Incorporating Eco-Friendly Materials Into Your Decor
Guest post by John Miller
It's not always easy being green. Those of us with a flair for furnishing and an eye towards the environment often find the two clashing as we debate buying a gorgeous but irresponsibly-sourced table or chair.
Fortunately, there are some ways around this particular conundrum. Look hard enough, and you'll find some fantastic décor options that look nice, and aren't too rough on nature.
A personal favorite. Reclaimed wood is absolutely oozing with character, and it's one of the few ways to guarantee that whatever you're getting – be it furniture, flooring, or decoration – is completely unique without sourcing from somerare, endangered tree.
One great example are the few artisans I’ve recently noticed that specialize in the use of so-called “pecky” cypress. It's a wood studded with naturally occurring air pockets, making it structurally weak, and usually a sure candidate for the compost.
However, these particular shops save it, fill it with a strengthening material, and produce some striking, completely novel furniture. It's the most eco-friendly way to use cypress (and there are a lot of very unfriendly ways to use this wood) that I've ever seen.
Wallpaper has an extremely well-earned reputation for being riddled with nasty chemicals. These generally come in the form of polymer glazes, some of which are toxic to humans, all of which are non-biodegradable.
A few manufacturers have started bucking this trend. Responsibly-produced wallpaper has been quick to catch on, and generally uses water-based paints and recyclable paper to ensure that, once used, it painlessly re-enters the ecosystem.
While cost is often a barrier to anyone with green aspirations, wallpaper's an exception; I've seen some extremely nice, eco-friendly options for cheap. It might not be as durable as older brands, but that's a tradeoff I'm willing to make.
We can't talk about companies with poor environmental reps without mentioning the lighting industry.
Lightbulbs have classically been designed to fail, encouraging users to head back for more as their busted originals head for the dump.
Recent years have seen that change. LED and CFL bulbs may cost a pretty penny, but they last long enough to justify the investment. They also sip power in comparison to older incandescent bulbs, making them an overall perfect choice for the home-savvy environmentalist.
Still, there's no green light quite like the sun. Big bay windows and cleverly-positioned skylights will always be in vogue, and can do wonders to let some natural light into your house.
And there are a ton of benefits here. Sunlight is free, has an amazing timbre, and actually works to keep your body cycles closer to their natural, healthy best.
Speaking of sunlight, let's talk solar panels. If you're living in a sunny part of the world, it may be time to start thinking about them. No one's calling them pretty, but they've long since been popular enough to get off the aesthetic blacklist. Besides, even if they did still make it, there's no arguing the monetary and eco benefits they bring.
Here's a big takeaway: if it's green, it's probably trendy.
An awful lot of eco-friendly décor used to be less than attractive – not so anymore. Manufacturers have dogpiled into the market, and a lot have made green products that would do any showroom proud.
On top of that, if you haven't heard, green is in. Buy a product that's obviously designed to help minimize your planetary impact, and your friends will probably be impressed no matter how it looks.
Guest Blogger These columns are the work of our guest bloggers who want to share their expert green opinions on a range of topics.