Creating a Greener Home
|Photo by SweetCrisis at Free Digital Photos|
I’m an environmental nut. I mean, who doesn't want to be Al Gore’s best friend. (haha) I also have an interest in home improvement. (You must think that these interests are a bit mismatched.) I’ve had to deal with a lot of people’s skewed perceptions about balancing eco-friendliness and home décor. Home improvement does involve a lot of change, but some people don’t think they can accommodate Mother Nature’s needs while they change things around. That’s because people tend to think that being eco-friendly takes away from style.
Well, I’m here to show you that you can be green and elegant at the same time. Here are SIX eco-friendly home improvement ideas for your home which match substance with style:
1. Floor themNothing says class better than a hardwood floor. I think one of the most beautiful sounds is the sound of clacking heels on a hardwood floor. How is using wood eco-friendly, you ask? It’s called reclaimed wood. Waste timber can be turned into a gorgeous wooden floor. A demand for this recycled wood will keep the sale of new wood in check, which will reduce the pressure on our forests. Wouldn’t you feel better walking on something that saves Mother Earth and looks fabulous while doing it?
2. Open the windowWindows can be eco-friendly? You betcha! The United States Department of Energy’s website has an entire section dedicated to energy efficient household fixtures including windows. Energy efficient windows cut down on your energy costs by a mile, which makes a considerable difference to the environment. And trust me when I say that you don’t have to compromise on style one bit. Now energy-saving windows come in all sorts of beautiful designs.
3. The roof over your headHere you go, another ratification from the trusty Department of Energy. Keep the weather out and keep your energy costs manageable. It makes for a cleaner, happier environment. The sustainability road has come a long way and even roofing material now has an element of style! Here’s a beautiful example from Champion windows.
4. Change your doorsAgain, you wouldn’t have thought that it would be that easy, right? Door replacement is a must if you own an old house (and security is only one of the reasons). Reduce energy costs, and give your house a different look—just by changing your door. A door with a wood finish can give your house some extra class.
5. Color your worldDid you know that the paint you use on your walls can have a harmful effect? Your paint emits something called volatile organic compounds (VOC) like formaldehyde that reduce indoor air quality considerably. Ensure that you use paints that are low in VOCs while remodeling your home. Lighter colors which are lower in VOCs will give your home an elegant, refined appeal.
6. Be a designerWhile remodeling your home, the words ‘recycle’ and ‘reuse’ should be at the top of your mind if you’re trying to go green. If you have old furniture, don’t discard it. Instead, design something new with it. Make a coffee table out of your old wooden cabinet, or a chair out of that ancient dresser in your attic! Be creative and innovative. Think of ways to reuse the materials in your house in elegant, interesting ways.
As Kermit the frog once said, “It’s not easy being green.” Well, he’s right. You’ll have to change your mindset a little and become more environmentally conscious. But at the end of the day, it’s all worth it. These steps will help you add a touch of green elegance to your home.