The first thing most homeowners think about when decorating or renovating their homes is probably the budget. While the cost certainly matters, various environmental considerations also play a role in nearly every step of the design process. Yet, many owners often overlook them. This is mostly due to the common misconception that going green with your interior design means that you’ll have to sacrifice the style and elegance of your home. Well, we’re here to set the record straight and tell you that this is nothing but a myth. To disprove this false idea, we’ve assembled a list of some of the best interior design ideas that are both sustainable and economical. So let’s dive right in.
Layered, Energy-Efficient Lights
The kind of light you choose can drastically transform the space. So, why settle for just one when you can use different types of lighting to create the kind of mood you want when you want it! From the subtle and soft wall fixtures that provide a cozy ambiance to the intricate and elegant pendant chandelier that acts as an impressive centerpiece, layering your lights will give you much better control over the ambiance. Surely, you can’t forget about your bold and modern collection of table and floor lamps that will easily allow you to make a contemporary statement in any room.
When choosing your fixtures, opt for those made from recycled or eco-friendly materials. According to Mesa AZ General Contractor Bruce Gardner Co, using recycled, natural, or sustainable elements is a major trend in interior design this year. So, you can go with a simple yet elegant bamboo table lamp, or a unique pendant chandelier made from recycled wine bottles. This way, you can save resources, energy, and money.
Now, with all these different light sources, you need to be careful about energy consumption, which is why we strongly recommend that you avoid incandescent bulbs as they drain energy quickly. Instead, consider relying on a low-voltage system with halogen incandescent or compact fluorescent light bulbs. Although their initial cost might be a little higher than their traditional counterparts, they will save you more money down the road since they typically use less energy.
Mixed-Metal, Eco-Friendly Faucets
When it comes to the faucets in your kitchen or bathroom, combining different metal finishes can add character and depth to space, giving it an elevated, designer-like finish. You’ll want to mix a cool metal such as nickel or chrome with a warmer one like copper or brass. For a cohesive look, you should choose one dominant metal and combine it with only one or two metal accents to add visual appeal.
In light of the green approach you’re adopting, you should aim to optimize your water flow. Fortunately, you can do that without sacrificing your water pressure. Nowadays, many faucets come with a fixed flow rate that uses much less water. For instance, some of the most innovative, water-efficient models come with a 1.5 gallon per minute (GPM) flow rate, which reduces your water consumption by up to 32%. As for your shower head, ideally, you should select one with a flow rate of fewer than 2.5 GPMs.
Recycled Glass Tiles
Because your bathroom is probably one of the busiest rooms in your house, you’ll want to ensure that every part of it offers both value and function. For many homeowners, this can put a damper on their creativity. But actually, there are many ways that you can decorate your bathroom without compromising its function, and one of them is by using recycled glass for the wall tiles. These tiles will reflect the light, adding a sparkly and almost magical quality to your bathroom. You can also find recycled glass countertops for your kitchen. These are not only environmentally-friendly, but they are also cheaper than granite or quartz.
Neutral, VOC-Free Paint
Paint is perhaps the easiest and cheapest way to transform any space, but you need to watch out for VOCs. VOCs, volatile organic compounds, are chemicals found in many common household products including paints, cleaning products, and carpets. They contribute to many health problems that vary in severity, from eye irritation and headaches to liver damage and even cancer. Their harmful effects can be seen during the manufacturing process as well. The emissions produced in the making of traditional, oil-based paints with high percentages of VOC cause adverse environmental effects. To reduce your VOC exposure, use water-based paints or paints that are labeled ‘Low VOC.’
When it comes to choosing the colors, you should start by creating a color palette for the entire house and then see which color works best for every room. This will mostly depend on your personal preferences, but, generally, you can’t go wrong with neutral colors such as beige or gray as they give you the most flexibility when it comes to decorating, allowing you to mix and match your furniture as you please.
Natural Fiber Carpets
In recent years, hardwood floors have become the norm in pretty much every house, while carpets are increasingly becoming overshadowed. However, carpet flooring can give your space a softer, more comfortable feel. Plus, they come in a variety of colors, patterns, and textures so you can easily find the one that gives you the same elegance and sophistication as hardwood flooring.
Besides adding an aesthetic value, carpets also multifunction as thermal insulators, retaining up to 10% of the room’s heat, which will keep you from cranking up the thermostat as much during the cold, winter months, allowing you to save on your heating bill. Keep in mind that most rugs are made of synthetic fabrics that are filled with VOCs, so be sure to choose ones created from natural, biodegradable fibers such as wool and cotton.
As you can see, there are many ways that you can satisfy both your desire to be environmentally-responsible and your aesthetic taste without breaking the bank. By incorporating sustainable materials and products into your interior design, you’ll be doing your part to promote energy efficiency and responsibility while saving both your wallet and the environment some substantial costs down the line. So, whether you’re decorating your new house or you’ve decided to renovate your home, be sure to incorporate sustainability in your design philosophy. This way, you can go to sleep in your eco-chic home with a clear conscience knowing that you did your share in saving Mother Earth.