GREEN EARTH BAMBOO (January 24, 2011) – In a fit of inspired cabin-fever madness, I decided that my house needed a spruce up last week. Maybe I’ve been staring at the same four walls too long during this cold winter or quite possibly my brain needed a jump-start to get going on my new year’s resolutions. So with a budget in mind and environmental responsibility on my brain, I’m charging forward to change my house. You can too with these simple, frugal and eco-friendly tips on home re-decorating:
Rearrange your furniture – This won’t cost you a dime! My TV relocated to a large wall that I had previously used for a scattering of photographs. Once that focal point was established, the rest of the furniture fell into place and I have a new space to work with. The re-arranging has even allowed me space for a small bistro table in my large living area which means I might finally stop eating at my computer desk! If you’re not a jump-in-feet-first person like me, visit FloorPlanner.com to virtually plan your next move.
“Paint Green” – And no, I don’t mean paint everything green. Putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls is one of the easiest, most budget-friendly ways to revive your living space. Look for paints low in or free from VOCs (volatile organic compounds). These are the chemicals in conventional paints that can cause headaches and respiratory problems (a huge bonus since most of us won’t be able to open a lot of windows for this task). Make sure to use old sheets or re-useable tarps when you pain instead of the disposable plastic drop-cloths and look for paint trays made from recycled materials. An added bonus to eco-friendly paint: it tends to be pigment-rich meaning so it requires less coats to go on which translates to savings for you. (If anyone’s interested, I’m going Pale Smoke in the living room, Violet Pearl in the bedroom and am still debating on the bathroom color.)
Second-hand stores – If you find that new furniture or in my case, new lamps, are in order, brave the cold to do some browsing at second-hand stores in your area. The Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a great place to start along with the Salvation Army or Goodwill stores. If you have neither of those in your area, search for consignment shops in your yellow pages.
Windows & Lighting – Tired of looking at plain white blinds? Consider getting crafty and sewing your own curtains from old sheets you may have on hand. With a renewed in interest in saving money, sewing (and knitting) have regained a popular following. Check around in your area for sewing classes or sewing circles. If you are tired of the harsh lights of your current bulbs, replace the bulbs in your house with energy-saving ones like CFLs or LEDs.
Bedding – Since I’ve now given you two ways to re-use old sheets, your linen closet may be a bit bare. Consider investing in luxuriously soft bamboo sheets! They are made from a highly sustainable material and new bedding is a quick way to breathe new life into a bedroom. Take it one step further and replace old bathroom towels with organic towels. With most of us taking warmer showers than usual, soft and absorbent towels are a real treat to have on hand.
Now, not everyone is as excited at the idea of re-decorating the house. But if your eyes bugged out at your latest utility bill, maybe home maintenance is more on your mind. Visit Green Earth News Green Is Grand section for plenty of eco-friendly tips for the house and make sure to read about energy efficiency in the home.
— Stacey Irwin