When it comes to eco-friendly living, there is no better place to start making changes than in your home. And there’s no better time to find environmentally-friendly home decorating and design ideas than the present – where green living is not only available and stylish, but affordable as well. Whether you’re looking to redo your kitchen’s backsplash or replace the floors in your entire house, we’ve found the materials and ideas to keep your home focused on what matters to you – responsible living. And when it comes to responsible living, finding flexible financing that fits your budget is as big a deal as your choice to use recycled and reusable materials within your home. Consider using a home equity loan to pay for some of your larger home projects and keep your finances as savvy as your décor choices. Here are a few inspiring environmentally-friendly home decorating and design ideas for various parts of your home:
You no longer have to settle for paint that includes harmful toxins and odors and other wall coverings that may damage the environment. Lately, there are many choices in eco-friendly wall coverings that cut down on your environmental impact and do their part to utilize sustainable and reusable materials. And not only do they look as good, or better, than their traditional counterparts, but there also are affordable options for the budget-conscious home decorator. For example:
- Bamboo wallpaper – Give your home a natural, earthy feel with wallpaper made from bamboo trees, which regenerate themselves extremely fast, preventing deforestation. While bamboo may be a bit more costly than traditional wallpaper, there are direct to consumer sites online that offer more affordable prices that cut out the middle man.
- Low (or no) VOC paint – Forgo paint that contains volatile organic compounds (VOC) and opt for its less harmful counterpart. An added bonus is that while mainstream paint options typically last about five years, their low or no VOC counterparts last approximately eight or more years.
- Recycled backsplash – The typical cost to have a tile backsplash professionally installed can be anywhere from $8 to $25 per square foot not including the actual tile. With that in mind, why not consider a backsplash made of recycled glass tile or beautifully pressed tin? These backsplash options often retail for a bit more when custom made, but the great thing about them is that you can reuse materials you already have on hand (i.e. broken china plates, vintage colored glass, etc.) and create and install your backsplash yourself to save even more money.
- Clay plaster walls – Skip paint altogether and give your walls some texture by using clay plaster that adds pigment and natural sound cancelling qualities. Not only can it be cheaper than enough paint to do a room and can be done yourself, but also it is mold and fade resistant, meaning you’ll never spend money on reapplication or on problems with mold.
If you thought traditional hard wood and carpeting are the only options in flooring, think again. There are a variety of creative and stylish “green” flooring options that offer a wonderful way to live according to your earth-minded values while also sticking to your bottom line, since all these products are becoming more and more mainstream. Consider the following flooring options:
- Recycled barn wood
- Formaldehyde-free carpeting
- Wool carpet
The textiles you choose to bring pattern, depth and texture into your home can also play an important part in living with the earth’s best interest in mind. Synthetic fabrics may contain harmful VOCs and chemicals like flame resistant substances used on carpets, draperies, etc. Plus, although they are all-natural fibers, it doesn’t mean they are more expensive. The key is to find manufacturers that specialize in natural textiles in order to get a good price for good materials. So, look for textiles derived from natural products that don’t contain synthetic dyes, such as:
Appliances, furniture and others household items
While wall coverings, flooring and textiles make up a good portion of your home, there are other household items where you can also consider the look of an item, but also its impact on the planet. For example:
- Look for Energy Star-labeled appliances when replacing old or inefficient appliances like a dishwasher or clothes washer. The Energy Star label means that the product adheres to the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) energy usage guidelines. While this may be one of the more costly upgrades, you will certainly save money over time with the purchase of energy efficient upgrades. For example, according to the EPA, you could save up to $135 each year on your utility bill by simply replacing your old washing machine with an Energy Star one.
- Consider concrete countertops when doing a kitchen renovation or simply replacing old countertops. Concrete is a great, eco-friendly (and affordable) option that can be used instead of granite, marble or even laminate/formica and is priced somewhere in the middle as a great middle-of-the-road option.
- Make the most out of your new furniture purchase by thinking about formaldehyde-free options, especially when considering wooden furniture like dining room tables and kitchen cabinets.
There have never been more options available for the eco-minded (and budget-minded) decorator than right now. Whether you’re looking for eco-friendly paint for your living room or thinking about renovating your kitchen with environmentally preferable products, there’s sure to be an option that suits your individual taste. And if you are thinking about a larger home project or remodel, make sure you know all of your home improvement loan options before you begin. There has never been a better time than the present to make your home the earth-friendly haven you’ve always envisioned, so why not start the process today?