We all know that climate change is very real, and the impact our daily lives have on the environment is substantial.
The good news is that there are plenty of things that each of us can do to mitigate the impact. To live a more sustainable life, you can make a start right at home!
Here are some ways in which you can decorate your home in a sustainable way.
1. Use eco-friendly furnishings
Make a conscious decision to use only eco-friendly materials that are manufactured using sustainable, ethical practices. Jute, organic linen, flax and hemp are examples of eco-friendly materials that can be used for furnishings in your home. If you like silk but are against the killing of silkworms, try ahimsa silk —it is made by waiting till the cocoon is shed naturally and is an environmentally responsible fabric. If you are using cotton, check to ensure that the crop is not grown from genetically modified seeds, and is harvested without any chemicals or synthetic fertilizers.
2. Select sustainable materials for furniture
Gone are the days when furniture could be made of solid wood only. Choose engineered wood boards as core materials for kitchen cabinets and wardrobes. Engineered wood boards are made of recycled wood chips, wood residuals, recycled paper and waste wood, hence are the more responsible choice. Pick high quality water-resistant MDF boards. They may be a bit more expensive than particle boards, but they last longer. Bamboo or rattan furniture score higher than wood on the environment-friendly index. Do some research, explore sustainable options and make conscious choices.
3. Get energy conscious
Environmentalists feel that the single biggest contributor to global warming is the use of fossil fuels like oil, carbon and natural gas. If you can replace them with clean, green sources of energy in your home, you will cut your family’s carbon footprint by a significant amount. Consider using solar energy to power your home, and bio gas in your kitchen. You can also swap out your regular bulbs with energy efficient LEDs and CFL bulbs, minimising the electricity you use at home.
4. Reclaim and repurpose materials
Instead of throwing away something that is no longer considered fashionable, why not put it to good use by upcycling it? Reclaimed bits of fabric can be lovingly crafted into warm, comfortable quilts. If all but one of a set of chairs is beyond repair, you can still use the single good chair for a different purpose in your home instead of throwing it away. Reclaim old wood from the salvage yard and repurpose it into tables, storage units or lighting grids. An eye for innovation can help you to create useful products out of something that is on the throwaway pile.
5. Donate items that you are not using
When you are downsizing your furniture, instead of throwing away anything you don’t need, try to donate or give them away. Someone, somewhere, could make good use of the items you have no use for. You’ll be saving these items from the salvage yard, and doing a lot of good for the planet.
6. Go antique!
Old is gold, as the saying goes, and vintage furniture has a lot of character and charm. Give old furniture from your attic a new lease on life, and reduce your carbon footprint while you do so. You can restore family heirlooms or shop at antique stores. Quite often, vintage pieces are a lot more sturdy than factory-made options. You can also choose to remodel an old item of furniture to give it a new purpose, or repair it and use it as it is.
When decorating your home in a sustainable manner, it is important to give voice to your own personal taste. Instead of following the trend, stay selective and look to recycle and reuse materials.