Going green is not difficult, but it does require a shift in mindset. Just like those who opt to go vegetarian after a lifetime of eating meat require an initial shift in their way of thinking. With time, however, it gets easier and ideas start coming to you instead of you having to chase them. If you are genuinely interested in moving toward an eco-friendly lifestyle, here are some suggestions that will get your mind jogging in the greener direction.
Critically examine your house
Think of yourself as a designer you have hired to give you ideas to inculcate greener variety of furniture and decor items in your home. Start with your porch (if you have one) or your living room, and in this room begin with the piece of furniture closest to the main door. Work your way through the rest of the house. Make a physical list of the materials these items and pieces use and look up their greener alternatives on the Internet.
Examples of green furniture include:
- hardwood furniture with organic paint and organic upholstery;
- eco-friendly window blinds or organic window shades;
- decorative items made of recycled glass, metal, wood, or stone; and
- wicker book racks, shelves, and baskets.
Similarly, think of the personal items you use throughout the day, and find greener, better alternatives to them. Gradually phase out the non-green items from your life.
Choose green wallpaper and paneling
Wallpapers and wall panelings are usually made of PVC and other toxic materials and paints. Apart from not being eco-friendly, they are also harmful to our health as we breathe the toxicity in. Green wallpapers are made of organic, non-toxic materials and oil- or water-based inks that are kind to nature as well as to our health.
Read up on nature-friendly materials
Focus on biodegradable materials when purchasing new items. Research the materials to the extent that you should be able to tell without consulting anybody which of these items are more eco-friendly than others. Once you know this you will find it much easier to pick up the right pieces for a green home. You will instinctively gravitate toward furniture items made of wicker, natural rubber, wood, etc., over those made of plastic.
Look for tribal inspiration
There continue to exist tribes all over the world who live away from civilization as we know it. They live in harmony with nature, which means they know a trick or two about instinctively choosing "green" ways. Some of this inspiration resides right in our backyard. Look up Native American pottery, sculptures, paintings, and tree-free greeting cards for eco-friendly decor ideas.
Other things you can do
Substitute synthetic or general PVC bedding material and curtains with breathable fabrics like cotton, wool, and linen. In your kitchen use pestle and mortar wherever you can, instead of the mixer, and save on electricity costs. In summers, store water in earthen pots, instead of the fridge, to keep it cool. Earthenware looks beautiful and is available in a great variety.
Make DIY and recycling your way of life
Repaint or remodel old furniture into something new. Think of new ways to use old and out-of-use bedsheets, curtains, pillows, jars, bottles, etc. Involving your family in this can make for great DIY projects. If you want to get rid of non-green furniture, sell it, recycle it, or give it away to charity instead of sending it to a landfill.