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Decorating Diva: Going gaga for green home design

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Eco-friendly home updates

Welcome to Decorating Diva, where every week we share fresh, fun ways to update your home and spice up your living space! We do what we can to minimize our environmental impact – ditch the car in favor of walking or riding a bike, recycle, and eat locally and seasonably whenever possible, but we know there are always more eco-friendly choices to make. In honor of Earth Day we wanted to find ways to be even greener – by giving our home décor choices an eco-makeover. Check out some of the ways we’ll be updating our home – minus any green guilt.

Green decor

Green is in

We asked Christopher Grubb, president of Arch-Interiors in Beverly Hills, California, for some green guidance where home décor is concerned, and he assured us that decorating with the environment in mind is not only the best earth-friendly option, it also happens to be on-trend. "Clients are requesting more and more to include green, sustainable products when we design their homes," he says. "They are very conscious they have a choice and as a designer, it has become much easier to find amazing products to fulfill their requests!"

He shared some of his top tips for making eco-conscious home décor choices.

1Pick the right paint

One of the best ways to give your home a facelift (without breaking the bank) is with a fresh coat of paint. But now you can go green with each stroke of your brush. Grubb says most paint companies are jumping on the eco-décor bandwagon with zero-VOC paints that are also odorless. VOC stands for "volatile organic compound," and as the name suggests, they aren't good for us, or the earth! Benjamin Moore Natura Paint is zero-VOC, as are Ecos Organic Paints.

2Find new uses for old things

Stop and think before you toss out home accents you're sick of, or replace an outdated piece of furniture. Why not reupholster a dated chair with a fun, fresh color, repaint an end table that has seen better days or re-cover a set of drab pillows in a fresh and lively hue? Plant pots can become candle holders, old picture frames can be reused to house mirrors or artwork and an oversize bookshelves can be moved -- and reused -- as a functional room divider. We're currently in posession of an old wooden nightstand just screaming out for a DIY makeover. All we need now is some zero-VOC paint in a hot color like honeysuckle or bright yellow.

3Choose green wall coverings

We're not talking about color (though green is a great choice for giving your space a fresh, lively look). We're talking about types of wallpaper, which Grubb explains are not all created equal. One of his go-to choices for covering walls in unique and stylish prints is Walnut Wallpaper, a California company that carries many eco-friendly options created sans harmful chemicals -- because let's face it, chemicals are not a home décor accent anyone should be interested in. Another wall covering company riding the eco-décor train is Innovations, which carries a wide range of products that are both beautiful and sustainable. Many of their products are made without harmful chemicals – a list of which can be found here. Grubb also touts grass cloth or bamboo wall covering as on-trend and eco-friendly options.

4Decorate with greenery

Give your space a no-impact facelift using plants. Not only will they breathe a big breath of fresh air into your home, with so many sizes and textures to choose from, plants are a no-brainer when it comes to adding color and style to any room with enough light. Some easy-to-care-for options (as in plants so low-maintenance even we can keep them alive) include English ivy, spider plant, Norfolk Island pine, jade plant, snake plant and dracaena. Plant your gorgeous greenery in ornate pots for an added dose of style.

5On-trend (and eco) textiles

Grubb says that when it comes to fabrics, manufacturers are now offering more and more options for products made from recycled content that look and feel as soft as their non-eco counterparts. In terms of carpets and area rugs, Grubb says wool, a soft and plush option, is also the most natural choice, but adds that sisal rugs are also a great option if you want a more architectural look. We found these lovely handcrafted sisal rugs at Pottery Barn. Many nylon carpets available are made from recycled nylon content, Grubb says and adds, "some carpets are even composed of recycled bicycle tires!" Now that's what we call green design.

You don't need to go eco-crazy and implement a ton of green design changes all at once, but it's a good idea to keep these and other environmentally friendly ideas on hand the next time you want to update your space

Decorating Diva

Your go-to destination for must-have home accents, on-trend design ideas and fun, friendly tips for updating every room in the house.


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