9 Steps to Decorating Your Home With Sustainability in Mind

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9 Steps to Decorating Your Home With Sustainability in Mind

Spring is the time for cleaning and decorating, as the longer days and fresh weather lend themselves perfectly to a spot of home improvements and DIY. The spring season puts spring in our steps and makes us more inclined to do jobs and chores that we may have previously been putting off.

But how do we go through decorating our homes without increasing emissions and generating lots of waste that needs to go to landfills?

Buy pre-loved items

Buying pre-loved furniture items is one of the most sustainable ways of decorating your home. 

If you’re adopting the “out with the old, in with the new” approach.

Consider how you will dispose of your old furniture to ensure minimal environmental impact.

In the UK, Countrystyle Recycling states, “It is important to separate your materials before taking your waste to your local waste management site. Most local waste management facilities should offer a [specific material] disposal or recycling service. Check in advance which facilities in your area offer this service. Try to choose a recycling option if you can.”

You can purchase dining tables, chairs, and sofas cheaply from websites like Gumtree and Freecycle. Recycled furniture purchased from a charity shop would have been professionally cleaned before the sale. Therefore you don’t need to worry about where or how long it has been. 

Whether this is from a second-hand furniture shop, a charity shop, or even somewhere specialising in creating reclaimed materials or tackling an upcycling project, re-using something that someone else has discarded means that thing won’t go to a landfill, you aren’t increasing your carbon footprint with manufacturing processes or delivery miles.

Waste management firm Countrystyle Recycling

Invest in long-lasting appliances.

If you would buy something new for your home sooner, make sure it is built to last. You don’t want to add to the planet’s woes by creating waste regularly further down the line. Plus, it will be a better investment in the long run if you don’t have to keep buying the same things repeatedly – the buy cheap, buy twice mentality.

This goes for furniture like beds, kitchen appliances and electrical items. Future-proofing your purchases as much as possible is better for the environment and your wallet.

Be careful with wood.

This may seem an unusual thing to look out for, with wood thought to be a naturally sustainable material, but deforestation is still a real consideration. Checking that an item’s lumber is made from is FSC certified means it has been produced in the most sustainable way possible. 

Look out for the FSC logo to be sure of its provenance. You can then guarantee it has been harvested with sustainability in mind.

Check your paint components.

If you are giving your home a lick of paint, opting for colours that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a must.

It is astounding to note that VOCs produce toxic emissions that will continue even when the paint is on your walls.

You will be directly contributing to the greenhouse gas effect and breathing in harmful toxins – albeit at low levels that won’t kill you.

Check your paint tins for ones that specifically state they are low VOC.

These same compounds can also be found in candles. So, if you enjoy the soft romantic glow of candlelight, always choose ones scented with essential oils and made with soy or beeswax.

Lighting up your life

Lightbulbs were one of the first changes to become more environmentally friendly. It was quickly recognised that standard halogen tungsten filament lightbulbs drew far more energy than LED alternatives. It is now virtually impossible to purchase any lights not utilising LED technology

9 Steps to Decorating Your Home With Sustainability in Mind, UK Energy Lighting.
Picture credit: UK Energy Lighting

Fairy lights can add to the ambience of a room, while standard lamps and bedside lamps give a cosier feel than the more stark overhead or wall lighting.

Use thermal curtains

amount of light that can filter through them, ensuring that we sleep longer on summer mornings when the sun rises early. 

Going an extra step and putting up thermal curtains will also mean keeping the heat in the room rather than letting it escape, so you need to use less energy to heat and keep it warm. Not only is this a more sustainable approach, but with the rising energy costs in the UK, it could save you considerable money.

Introduce houseplants

Plants naturally ingest carbon dioxide, reproduce it like oxygen, and absorb harmful toxins, thereby purifying the air around them. Putting plants in your bedroom has been shown to help you sleep better and all the other benefits their green credentials bring to your home.

Avoid laying new carpets.

Natural wood is the most eco-conscious flooring material. However, mock laminate wood is better than carpets. The manufacturing process of carpets produces nasty chemicals trapped in the wool and released gradually over the carpet’s lifetime and into your home.

Also, even the most hardwearing carpets realistically last fewer than ten years before they need replacing – so you and the planet will go through the whole process again.

Dispose of waste responsibly.

Once you are into the swing of your home improvements, you will likely need to throw things out that you no longer want or have decorating waste that needs to be disposed of.

Items that can be sent to a charity shop or somewhere to be recycled or reused should be considered for donation.

Anything else, including items that can’t be recycled as quickly, can be collected by waste disposal firms that specialise in recycling what they contain rather than sending it to landfills.

You could get a skip set up outside your house or arrange a professional waste disposal company to manage the waste from you directly, so you know where it is going and how your unwanted items can be recycled. The last thing you want is your waste to be fly-tipped or sent to landfills unnecessarily.

Final thoughts

We offer a bed and mattress disposal service when you buy a new bed from us, so you can be sure it is removed responsibly and all parts are recycled where possible.

Recognising the good and bad aspects of decorating materials, furniture, and appliances is half the battle in home improvements and DIY projects. If you can find and use less harmful products, you can rest assured that you have done your bit when doing it yourself.

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