Whether you’re building, renting, remodeling or just re-decorating you’ve probably thought a little about, or have at least noticed the ever-growing trend that has been popping up allover the past few years, ‘Going Green’ in your home. I’ll admit, for a while I thought that “Going Green” was just a fad that might fade away, but now, more than ever, this great concept is gaining momentum, from the articles that I read in my favorite magazines, to my regularly watched HGTV home improvement shows. This made me realize that making ‘greener choices’ was something that everyone was trying to implement, so I’ve put together some simple ideas of ways that can help all of us create spaces and homes that are a bit ‘greener’.
Green Home Building
I thought I would start with the big one first, going green when building or remodeling. Did you know with the huge upswing in green building it is much easier to find what you may be looking for at your local big box retail store? For example, green flooring like Bamboo (a grass that can grow up to four feet a day) and Cork (the bark of an oak tree) used to be something that was expensive to manufacture and had to be special ordered through a contractor or designer, but now you can walk into your local home improvement store and buy it for as much or less than traditional flooring.
Another green initiative when renovating or building, is low VOC paint. VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound; these are airborne chemicals that are emitted by paints. Almost every large paint brand is carrying a low VOC paint that doesn’t cost you any more and adhere and cover just as well. All you’re doing is eliminating the VOC’s in the air, so just pay attention to the label or ask when you are purchasing your next gallon, if your paint brand choice has a low VOC rating.
There are lots of other things that, with a little research, can help you in your quest when adding green elements into your projects; like energy efficient windows and appliances.
If you’re decorating a new space or just rearranging an existing one, stop and think: Are there items in storage or from a different area in your home that can be used? Do you have a picture frame, that with a simple coat of paint would create the look you are going for? Would moving big pieces of furniture around or refinishing them help you save from buying new? These ideas can cost very little or even nothing and can instantly give your space a completely different look.
Another idea that might work well for those of us who have lots of older or unused home decor items, is to have a home décor swap party with friends. You could gather up all of your extra, outdated or rarely used home decor and swap items with those who may want to re-purpose or reuse them in their own homes. Again, this is free and also a fun way to de-clutter and possibly add a new piece of home decor to your space, all while ‘going green’.
Instead of buying new, why not consider buying something that’s already made or just needs a new home. I love thrift stores and consignment shops for this reason.
The one thing that can be tricky with this sort of shopping, is that it’s a bit tougher to find specific items. I think the best approach when consignment shopping is to go with an open mind. A great tip is to shop at consignment stores often. There are always new things coming in, so to get the best selection of secondhand goods, don’t wait too long between trips. Some of my most favorite, unique finds have been from consignment and thrift shops.
Another great way to ‘go green’ is to literally grow green. This couldn’t be any simpler, whether you are in an apartment or home. Plants do much more than provide an element of nature in your home, they literally can clean the air you breathe! If you have a window ledge or open shelf in your kitchen and are wondering how to decorate it, grow some herbs.
What herb(s) do you cook with the most? For us, we love salsa, so having fresh cilantro is a must! By having some growing in our home, we are able to have beautiful home décor, along with a useful plant to cook with. Growing Green, in my opinion, is such a fabulous way to add personality, warmth and a special, functional touch into any space.
We live in such a wonderful time where we are able to jump on a computer, tablet or smartphone and literally in seconds have answers to our questions. Going Green is no exception to this rule. Before diving headfirst into any project, there should always be a bit of planning that goes into it. Use online resources to determine whether or not what you are working on is something that can be green or at least have some elements of green in it.
Going green in your home, doesn’t have to be something large, time consuming and extravagant it can just be a small act, like having a plant, or re-purposing a chair. Start simple, start small—just start!