals. Along with traditional decorative greenery, you could also opt for potted herbs and even vegetables. You can planet seeds and grow your own fruit and vegetables. This way you will have an eco-friendly stock of ingredients for your kitchen.
Pay Attention to Labels
If you need to paint your interior spaces, you might want to carefully read the labels on paint tins or any associated products to make sure that you’re making eco-friendly choices. Products with low VOC (volatile organic compounds) ratings are the ones to look for, as these will contain smaller amounts of harmful air pollutants. VOC ratings can also often be found on furniture, carpets and other household items.
Some product brands such as AFM Safe coat, Benjamin Moore aura and Natura, Yolo Colorhouse, The old fashioned Milk paint company and Sherwin Williams even emit no VOC, making these ideal for eco-friendly redecoration.
Update Your Flooring
It’s also possible to choose eco-friendly options when it comes to the surface beneath your feet. Wooden, stone or marble flooring are all choices that are both natural and beautiful. This type of flooring may be expensive, but in the long-run it could pay for itself in that it might add value to your home. Plus, these materials are usually hard-wearing, which means that they will last longer.
Another advantage is that they are easy to clean, making them a good choice for families with children. Some other options you could consider for eco flooring are Cork (renewable material), reclaimed wool rugs, Bamboo flooring, reclaimed and sustainable hardwood, Linoleum flooring and recycled metal, glass and rubber tiles are all good options for an eco-friendly, durable nontoxic floor.
Maximise Your Space
Our final tip is to make the best use you can of the space in your home. This way you won’t be tempted to buy a bigger home, which won’t be as kind to the environment in terms of its carbon footprint. One way of doing this is to use multi-purpose furniture, such as fold-down couches, to get the most out of living areas. Another approach is to convert your garage, if you have one, into an office or additional living space.
There are many other ways of transforming your home into an eco-friendly haven, and you should consider this list to be a starting point. If you are considering the change to greener, kinder living, then good luck and may your redecoration and remodelling be a success.