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Decorating Diva: Green ways to decorate for the holidays

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-conscious Christmas decor

Welcome to Decorating Diva, where every week we share fresh, fun ways to update your home and spice up your living space! If you still have some holiday decorating to do, we suggest going green. Sure, green is a festive color (and one of our favorites) but this time we’re talking about decorating your home with an eco-conscious twist. We have the tips and tricks to help you do it.

Decorating Diva

Pinecone and cranberry Christmas display

We asked interior designers Christopher Grubb and Linda Turner of Arch-Interiors for their tips on decorating with the environment in mind this Christmas. They provided some simple strategies for going green this season – without compromising on style.

Use nature to create decorations

By using what you find in your own backyard you can save money and avoid buying items that may only get one or two uses. Seasonal evergreen plants, branches, berries, pine cones, nuts, dried fruit, squash and pomegranates all make great holiday decorations, the designers tell us. Use them to trim the tree, in floral arrangements or as a centerpiece for your holiday table. "Plants add a breath of fresh air and scent to a space," Turner says.

Recycle

We've all heard the saying about one person's trash as another person's treasure – and it's true. While we don't suggest you sift through the garbage, you can get lots of decor potential from gently used goods. Visit garage sales and thrift stores for unique accessories, fabric that can be turned into decorative holiday pillows and new (to you) ornaments. Or swap with friends and family to refresh your collection and theirs. Turner also suggests buying a collection of crystal or silver candlesticks at local thrift shops and using them to create beautiful groupings on your mantel or on your holiday table.

Focus on fabric

Colorful textiles can make a room pop and take it from drab to dazzling, but be mindful of what you choose. Add a festive tablecloth, table runner or placemats to the dining room but opt for sustainable fabrics like silk, cotton, wool and hemp that add great texture and are also good for the planet. It goes without saying, but it's important to always use cloth napkins and china instead of disposable paper products.

Stylish energy savers

With all of the holiday chaos it can be easy to use more energy than usual. But there are simple ways to conserve, the designers explain.

  • Light candles and a fire to create a warm and romantic atmosphere and save electricity.
  • Replace your holiday lights with LED lights. They last longer and use less electricity than conventional lights.
  • Switch out or add a second layer of draperies to your lighter summer drapery with heavier velvet or brocades in rich seasonal colors. It will add a festive touch and keep your house warmer without turning up the heat (which saves energy).

Use what you already have

Turner and Grubb suggest giving your home a holiday facelift without spending a cent by using what you already own.

  • Save left over holiday wrapping paper to make book covers - a trick that will add a festive touch to your book shelves.
  • Repurpose mismatched holiday ornaments by spray painting them in a theme color like gold, silver or white to unify them and give your tree a new look.
  • Use leftover holiday ribbon to make bows to mix in with your ornaments, wreaths and update the look of your tree.
  • Candy canes and gingerbread houses make great decorative elements, don't require you to buy anything new, and the kids will love them.

More from Decorating Diva

Holiday decorating on a budget
Creating a festive home for the holidays
8 Ways to warm up your home this winter

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