Whether you’re an established interior designer or just interested in giving your living room a green makeover, consider these guidelines when creating an eco-friendly space:
I. Before you start, establish environmental principles and develop a plan of action. If you make a list of things that you want to accomplish through your efforts, you can also determine how you need to change your current habits and practices to achieve those goals. For example, do you want to reduce energy consumption? Do you want to make it easier to recycle?
II. Start in your own backyard. Inventory your home or office for products and processes and determine where changes can be made. For instance, how green are your cleaning supplies? Do you recycle? Could you organize your pantry and refrigerator better so that food doesn’t go to waste?
III. Begin exploring alternative product options and green vendors. Choose home decor that’s made from recycled materials or is repurposed. The best products will last a long time and require very little maintenance. If you’re completely renovating, consider bamboo flooring with little to no formaldehyde or choose furniture constructed from recycled and/or organic material. Building Value, a nonprofit in Northside, sells reclaimed building material and offers everything from fireplaces to kitchen sinks.
IV. Finally, when decorating, keep the 3 Rs in mind – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Keep your décor simple, and try to choose items that are decorative but also serve a purpose. Shop at second hand stores for common household items, like vases and dishware. And consider donating or repurposing items you plan to get rid of instead of tossing them out with the trash.