The new year presents new opportunities to add sustainable style to your home. At first glance, you can probably come up with a few potential updates for various rooms.
From replacing the floors to adding modern appliances, your house holds plenty of potential for greener living and comfort. Here are six ideas for decorating your home sustainably in 2023.
1. Refresh Your Home With Low-VOC Paint
Sometimes, you only need a fresh coat of paint to liven your living space. Whether it’s the walls or old furniture, painting adds a clean look to your home or the chance to add a pop of color.
However, conventional household paint contains harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) — ethyl acetate, acetone and glycol ethers — that are toxic to the environment and hazardous to your health. In addition to their carcinogenic effects on humans, VOCs absorb infrared radiation and alter ozone levels, indirectly contributing to global warming.
Opt for low-VOC or no-VOC paint products when selecting interior paints to redecorate your home. You’ll improve your indoor air quality and low your environmental impact.
2. Build a Backyard Habitat for Local Wildlife
Allow 2023 to be the year you enhance your landscaping to accommodate local wildlife. Consider building a backyard habitat to entice pollinators and reintroduce other essential species.
According to the National Audubon Society, nearly 150 million acres of habitat have disappeared due to urban sprawl in the United States. Fortunately, adding native plants will restore some of the ecosystems that were lost. Native plants are beneficial for the following reasons:
- Already adapted to the region’s climate
- Require little maintenance
- Less need for irrigation, helping you conserve water
- Effective at sequestering carbon dioxide
- Provide food and shelter for various species
You could even add a small pond in your at-home habitat. Just be sure to include a water pump for adequate circulation with reduced noise capabilities for a more tranquil setting.
3. Buy Local, Artisan-Made Decor
Are you looking to spruce up your built-in shelves or console? Head to a craft fair or artisan boutique. Although an excellent way to connect with your community, shopping for local, artisan-made decor is also good for the environment and supports the local economy.
Often, buying local goods provides greater assurance of the product’s sustainable production — items imported from overseas may have gone through different manufacturing processes and contain harsh chemicals and byproducts. Additionally, you lower transportation emissions when you shop locally.
4. Install Energy-Efficient Home Technology
When most people think about energy efficiency, solar panels or smart thermostats probably come to mind. Smart thermostats allow you to program the unit to jump on right before you come home from errands or work and account for household occupancy to lower energy consumption and utility bills.
Yet, older appliances also consume a lot of energy. If you’re focusing on decorating your kitchen more sustainably in the new year, consider upgrading your stove, refrigerator or microwave.
For instance, an Energy Star-certified refrigerator is 9% more efficient than standard models, saving homeowners over $260 over the product’s life span. You can purchase sleek, modern appliances while reaping the benefits of energy-efficient performance.
5. Purchase Sustainable Linens
The textile industry is known for being highly wasteful with a negative environmental impact. According to the World Economic Forum, fashion manufacturing accounts for 10% of human-induced carbon emissions, including excessive water consumption. Additionally, 85% of textiles go to landfills annually, while laundering them sends thousands of plastic particles into the oceans.
When buying new bed linens, bathroom towels, curtains or throw rugs, look for items made from sustainable materials, such as plant-based recycled cotton, organic hemp, organic linen, recycled wool and TENCEL lyocell. Additionally, the OEKO-TEX logo on the label ensures the product was made sustainably while protecting natural resources.
6. Incorporate Natural Elements
Create a calming indoor environment that draws elements from nature, such as the following:
- Seashells in a bowl as a centerpiece
- Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood floating shelves
- Houseplants and windowsill herbs
- Natural wood furniture
- Bamboo flooring
- Natural sunlight
There are many creative ways to decorate sustainably in the new year with natural elements. Studies have even shown viewing nature improves stress and fatigue as a form of therapy.
Choose Sustainable Décor in 2023
Decorating sustainably in 2023 will help you on your journey toward green living while improving your home’s indoor air quality and the environment. Just remember to properly recycle, landfill and donate what you get rid of as you make room for new items.
Jane is an environmental writer and the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she covers sustainability and eco-friendly living.
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