Your living room is probably the most used space in your house. Because of this, furniture, flooring, and accessories can quickly wear out, leaving you with the tedious task of redecorating. This is not only an imposition on your time and your pocketbook, but it can also affect your conscience if you are trying to embrace an eco-friendly lifestyle. After all, redecorating a room means that most of your possessions are on their way out (probably headed straight for the landfill). In addition, buying new items means supporting manufacturing that is probably polluting the Earth. All in all, it doesn’t seem like a very green process. But don’t despair. There are plenty of ways to secure the green living space you desire when you decide to redecorate. Here are a few ways to make it happen.
- Reduce. The best way to reduce waste is not to throw things away in the first place. Only you can decide what goes and what stays, but by taking the time to inventory your possessions and throw away only the items that are 100% beyond use, you will significantly cut the amount of trash headed for already over-crowded landfills.
- Reuse. See how you can reuse the items you have that are still in good shape. Maybe some furnishings can be used in other rooms. Or perhaps your couches and chairs can be reupholstered in an eco-friendly fabric of your choice. Tables can be sanded and stained or painted to suit your new look. Even lamps can get a makeover with a new shade or some embellishment. So before you send any furniture down the river, try to see their potential for change.
- Recycle. If you absolutely must get rid of old items, do everything you can to make sure they enjoy a second life outside the landfill. Those furnishings that are in good condition can be sold at a garage sale or via Craig’s List to earn you a little extra cash for your remodel. Or you can simply donate them to a thrift store for the benefit of those in need.
- Reclaim. When it comes time to start installing new décor, consider what you may be able to get second-hand yourself. Hardwood flooring and cabinetry, in particular, is a great item to buy reclaimed not only because it will allow you to have the rich and luxurious wood you want without denuding any more forested land, but it will also cost you a lot less than new. Many furniture items can also be found reclaimed and require minimal extra expense to suit your needs.
- Cut VOCs. Volatile organic compounds are present in most house-paint and many people are unaware of the potential side effects they can produce (headaches, nausea, and even more serious symptoms – they’ve been linked to some forms of cancer). So choose a paint that is low- or no-VOC to avoid harmful emissions that can hang around your house for years.
- Conserve energy. You may have a hankering for that giant plasma TV you saw in Best Buy, but if you opt instead for an energy-saving LED TV, you can cut your utility bill as you pull less power off the grid. You should also install compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) in your lamps and plug electronics into one easy-to-disconnect power-strip to stop phantom drain when electronics aren’t in use.
Leon Harris writes for Sofas and Sectionals where you can find an assortment of high end furniture by brands like Palliser and Berkline.