Does spring time call forth the need for a home makeover? It sure does for us – and our spring seems to be making an early appearance this year. Especially now, I love to decorate by going green and adding a whole lot of nature elements, and bring the outdoors, indoors.
We’ve already been doing a massive clean out, with three large trips to the thrift store to drop things off. This is also a good time to invest in some energy saving, eco-friendly changes! I am looking around as I write this … and feel it is also a good time to re-pot some plants, and perhaps bring a few new ones in. Anyhow, here are some ideas for refreshing your decorative interior, while upping the eco-friendliness of your home.
Freshen Up with Some New Green Plants
Avoid those chemical air fresheners, many of which contain perfumes that can irritate allergies! Air fresheners also have to be replaced regularly and can cost a small fortune. House plants, on the other hand, are inexpensive, beautiful, and are natural air fresheners, perfect for going green. If you’re looking for some indoor plant ideas, check out my post here.
They turn carbon monoxide into oxygen and absorb toxins from the air. Succulents, cacti, and orchids are fabulous options to start with. I love adding succulents to the window ledge in the bathroom!
Assess Your Lighting, Update Your Lamps
We just got rid of a standing lamp that we’ve had for years, tucked behind the couch. The intention was there, to use it when we were all sitting around reading or visiting. However, it was so big and heavy, awkward and tippy, that it never got used! Lighting has always been very important to me, as I’ve always been big on atmosphere and setting a mood.
So now I’m on the lookout for a lighter version of a behind-the-couch lamp that hangs. One need not sacrifice style to go green with your lighting. Simply replacing your existing bulbs with CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Bulbs) will cut your energy costs.
Ditch the TV (or Use a Small LCD one)
We also recently took a tech break … no wifi, and no cable for two weeks. And it was amazing. But alas, we have a new TV now, and we’ve gotten rid of our cable plan. Trips to the library for DVDs are where we are at, and I’m loving the simplicity. Smaller, LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) TVs use less electricity than plasma, and the smaller the TV the more energy-efficient.
These are used in multiple places in our home. Power strips are an energy-saving option because they can be turned off, cutting power to multiple electronic devices all at once. Devices that are plugged in still use electricity even when turned off, especially if the appliance has a rechargeable battery. We also unplug the wifi overnight.
Up-cycle with Wood Furniture
There can be such great finds made at garage sales and thrift stores! There is even furniture that is made from collected wood, such as fallen trees or driftwood. This kind of furniture can be purchased (check out the many gorgeous driftwood pieces available from One Kings Lane, like the lamp below) or, if you really want to save money, collect and make something yourself.
You can assemble driftwood pieces artistically and glue them together into a mirror orpicture frame, for example, or use a cross-section of a fallen log as an end table. A friend of mine’s husband made all of their dining room furniture this way, and I have yet to come across something so beautiful in the way of tables and chairs.
10 Green Ways to Bring the Outdoors, Indoors:
I’m sure you already know how enjoyable decorating using natural materials can be. You can purchase items that are made from natural materials, and there are things you can do yourself using items from nature. Here are some ideas from both angles:
Add natural fibers wherever possible – try adding some flair to your home and furniture with beautiful rugs and throws made of bamboo and jute. This is a great way to green up your flooring. My favorite way of updating my home decor with natural elements is with oriental decor. The simplicity and beauty is stunning in most pieces.
For furniture, wicker is always an affordable, natural option. And it is beautiful! I can recall the fun I had swinging in a suspended wicker chair that my mother had when I was a child. You can also obtain (or make) furniture from natural branches and logs. Wooden chairs with woven cane seats are natural and attractive.
Rocks and stones are stunning. Stone is a natural material that makes lovely, durable tabletops, candle holders, fountains, and other decorative objects. A simple project that we have done is to make coasters by gluing rocks onto square cut-out mesh pieces. It was also a great project for getting the kids out to collect stones!
Try making picture frames using twigs or branches. Use a combination of hot glue, small nails, and twine to fasten the twigs or branches at the corners. You can mount paintings, photos, mirrors, etc. into this kind of frame.
Fill clear vases, baskets or bowls with pine cones, acorns, pebbles, or seed pods. So much fun, my kids love this!
Metals are natural materials. Copper and iron are earth-toned favorites for wall decorations, lamps, and tables. You’ve probably seen indoor wall fountains in spas and massage clinics. Many of these are made with copper and other earthy materials. An added benefit to indoor fountains is that the running water produces negatives ions, which is stress reducing, air clearing, and naturally humidifying.
Wall and door hangings can be made with natural materials. Twigs and evergreens can be woven into wreaths and swags. Another way to make a wreath is to hot glue natural objects such as acorns or pine cones to a homemade (or store-bought) hoop. Divine!
Dried flowers arranged in pitchers or vases make homey, natural decorations. You could make a lovely scented potpourri for any room in the house, or create an arrangement of your favorite dried flowers.
Display natural collections such as rocks, shells, and feathers in clear shadow boxes. For “flat” collections such as pressed leaves, feathers, or flowers, try using them as a table design. Lay a piece of natural paper on the top of your table, arrange the collection on the paper, and cover with a sheet of glass.
If you are like me and have a lot of books, you may wish to green up and beautify your shelves with some gemstone bookends. We have a set of white and a set of blue agate bookends, and they have traveled many a mile with me. I adore them!
Paint interesting twigs black or white and use as permanent “flower” arrangements in a vase. Use pebbles or other natural items to anchor the twigs.
And of course, if you have a collection of natural items, rocks or sticks that have been gathered by you or your children on walks and hikes … well now you have plenty of ideas of what to with them. Kids naturally have some great ideas when it comes to how you can green up your home. Enjoy!