Goal For The Green

Para-education and green living information

How to go Green Creatively

May-7-2013 By Barbara Zak
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Guest Post by Aimee Claire

Living in an environmentally-friendly manner can extend into all areas of one’s life, including the design and furnishing of the home. Instead of being boring and unattractive, eco-friendly furniture is a very stylish alternative to standard furniture. Wooden furniture, made from materials harvested from certified forests, is one of the most popular options for eco-friendly furniture, and a wide variety of designs, both modern and traditional, are available in stores and online.

Eco-friendly wooden furniture

Unlike standard wooden furniture, eco-friendly wooden furniture is constructed from a variety of different woods that are harvested from approved sites around the world. Certified growers nurture trees from the seedling stage, constantly renewing the crop by planting new trees when old trees are felled.    Venice_range

Bamboo is also a popular material that is used to make eco-friendly wooden furniture. This kind of furniture is frequently made to look like wood. Bamboo furniture is also popular because of its sustainability, since bamboo is such a fast-growing and hardy grass.

Green furniture design tips and advice

Whether a major remodeling or just freshening up a single room, designing the interior of a home in an eco-friendly way is a great opportunity to be creative. Start by refurbishing or repurposing furniture that is already in the house. Refinishing an oak dining table or adding a fresh coat of paint in a color that complements the room décor can brighten a room and change its mood almost immediately.

If paint is the finish of choice, choose a non-toxic type. Many paints contain volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that release chemicals into the atmosphere of the home. Low-VOC or no-VOC paints are available and are especially important if there are children in the home, or if the piece of furniture being painted will form part of a child’s room. The same goes for wall paint, and wallpapers should be avoided as the adhesives that are used to attach them to the wall also contain toxins.

Furniture with fabric coverings can be easily re-covered, either by a professional upholsterer or as a do-it-yourself project. A wide variety of naturally-sourced fabrics can be used to cover sofas and chairs; there are also many materials that mimic leather, suede and other animal hides, offering a green alternative to these materials.

Eco-friendly flooring and floor coverings

Having a green home starts from the bottom up, so selecting eco-friendly flooring and floor coverings is an important first step towards creating an environmentally-friendly home. Bamboo flooring is one of the most attractive, long-lasting and greenest choices for flooring that is available. With higher fiber content than most hardwoods, bamboo offers a comfortable alternative to standard flooring. It is also safer, as it doesn’t contain the harmful chemicals that many standard flooring materials emit. Bamboo can also be recycled when it has worn out.

If wood flooring is not the best option for a room, tiling may be a better way to go. Some floor tiles are environmentally-friendly, produced using green technology, and have the added bonus of providing warmth to the home by providing thermal insulation.

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  1. Shi Said,

    I absolutely love this article. The green initiative is growing but there are still some ideas that people just haven’t grasped. It does come down to the things you wouldn’t regularly think about like what kind of furniture to purchase or have in your home, as well as flooring options. Many people don’t recognize the damage that manufacturing tons of has on the environment. Wood flooring is an awesome option for the home; add a hand made rug on top and it will look and feel ten times better than carpet ever did! Another great option is laminate wood flooring – its good on your joints and is very durable. Can also be a greener option some times than hard wood itself, depending. Be sure to visit USwoodflooring.com for excellent wood flooring installers in Miami .
    Thanks again for the awesome post and information!

  2. Barbara Zak Said,

    @ Shi,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. :) I totally agree with you about wood floors
    over carpet. It is the true answer for allergy sufferers.There is so much that
    gets trapped in carpet. However, there are also great green carpet cleaning options
    available, too. As for furniture, I love re-purposing, and I sure have been
    running into deals lately. It is so much fun!

  3. Solid Oak Dining Said,

    also agree this is a great article.

    I think the responsibility should be widened from consumer to retailer to supplier to the factories themselves. The onslaught of oak furniture in the last few years requires considerable consideration for the environments those trees are being farmed from. There is talk of making it compulsory for retailers to have specific knowledge and proof of the sustainability of the forests that the wood furniture they source comes from – on the face of it a great idea, but incredibly difficult to police, and the difference in trading conditions between the UK and say, Vietnam means you would need a great deal of faith in the supply chain – im not sure I could commit to being confident in this without physically going and looking for myself. A lovely jaunt no doubt – but very costly!

  4. Barbara Zak Said,

    @ Solid Oak Dining,

    Thank-You for this very insightful comment. I am in agreement with you.
    I’m pretty sure this particular detail slips the minds of most consumers.
    Yet, it would be nice to know when getting a beautiful and long lasting
    piece of furniture, about the sustainability of the forest from which it came.