Green living or eco-friendly living can start with small steps, such as using wall paint that has zero Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). VOC's are emissions that emanate from the chemicals used in paint, furniture and textiles. A high concentration of VOC's in the home can lead to cognitive issues, respiratory illnesses and Ozone layer degradation.
There are formulations of zero VOC for paints, varnishes and stains that will make it easy to refinish, recycle and repurpose pieces of furniture that need some TLC but meant to last for decades.
Baskets, flooring, storage boxes and kitchen bowls made of renewable woods such as bamboo is an easy way to bring earth-friendly accessories that are also practical into the home.
Cork is not just for bulletin boards, cork is a renewable material that is Eco-friendly and can be used as insulation under laminate flooring instead of plastic-based materials. Palm products and recycled carpet tiles are becoming popular for flooring.
Decorating green means that products are not just natural, but that they come from renewable sources and can be obtained as close to home as possible. Living green requires being conscious of what it takes to produce and transport a particular material in a sustainable manner. As natural as granite is, if it must be shipped from Brazil, it is not a very good green choice. An eco-friendly and greener alternative could include the nearest tile manufacturer.
Decorating with green materials requires flexibility in thought and action. Consider the following:
- Exchange items with others in your area through Craigslist and Freecycle. Many good pieces of furniture can be had for free or at a minimal cost when people are downsizing or relocating.
- Decorate old flower pots with non-toxic paints and use them to grow your own herbs.
- Use material from old sheets, tablecloths and curtains to make covers for throw pillows, or make patchwork quilts. Patterns are easy to obtain online and almost everyone can sew a straight stitch with a sewing machine.
In order to lead a more eco-friendly existence, we need to ask ourselves if items that are to be thrown away can be reused, recycled or repurposed before committing them to the dumpster.