Why is it important to create an eco-friendly home? Nationwide, household energy consumption accounts for 20% of all emissions. Further, ‘If you consider indirect emissions, this figure is closer to 80%,’ PBS reports.
Simply put, these figures are not good. Thankfully, there are simple things you can do around your home to improve its looks and do your part to lower your carbon footprint. Follow these eco-friendly tips to decorate your new home.
Keep Packing Materials
If you are renting, chances are you move somewhat frequently. In fact, one-third will move at least once per year. Whether you move annually or biannually, keep your packing materials on hand for the next time you move. This is especially important for fragile items, like decorations and glassware, that require extra packing materials to move.
If you move frequently, use reusable materials, like sheets, blankets, towels, cardboard boxes, and corrugated wrap roll made out of recycled paper. Some companies even rent eco-friendly plastic boxes for you to use during your move and return when you finish unpacking.
Spruce Up the Place with Sustainable Rugs
Area rugs, accent rugs, and runners can go a long way to spruce up any given space and make it truly feel like home. If you choose to go this route, make sure you choose sustainable rugs made out of natural fibers.
The average rug — up to 90% of all rugs — is machine-made in a factory. These mass-produced rugs contain petroleum-based synthetic fiber, and that chemical-based fiber releases potentially harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Choose rugs made out of recycled plastic, jute, or seagrass instead.
Support Local Businesses
Buying local is always best. Small, local businesses are far more likely to use sustainable packaging materials and make as many of their products onsite as they can. That cuts down on exorbitant shipping costs and emissions.
Big box retailers and large, international companies, on the other hand, want to make production as economical as possible. That often means taking shortcuts, like using more packaging, cheaper packaging, and/or mass-producing products in factories overseas.
Buy your decor and household necessities from a small, local business. If you are unsure where to start, why not go for a drive? As many as 35% of customers find local businesses simply by seeing signs for them as they pass.
Purchase Indoor Plants
Indoor plants improve the appearance of your apartment or house while improving indoor air quality and boosting your mood as well. Ficus trees, spider plants, and Boston ferns are some of the most effective plant varieties when it comes to improving the air quality in your home.
Decorate with Art You Love
Art brings us joy. It is scientifically proven. In fact, a 2011 study out of the University of London showed that looking at a beloved painting is similar to looking at a loved one: it stimulates the blood flow in the parts of our brains responsible for joy and happiness by as much as 10%.
For guilt-free art in your home, search for artists that choose eco-friendly materials. More artists are using sustainable paints and recycled materials than in the past. Ask artists how they keep their work environmentally friendly.
Another option is to support local artists. Once again, local artists use fewer materials and produce fewer emissions than their large, commercial counterparts. Purchasing from a large retailer will involve shipping, which will entail using and supporting trucks that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide. You can purchase from local artists without any shipping involved at all. Simply visit a nearby gallery, art market, or art show.
Doing your part for the environment starts in your home. Make your new apartment or house look stylish and beautiful all the while keeping it eco-friendly and sustainable with the tips above.