It Really is Easy Being “Green”

salvaged wood kitchen table and chairs, potted plants, and magazine articles on clipboards hanging on the wall in neat rows

Eco-Friendly Decorating Tips to Refresh Your Home for Spring

When it comes to “living green,” there are so many things you can do that go beyond throwing bottles and cans into a recycling bin. As the effects of climate change become more known to us, more emphasis is being put on incorporating eco-friendly practices into every aspect of our lives. While this is a serious issue that needs serious attention, living a green life doesn’t have to be all work and no fun!

A few months ago, we posted an article all about farm-to-table “green” eating (delicious!). This month, we focus on “green” decorating. Below are a few tips and tricks to add environmentally-conscious character to your home:

Recycling isn’t just for food products.

Buying new furniture and home decor isn’t just expensive…it can take quite a toll on the environment. Not only does it consume our precious natural resources (all those trees cut down to make new dressers, tables, etc.), but when you factor in manufacturing, packaging, and shipping, the carbon footprint of new goods just climbs and climbs. And, of course, when you opt for reused, recycled, or upcycled items, you’re saving them from ending up in the landfill.

  • Consider buying furniture from places like Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. You can get new-to-you items for a steal, AND your money goes to a good cause. Don’t fret too much about finding the absolute perfect piece, either—you can always give it a fresh coat of paint or stain to make sure it fits right in with your home’s aesthetic. If you’re not so handy, you can always contact the ladies at Potentially Chic to have them give your reused furniture a makeover.
  • This same idea applies to items you might find at flea markets, garage sales, along the side of the road, or hand-me downs from friends or family members. Or even pieces you already have in your house! Sometimes merely giving it a new color or putting it in a different room makes it seem like it’s brand new. Check out local Facebook “yard sale” pages to get great deals on used items…and to meet your neighbors!
  • Turn old t-shirts or other recycled fabrics into pillowcases or crocheted rugs. Frame pages from vintage books or hang reclaimed shutters or window panes for original, shabby chic artwork. Use recycled bottles and cans to make funky, one-of-a-kind chandeliers. Turn colored, mismatched glasses and bottles into vases, flower pots, or candleholders. Use a stack of old suitcases as a coffee table or nightstand.

Bring nature indoors.

There’s no cheaper way to decorate than decorating with free stuff. And when that free stuff comes from the ground instead of a store, you can be sure the carbon footprint is minimal. Head outside for a nature walk, and use your surroundings as inspiration!

  • Use downed tree branches for anything from bookshelves, to a hanging rod for clothes and plants, to centerpieces and wall decorations.
  • Display pinecones, twigs, dried leaves, or your rock collection in bowls or vases.
  • Make your own votive candles by filling used egg shells with wax.
  • Fill colored mason jars with water (or clear mason jars with colored water) and hang them in a window that gets lots of sunlight. The water will absorb heat during the day, helping to keep your home nice and cool—thereby helping you conserve energy by keeping the A/C off for that much longer.
  • Add plants! Not only are they beautiful, they will help clean your indoor air of toxins. Spider plants are fantastic greenery for apartments, as they’re low-maintenance and quite hardy. Ask your friends if they have any spider plant babies they need to get rid of, or visit a local nursery like Riverside or Greenbrier for tips on the best options for your home.

Have fun, and happy decorating!