Do you want to help save the planet and have a living room that’s comfortable and has an earthy, rustic feel to it? There are ways to have a living room that is eco-friendly and has a unique design at the same time. In this day and age of green consciousness, it pays to be aware of our consumption practices and our carbon footprint. The principle applies to what we put inside our homes.
The following are some practical tips on what goes into an Earth-friendly living room.
- Buy furniture made from recycled material. You’re helping in keeping the amount of human wastage and trash from multiplying. You’re also supporting industries and causes that advocate recycling.
- Avoid toxic materials by acquiring furniture that does not contain toxins like PBDEs and formaldehyde in its manufacture. Look for the Greenguard certification, and ask your supplier and your friends about the materials used to make the living room item.
- This may seem trivial, but it is important to always buy durable furniture. Furniture that’s made to last long means you don’t have to replace them for a very long time, which means you don’t contribute to trash caused by average broken or old furniture.
- Vintage is in because it’s green! Buying antique furniture is a good option because it is already used, and has not used up any energy or any kind of manufacturing costs. Just make sure it doesn’t contain toxins like lead, which was used in paint half a century ago. Also, when getting it repaired, it’s better to consult an antique or restoration expert so that you will not risk environmental hazards when trying to restore old furniture.
- Go local! Get furniture made by builders in your area, or from the same region, versus buying it abroad. This means cutting down on shipping costs, which means cutting down on fuel costs to bring things from abroad, and saving energy that would have been used to bring it to your door. You will be making local craftspeople and artisans happy by supporting them, and supporting your local industry means improved quality.
- DIY – Why not? Making your own furniture will save you money and unnecessary expenses, you get satisfaction from building your own furniture, and you get to cut down on using unnecessary energy and fuel. You get to design your own furniture and make it in a way that makes it stand out from your usual department store-bought home furniture.
- Bamboo-made furniture makes for a great, native-style look. Not to mention that since bamboo is so easy to grow, there is no sustainability issue because it’s very easy to replace. Bamboo is durable and requires very little to no insecticide treatment.
- Repurpose! Turn that old wooden table with the broken leg into benches or as part of the kitchen shelving. Use old car tires as tables and chairs by piling them up and securing them together. Those old wooden cabinets can be used as kitchen tables if put together or turned on its side. The possibilities are endless. Turning old furniture into something that’s different from it’s original use can help reduce the amount of discard in landfills.
- Get furniture that is easy to dismantle. With room and storage becoming more of a problem in urban areas with smaller residential space, it helps that the furniture you buy is not bulky or something that takes up so much living room space. Once they fall into disuse, it will be very easy to dispose of them, or better, to re-purpose and recycle them.
- Nature provides free green furniture if you know where to find it. If you have access to a wooded area, ask permission from the owners if you can scavenge any tree trimmings or branches that fell off the tree. These discard wood can be designed into little benches, coffee tables or shelvings, with just a little ingenuity and creativity. Ask your designer friends to help you or read up on how to make simple furniture from discarded wood materials.
Guest blogger Maria Samuels is in charge of picking the best materials for the furniture at In Style Modern, a company which sells reproduction furniture such as tulip tables and starck ghost chairs. She has recently written a piece on building a small home office. Photo via Gites Castelnaut