Do you have some reservations about redecorating your home in an eco-friendly way? Maybe you think it only involves earth-colored paint and dim lighting. Or maybe you’re concerned about the cost.
Here’s good news for you: eco-friendly redecorating can be beautiful, adapts to your personal taste, and affordable. Here are some ideas:
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.
Alternative Wall Coverings
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
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.
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.
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.
Maybe you can’t afford to buy new versions of any of the above. To solve this problem, consider buying your redecorating items second hand whenever possible. Check out yard sales, thrift shops, flea markets, and antique stores for some good deals.
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