Everyone has furniture and accessories left over from the time before they developed a feeling of responsibility towards the environment. So if you’re finally ready to start a living-room redecorating project, you probably want to do it in an eco-friendly fashion this time around. But even if you’ve been implementing green practices into your lifestyle for a while, you might not have a good idea of how to go about enacting a remodel that will reduce your carbon footprint. Here are just a few ways you can keep the planet clean and green even as you beautify and update your space.
You should start by keeping waste to a minimum. If you haven’t heard of the three Rs, now is a good time to learn to reduce, reuse, and recycle. You can reduce your waste quite simply by finding ways to keep unwanted items out of the landfill rather than tossing them in the trash. One method is to reuse them, and there are several ways to do it. Your comfy couch, for example, may not fit your new design aesthetic. But with some updated upholstery you can make it work in your new space. Wooden furnishings can be given a fresh coat of paint or even moved to other rooms in the house for a completely different use.
Your other option is to recycle items that are still useable but that you no longer want or need, and you should make every effort to find them a new home. You might be surprised to discover that someone will pay a few bucks (or more) for your old furniture and accessories, so try hosting a garage sale or posting on Craig’s List. Otherwise, simply call local thrift stores to see if they offer a pickup service (many do), or drop them off yourself on designated donation days.
Now comes the fun part: redecorating! And there are plenty of ways to go green here, as well, starting with the basics. Paint should be of the low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compound) variety to avoid harmful toxins that could pollute your interior air for years (potentially causing all kinds of health problems). And believe it or not, you can find eco-friendly hardwood or natural stone flooring by visiting vendors that deal in reclaimed (and often refurbished) items. Even better is the fact that you’ll only pay a fraction of what you would for brand new.
All that’s left is furniture and accessories. For couches, a reclining sofa, chairs, tables and other large furnishings, look for estate sales in your area to attend as a way to find nice pieces for less cost (and less environmental impact). And think about spicing up your space with offerings from local artists (cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions produced during shipping). As for accessories like lamps, just throw a new shade on the old base for an updated look. And if you need a new TV to finish the makeover, opt for an energy-saving LED model that will draw only a small percentage of the electricity used by other sets. With just a few small concessions, you can make your redecorated living room fit your eco-friendly sensibilities (and you can probably save some money in the process).