The interior design of a living or workspace is one of the most important ways to let other people glimpse the personality of the owner, a look at not only their own personal taste and style, but also their values. For many, this means creating a living or working environment that is healthy and eco-friendly. Eco-friendly design has surged in recent years as more and more people become interested in healthy living, sustainability and energy-efficiency. “Going green” used to be the purview of the very wealthy, but today it is easy to achieve a stylish and environmentally-conscience design without spending a lot of money.
Eco-décor for the home
Creating an eco-friendly interior design in the home means having to be creative. Begin by looking at the furniture and items already in the house that may be re-used or re-purposed in some way. For example, a wardrobe or dresser may be refinished and re-purposed as an entertainment center in a living room or a sideboard in a dining room. Newer furniture pieces may be aged or damaged pieces sanded and repainted to give them fresh life. Remember to use Low or No-VOC paints if at all possible.
A wide variety of flooring options are available for the eco-friendly home and having a floor that is made from natural materials can make a huge difference in how healthy and energy-efficient a home is. Bamboo floors are an excellent choice, creating a comfortable surface under foot and providing a stylish look in any room. Bamboo flooring also has the added advantage of being recyclable. Another option that is very energy-efficient is eco floor tiles. Made from sustainable materials, these tiles provide a level of thermal insulation as well, reducing heating costs.
Reducing the heating and cooling usage is a priority in an environmentally conscious design. Energy-efficient heating systems and air conditioners will help to control energy usage, as will energy-efficient thermostats. Proper insulation is also key, particularly when it comes to windows. Natural wooden shutters can be an ideal window covering that can also help to insulate, saving on energy costs in both the cold and hot weather.
Eco-décor for the office
The office environment may seem insurmountable when it comes to going green, but there are steps that may be taken to make the office more earth-friendly.
Consider exchanging that desktop for a laptop or notebook computer, which consumes only an eighth of the power. If it must be a desktop, choose a flat-screen or LCD monitor, as they use less energy, as well as causing less eyestrain than traditional monitors. Other tips for creating an eco-friendly office: turn off the power at night; reuse and recycle materials as much as possible; use fluorescent or halogen light bulbs.
Using recycling as a guide, a variety of items can be re-used and re-purposed to suit office furniture needs. Two sawhorses and an old door can be combined and refinished to create a stylish eco-friendly desk. A variety of old cabinets and shelving units may be painted or refinished and used for books, papers and files. A visit to a local flea market or thrift shop will yield many possibilities for a “green” office.