Reducing your carbon footprint goes far beyond recycling, solar panels and choosing non-toxic paint and flooring. The decor that you use in your home can also be environmentally-friendly as well. Today, designers are creating stunning pieces that are actually beneficial to your living space.
- Bamboo – This raw material exploded in popularity many years ago and has not lost its novelty. This renewable resource not only makes beautiful products, it grows back fast! Fresh bamboo shoots are always a great idea to bring any room to life as well.
- Recycled Glass – What else is there to do with recycled wine bottles, windshields and dinner plates besides make them into something spectacular. This glass is broken up into tiny pieces and then concrete holds it together. What you get are recycled countertops, tables, vases and more, made from materials that would have otherwise ended up filling landfills.
- Recycled Aluminum – Many manufacturers are recycling industrial scrap metal, soda cans, etc., to use as backsplashes, countertops, accent furniture, art and even sculptures for your garden.
- Cork – This is quickly becoming a preferred choice in flooring and is expected to be a material found in home accents in the near future. It’s durable, comfortable, water-resistant, contains no formaldehyde binders or PVC and is a renewable resource.
Other sustainable materials include environmentally-friendly ready mix concrete, recycled paper and natural plaster. Whether you’re considering paving your driveway, remodeling or redecorating, there are now an abundance of choices available to make a contemporary home, GREEN!
Do you know that out of all flooring options, vinyl and carpet pose the biggest threat to the environment and the air you breathe everyday in your home? 70 percent of carpet in the United States is made from nylon which is petroleum-based. Not only is this a non-renewable resource, it harbors allergens and chemicals that can make you sick. Vinyl is even worse because when it is produced, it causes dioxin which is a carcinogen and quite honestly, neither are biodegradable!
- Wool Carpet – This is fire-resistant, durable, hypoallergenic and stain-resistant. It offers springy fibers that bounce back so high traffic areas never wear down. Wool does come with a heavy price tab but you certainly get what you pay for.
- Sisal – The fibers from agave plant leaves make an easy-to-clean, durable and sound absorbent flooring.
- Other Plants – Seagrass, jute, abaca and coir are all fabulous choices! Interestingly, abaca is derived from the banana family and coir is made from coconut husks which dry fast so this is an ideal choice for humid environments.
- Linoleum – No, linoleum and vinyl are not the same thing despite what you may have heard. Linoleum is created from linseed oil, wood flour, cork dust, ground limestone, tree resins and pigments.
- Cork – Care to walk on air? That’s what this flooring feels like due to the tiny sealed air pockets it’s made of. This is a durable flooring. Even if you drop a weight on it, the floor will eventually spring back up. Cork is water-resistant, provides great insulation and will last almost five times longer than vinyl.
- Earthen – Created from clay, lime and sand, this is a floor perfect for cold areas because it holds heat. Earthen floors won’t dent, scratch, crack and they are unique and inexpensive.
If you are creating a modern home, also consider the health of you, your family and the environment and choose a green type of flooring.
Modern design is not only about aesthetics – it is about functionality, too. And in today’s world, functionality includes being good to the planet. We here at Padstyle embrace going green in our homes and our office, and we wanted to share some of the ways we are helping the environment without sacrificing our modern style.
- Consume less, recycle more. This might sound intuitive- and it is! But it also fits with a modern minimalist sensibility. Think about it – if you have fewer “things” cluttering up your home (think about that old china you haven’t pulled out since you were married, or those knicknacks on your shelves), it will appear more soothing and sophisticated.
- Upgrade your appliances. If you’ve ever wanted an excuse to re-do the kitchen, now’s the time. Newer appliances are usually energy-efficient, and will consume less electricity than their older counterparts. This not only means you can get that stainless steel kitchen set you’ve always wanted, but you’ll save a little money on your monthly bills, too.
- Use green cleaning products. Harsh chemicals are going the way of the dinosaurs, which is good news for the environment and your modern furniture as well. Natural, organic, and gentle cleaning formulas will be nicer to your wood veneers, microsuede and granite countertops than your old cleaning supplies.
- Going hardwood? Think bamboo. Bamboo can be harvested with more energy efficiency than other hardwoods, and it will be an eye-catching, unique addition to any living room or entryway.
- Consider your lawn an extension of your modern eco-friendly attitude. Landscape using trees to shade your house for extra insulation and flowerbeds or rock gardens over grass to reduce water consumption. This will help your home move to the next level of energy efficient, and gives you a good reason to re-design that boring sod into a beautiful style.