Making your home a little more eco-friendly
As we embrace green living, from smart purchases to making the effort to reuse, repurpose and recycle, now is as good a time as any to incorporate green touches to a home.
Take a look around you home and visit your local home decor store and you will find that eco-friendly decor options abound and it doesn't have to be more expensive to furnish your home with green decor elements - it really depends on your style and taste, but you can be eco-friendly on any budget. If you can strike a balance between new and repurposed furnishings, you can easily keep your budget in check.
It is difficult to understand why some eco-friendly products are more expensive than their non-friendly counterparts, but the gap is rapidly decreasing, and the long-term benefits of sourcing furniture and decor accessories that are made using sustainable or reclaimed materials are worth the added cost.
Replace or repair
Take a look at items you already own at home and you may be able to save a substantial amount simply by reusing or repurposing what you already have. Furniture that still has good bones can be re-upholstered while specific piece of furniture can be given a makeover, or modified, for use in another room. Start with what you already own and take it from there. Pieces you no longer need can be sold on online auctions sites, and any monies received put towards the purchase of new pieces.
Rather than rip out and replace kitchen cabinets, see if you can use the existing basic framework to add new doors, new countertops. The money saved on not replacing the entire kitchen can be used to replace worn flooring with modern, eco-friendly alternatives, or perhaps even energy-saving appliances.
Buy local - Local is lekker
Products made locally are manufactured using local resources and will have a much smaller carbon footprint, whereas imported items have a much larger carbon footprint. Try to avoid products mass produced in China or other places where they implement few environmental controls or manufacturing standards.
Bear in mind that it is in your best interest to shop around. I recently visited a prominent home decor store in search of a dining table. They advertised a beautiful Acacia wood table that resembled the one shown below. Upon visiting the store to see the table up close, I was shocked to see that the wood had cracked in quite a few placed.
It's not always greener
Just because a product claims to be green on the tag, doesn't mean it actually is. There are many factors that make a product truly green, and just being organic or local doesn't necessarily mean it's green. Read labels and talk to the salespeople. If they can't tell you where or how a product is made, it's not a good sign.
Furniture manufacturers that use responsibly forested timber, sustainably sourced organic materials, and water-based finishes, want you to know about it, so be sure to ask for details.
Second time around
One of the best ways to incorporate green is to buy something secondhand or use reclaimed or salvaged materials. Antiques and vintage pieces are wonderfully green products, as are salvaged architectural finds and reclaimed wood products. And don't dismiss an old piece of furniture because it's the wrong colour or a little banged up.
If you don't want to go to the time and effort of doing it yourself, there are furniture refinishers that specialise in bringing these pieces back to life, even repurposing them for a whole new use. Don't be afraid to get creative. Sometimes all it takes is a good cleaning and a coat of paint.
Environmentally friendly design is extremely important. Every time something is manufactured, packaged or shipped, it has an impact on the environment. When you consider the number of individual products involved in redecorating or designing a home, you realize there are so many places you can potentially minimise that impact.