More and more of us are investing time and money in turning our homes green. Green living not only helps the planet but can also lead to savings. Many of us live in draughty pre-war homes, built long before people appreciated the need to conserve the planet, yet with some planning and good advice, our current homes can be made just that little bit greener. Here are five steps to get you started in creating an eco-friendly haven.
1. Bring Some Greenery To Your Home
There’s no better way to start down the path to a greener home than with some actual greenery. Fill your home with an assortment of houseplants, from large floor plants to smaller potted varieties that will look good on your shelves and windowsills. For added effect, pot them in repurposed containers – old tin cans, paint cans, buckets and the like are ideal. And not only will plants make your home more attractive, studies have shown that they are also good for your mental and physical health.
2. Use Natural Materials
If you’re redesigning or redecorating your home, try using natural materials as much as possible. Natural flooring options such as bamboo, cork, and reclaimed wood have become extremely popular in recent years, and these and other natural materials can be used all over the home. From your roof, to your furniture, to your home’s accessories and decoration, with a little imagination there’s no end to what you can do.
3. Recycle and Refurbish Furniture
Rather than always buying new, consider recycling furniture instead. Visit charity shops, second-hand and antique shops, websites such as Gumtree or ebay, or even indulge in a little bit of skip diving, and see what you can find. Recycling, redecorating, and refurbishing an old treasure is often much more rewarding than simply browsing and picking out something shiny and new. You just never know what you might find – and it can be a great outlet for your creative side too!
4. Decorate With Eco-Paints
Traditional house paints contain damaging volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that continue to be emitted into your home’s atmosphere for up to five years after painting. Look for paints that are plant-based and water-borne, or at least find paints that are specifically free of these compounds. Low VOC paints improve the indoor air quality of your home and reduce urban smog, as well as having excellent durability and a washable finish.
5. Use Locally Sourced Building Materials
Just as it’s better to purchase apples grown in Somerset rather than those flown in from New Zealand, it’s better to make use of local trades and supplies as much as possible. And no doubt there are some excellent craftsmen working with the best natural materials that your local area has to offer. What’s better – Italian marble or the very best Welsh slate? When looking for that perfect finish, scan the local adverts and avoid looking abroad.