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Decorating your new home with the environment in mind

You can combine sustainability and style with these eco-friendly decorating ideas.

When you think of green living, your mind likely jumps to regulation light bulbs and recycling all your bottles and cans. But who says sustainability can't apply to how you decorate? There are several ways to integrate eco-friendly decor after moving into your new home.


One way to help the environment and your bank account simultaneously is by refurbishing old furniture. You can make your current pieces fresh for your new home or pick something up at a yard sale or second-hand store. Because you aren't buying a newly made item, you're saving wood and other resources, such as the energy required to produce furniture. Another easy way to support sustainability is to buy furniture that is produced locally, or at least domestically. By reducing the distance your furniture must travel, you're helping cut down on pollution from those planes, trains and automobiles.


Traditional house paint emits Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) as gas that can cause symptoms from irritated eyes to kidney failure, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many typical household items release VOCs​, including cleaning supplies, permanent markers and craft glue. As a result, average indoor VOC levels are more than double outdoor levels. To cut down on the amount of VOCs in your new home, look for eco-friendly paint. Better Homes and Gardens recommends low-VOC and low-odor paint from such companies as Sherwin-Williams, YOLO Colorhouse, Olympic, Benjamin Moore and Mystic Paint. Another option it presents is milk paint, a non-toxic powdered product. It was created in the 1970's to use on historically accurate furniture reproductions. Though milk paint is only offered in 20 colors, the opportunities for shading are endless because you combine the pigment and base yourself.


When shopping for an eco-friendly rug, you should pay attention to what percentage of the material has been recycled. According to Better Homes and Gardens, companies like Shaw use a cradle-to-cradle policy which means they recycle their old carpets to create the fresh product. It also references FLOR, a carpeting company with a similar return and recycle system, plus a program called Mission Zero which aims to erase negative environment impact the company has previously produced by 2020.


Two popular eco-friendly fabrics are organic cotton and bamboo. Like most organic products, organic cotton is a bit more expensive than non-organic cotton. However it's better for the environment, especially when it is processed using green technology. Bamboo is a great material for sustainable furniture as well as fabric. Bamboo grows much faster than traditional wood and typically doesn't require the use of fertilizers or pesticides. World Bamboo Resources: A Thematic Study Prepared in the Framework of the Global Forest Resources Assembly states, "Development of bamboo can help fight deforestation, illegal logging, and forest degradation." Bamboo is used to create textiles that can be incorporated into every room of your home.

Don't be afraid to do a little research on your new neighborhood to find out where you can find carpets, furniture or fabrics locally. It's time to plan your dream decor, guilt-free.

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