Green Redecorating On a Budget

You may think that keeping your redecorating efforts eco-friendly will break your budget. While it’s true that some “green” items can cost more, there are ways to engage in environmentally-friendly redecorating and still stay within a budget. Here are some ideas.


Do you get headaches or respiratory irritation when painting a room? That is probably due to the toxic substances in the paint, particularly volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Look for paint that is VOC-free – many major paint manufacturers have VOC-free versions of their paints. While it does cost a bit more, it is high-quality paint that tends to cover better, so you will likely only need one coat. That can actually end up being cheaper than getting many gallons of conventional paint.

Painting a room can mean a lot of disposable accoutrements such as plastic drop cloths and paint trays. Consider biodegradable drop cloths, which are comparable to plastic and sell for under $4. An even cheaper option is to use an old sheet you already have. It can be washed and re-used for your next painting project.

If you use disposable paint trays and rollers, look for those that are biodegradable or made from recycled materials.


If you have synthetic wall-to-wall carpet, rip it up and expose the flooring beneath. If it’s hardwood, it can be restored with minimal effort. If it is not hardwood, or if you just want to put down more carpet, consider modular carpet tiles. These are inexpensive and can be laid down by the homeowner without the use of toxic adhesives or chemicals. They are also manufactured with non-toxic dyes and recycled materials. When they are worn out or you just want a change, they can be returned to the manufacturer for recycling.


Perhaps you are wanting to redecorate your kitchen and you are considering buying new appliances. If they are still in good working order, you can actually get appliance paints to give them a fresh, new look. (The same is true for bathroom tiles.) If you do purchase new appliances, look for those with the energy-star for optimum efficiency.

Furniture and Accessories

Here is where you can really save money and be environmentally friendly. Shop at antique and second-hand stores and purchase inexpensive furniture and accessories such as lamps, vases, etc. Some of these items need to be restored, or can be given a new look by simply spraying them with white spray paint.

Don’t forget your own attic, garage, closet, etc. for these items. Perhaps you have an old end table that you could re-paint, or a basket hidden away that could be used to hold magazines. Re-use bottles and jars as candle holders and flower vases.

Redecorating probably means that you are throwing out some things – old carpet, appliances, etc. Rather than hauling these to the landfill, find out if they can be donated to charitable organizations for refurbishing. Remember to report any eco-friendly changes you make to your home on your income tax return.

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Alexis Rodrigo

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