Spring is the perfect time to get into a sustainable lifestyle if you haven’t started already. It’s time to liven up your eco-friendly home with fresh spring colors, natural materials, and hypoallergenic fabrics. You might even want to consider starting an indoor herb garden in your kitchen or backyard as part of your new eco-conscious lifestyle. Here are 8 easy ways you can get into the eco-trend just in time for Earth Day.
1. Hypoallergenic Bed Sheets and Pillow Covers
You spend a good amount of time in your bed. In fact, the average person, who sleeps about 7 or 8 hours a day, spends roughly one third of his or her life sleeping. That’s equivalent to 25 years! So it’s important to not only have a comfortable bed and hypoallergenic blankets and duvets, you also need hypoallergenic pillow covers, curtains, and throws.
Allergen free bedding or hypoallergenic bedding helps reduce dust mites, bed bugs, and other allergens. This is because hypoallergenic bed sheets are designed with a tight weave which prevents allergens from being trapped in the fibers. Hypoallergenic bedding will not only reduce allergens, the tightly woven material will also absorb any moisture or sweat during your sleep, which will protect your mattress. So if you don’t want bed bugs or dust mites, and want to help Mother Earth, opt for a healthy and eco-friendly bedroom with hypoallergenic bedding.
2. Natural Fiber
Organic cotton, linen, bamboo, and hemp are four kinds of natural fibers that can be used to produce hypoallergenic fabrics and materials that you can add to your home decor. Natural fibers and sustainable fabrics will last longer than synthetics with proper care and maintenance. Hemp is typically stronger and more durable than cotton and requires less chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides than cotton to grow in large quantities. Bamboo is a strong plant that grows pretty fast. Bamboo requires little water to thrive and does not need pesticides. In addition to being hypoallergenic, bamboo is also fast drying, super absorbent, and is naturally antibacterial, which makes bamboo an excellent material for pillow covers and towels.
Organic cotton, which is produced without pesticides, helps alleviate the Earth of pollution and waste. Organic cotton can be found in natural colors such as cream or soft brown. Another Earth-friendly option is linen. Linen is made from flax plants and is one of the most sustainable, long lasting fabrics you can find. Linen can last up to 20 years with proper care. It is also breathable and is naturally hypoallergenic. Like bamboo, flax plants do not require a tremendous amount of water or energy to grow. Like organic cotton, linen is available in natural colors, but some linen may have minimal dye and coloring. For a hypoallergenic and an eco-friendly home, stick with natural fibers and colors and ditch the dyes and chemicals.
3. Upcycle Reclaimed Material and Antique Furniture
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Make a statement and save the planet with stylish restored furniture or refurbished pieces. Wood furniture such as a vintage wooden dresser or side table can easily be refinished, re-painted, or repurposed in a transitional home decor. Reclaimed wood or salvaged wood can be used to make a bed frame, table, or chair. Green furniture is a great trend that you can be proud of. The craftsmanship and carpentry that were used to make antique furniture is rare to find in today’s mass-produced-everything world. You can really make an ecological impact today by choosing reused furniture. For an eclectic home decor, mix modern styles with vintage pieces in your green home.
4. Thrifting and DIY
If you’re crafty and have a knack for DIY, consider reupholstering chairs and sofas. Make it your own with a Chinoiserie Chic floral pattern or big bloom print. You can reupholster a worn leather footstool or ottoman with a beautiful fabric such as velvet. Trendy colors for a velvet statement chair or floor cushions are red, green, blue, ultraviolet, yellow, or burnt orange. Build storage space for your home with reclaimed wood that can be used as floating wall shelves or bookcases. In the kitchen, refinish wood cabinets and switch to brass or bronze cabinet knobs and pulls for a trendy look. Likewise, you can repurpose or DIY an old dresser with new Chinoiserie Chic wallpaper or vinyl. If you’re artistically inclined, you can even hand paint big blooms on the drawer fronts. For a nice surprise, you can also line the bottom of each drawer with a fun wallpaper print.
5. Sustainable Floor Tiles
Go green with porcelain and ceramic floor tiles. Porcelain tiles and ceramic tiles are a sustainable choice as a floor material because they will last for many years. They also require less maintenance than wood floors, which means you don’t have to use a lot of chemicals to clean your kitchen or bathroom floor tiles. Unlike vinyl floors which need to be replaced every few years, porcelain and ceramic floor tile pieces can be replaced as needed. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are perfect for high traffic and wet areas. They will also increase the value of your home and add style to your home decor. If you like the look and warmth of hardwood floors but want the benefits and practicality of porcelain tiles, make the smart and eco-friendly choice and opt for wood look porcelain tiles.
6. Natural Cleaning Solutions
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Say goodbye to chemicals and harsh cleaning products and solutions. Choose natural laundry detergents and cleaning solutions that use less chemicals and little to no fragrance. You can also mix your own homemade cleaning solution made with only baking soda and vinegar. You can use this mix to polish silverware, clean the stove and countertops, and get rid of grease and grime.
Home fragrances are full of chemicals that are harmful to the environment (and, arguably, to people); yet, these products can be found everywhere from local pharmacies and supermarkets to big box department stores. For a healthy and eco-friendly home, opt for less perfumes and artificial scents and opt for essential oils instead. Essential oils have many benefits when diffused. Not only are essential oils a more sustainable choice over aerosol sprays, essential oils have the added health benefit of being able to help uplift your mood, clear your mind, help you focus, and relax. Some essential oils can be added to homemade cleaning solutions for a light fragrance or to disinfect surfaces (since certain essential oils have anti fungal or antibacterial properties). Alternatively, you can choose lightly scented soy candles that will also add a nice ambiance to your home.
7. Energy Efficient LED Lights
Make the switch to LED lights to help reduce energy consumption and keep your energy bill low. This spring, get into the spirit of Earth Day by getting into the habit of turning off lights and unplugging items that are not in use. Even small acts such as flicking off a light switch whenever you leave a room or unplugging kitchen appliances after each use can have a big impact on the environment. On top of that, by turning off the lights when you’re not in the room, you are further reducing your electricity bill by decreasing the amount of energy needed to cool the room in summer — since lights are a heat source which can increase the temperature in the room. You’re also reducing the chances of electrical fires by unplugging unused devices. Practice this habit in the office, too, by turning off the computer or printer when not in use. If you don’t want to make the switch to LED lights and find it challenging to remember to turn off lights, install motion sensor light switches that can turn lights on or off automatically.
8. Water Efficient Faucets
One of the most affordable and sustainable ways to upgrade to a green home is to swap out your old kitchen faucet or bathroom faucet for a water efficient faucet, especially if you have a leaky faucet. Today’s faucet brands are designed with ceramic discs to solve the issue of drips and leaky faucets. The ceramic valves or discs block water from flowing. This simple watertight seal instantly prevents or fixes a leaky faucet. They are maintenance free, durable, and most are resistant to corrosion, rust, mineral build up, and debris. Many faucets have features such as low flow or low water pressure settings. You can also preset water temperatures so that you don’t have to run the water and adjust the faucet handle to get the right temperature. You can also help reduce waste by opting out of plastic water bottles and choosing a kitchen faucet that has a filter.