June 17, 2009

Green Your Home Decor

Many people like to change their decor as the seasons change. The color palettes, textures, and overall look and feel of their home become transformed, often with just a few simple ideas. For those of you who desire all that and want to be green at the same time, I've got some Decor suggestions for you this Summer.

1. BEDDING- Spring or Summer are great times to get a fresh new duvet cover, sheet set or entire bedding set. The colors are often more simplistic, ligher and tranquil. The materials often are too-soft linens, cottons vs. the heavier fabrics of fall and winter that we long to leave behind. When shopping, be sure to look at all of the wonderful Organic Cotton options, hemp might be another great selection for you. Organic cotton is free from pesticides, and lets face it, we spend about 8 hours per night snuggled up in these linens, so we might as well ensure that they are good for our health! In stores like Target, Walmart and other specialty bedding shops you'll find a lot of beautiful designs. The web is filled with options, simply google "organic cotton bedding, duvets, sheets", etc.

2. MATTRESS-While we're on the subject of bedding, I couldn't jump ahead without mentioning mattresses. All of the mainstream mattresses that are available to us are filled with sythetic fibres, filling, formaldehyde and if you opt for stain guards, you up that factor. Organic mattresses are more expensive but well worth it in the end. Your new mattress will last you up to 10 years and you spend 1/3 of your life on it! Look for organic cotton, wool, and those without all of the nasty chemicals. You'll have a lot more available to you online but it is important to test it out before you buy it.

3. PAINT- One of the easiest and least expensive ways to transform a room, is with paint. Nearly every brand has a low or no VOC option available so you should never have to smell paint fumes again! They are generally a few dollars more per gallon but worth every penny! This is great news if you ever choose to paint in the winter or extremely hot summer months when opening the windows isn't really an option.

4. CANDLES- Traditional candles have lead wicks and are made from regular wax and artifical fragrances which can often contain phthalates and allergy triggers. They product black soot and smoke which is not healthy to be breathing in. Instead, opt for natural soy candles made with pure essential oils and contain lead-free wicks. My absolute favorite brand at the moment is actually Whole Foods' own brand. They are located in the personal care aisle and they have heavenly combined scents that I want to devour! They offer votives, travel candles, and those in glass containers. They burn for a long time and are well worth the extra investment. Another brand they offer is called Pacifica, they also happen to offer perfume too which smell amazing. A must-try for sure!

5. WINDOW TREATMENTS- When looking at replacing or putting up new blinds, consider the earthy look of bamboo. They offer beautiful blinds and because bamboo is a renewable resource, it's a great choice. If you are looking at drapery, be sure to investigate organic cotton fabrics and drapery. These are all great selections for shutting out summer's strong rays that often cause your home to heat up and your energy bill to soar. In the winter during the evening they help keep out a draft.

6. BATHROOM- If you've been thinking about getting a new decorative shower curtain, now's a great time. There are so many organic options that aren't just boring beige or cotton white. Organic has come a long way and many vibrant colors and pretty patterns are now within reach! The interior plastic shower curtain that you likely have can be swapped out for a healthier, more eco-friendly version too. The regular shower curtains off-gas a lot of chemicals when you take it out of the package (that is what the smell is)! You can purchase one from Target called EVA which does not off-gas any icky chemicals and a side benefit that I've noticed in my own shower is that it really does inhibit mildew growth, which is common in humid Florida. They are a bit more than the usual but I assure you they are strong and will last you far longer in the long run!

7. ACCESSORIES- While stores have a plethora of goods available, why not spend a lot less and have some fun by hitting some yard sales, investigating the thrift stores for unique finds, or hosting a home accessory swap with your friends? You'll come across some really great stuff and best of all your keeping someone else's items so they don't wind up in the landfill. You can always look on craigstlist too or visit a local antique store or even spend a Saturday at the Flea Market! You can find some great furniture for a fraction of the price that may just need a fresh coat of paint and voila you have a custom piece to complete your decor transformation!

I hope that you'll find some inspiration from some of these green suggetions and start to decorate the green home of your dreams!
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