Photo Courtesy: Benjamin Claverie
Green furnishings are getting increasingly popular, and the demand for quality second-hand items is pushing up their price tag. Learn how to source great home furnishings that suit the environment as well as your budget.
Eco-friendly furniture can be found in all sorts of places – you can seek out the latest sleek Eco-gadgets to deliver long term affordability to your home’s energy needs, or look for pre-loved furnishings in garage sales or auctions that will give your home a lived-and-loved personality, full of stories and character, as well as being fabulously green.
There are plenty of different options for your home – but you’ll need to be creative and think outside the box in order to create a spectacular Eco-living space. The market is flooded with brilliant and chic environmentally friendly designs – so keep your eyes open for well crafted furnishings that are finished perfectly and will last for years to come.
Try to combine your practical needs as well as the aesthetic ones – choose functional items that compliment your interior decor. For example, a second hand wood burning stove in the living space is useful, beautiful and long-lasting as well as fuel efficient and a truly ‘green’ heating option.
Even simple items should be chosen carefully – for example, natural wax based candles will be far better for the environment than synthetic ones, but then you have a choice between beeswax and soy and a variety of scents and sizes, not to mention manufacturers to opt among.
When you are faced with a difficult decision to make – say you’ve found an incredible product that suits your green needs and you love the design of – but it’s far too expensive than you had previously budgeted (you’ll find this a lot with Eco products), you then need to decide whether it’s worth it. That’s a tough one. And more often than not, if an Eco-product is over priced, it’s because it’s not the natural way to do things – it’s a modern convenience that someone has made Eco-friendly. For example, it’s normal to have wooden floors with rugs and sheepskins rather than truly expensive woolen carpets that will need to be constantly replaced.
Think logically and if in doubt, look to centuries’ old literature for a reminder of how things used to be done.
If you’re feeling artistic, why not create something unique for your home by hand? Let your home express your personality by giving it a bit of color and vibrancy through a hand painted family portrait, or a home stitched patchwork throw.
Homemade items can sometimes be tacky, so put your time, energy and love into the item to make sure it’s really special – take a professional class at a local college or learn from a time-honored master of the craft. That way you’ll also gain a new skill which you can keep for life, as well as having the ability to make awesome gifts for friends and family.
Use old scraps of fabric to create a knotted or braided rug for your floor, or use larger squares to create bed covers for the guest bedrooms. Use driftwood found on a local beach for a pretty decoration, and source pine-cones from a nearby forest to build sculptures worthy of a place on your dresser. Think outside the box, and search online for inspiration.
As well as recycling second-hand goods, you can simply be more Eco-friendly by choosing renewable materials for furnishing your country home. Bamboo, hemp, organic cotton, locally spun wool, wood, clay – these are all examples of materials you can choose that have great environmental profiles.
Try and opt for locally produced and manufactured furniture where you can to cut down on the cost of transportation. If you live in a forest, build a wooden home; if you live on clay-based earth, then build from clay. If you live in the English countryside, consider a thatched roof.
Some online Eco-friendly furnishings stores:
Eco Friendly Furnishings – Using recycled and reclaimed wood, this company creates beautiful bespoke designs for your country home, and the quality of craftsmanship is outstanding.
Biome Lifestyle – Bringing you a wide range of Eco and ethical furnishings, accessories and Eco-gifts to brighten up your home – including ideas for the bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom. Their fair trade Christmas decorations are cute and the recycled picnic set is the perfect compliment to a summer’s day feast.
Terra Furnishings – Earth friendly homewares and furniture, every item by them is absolutely stunningly designed and handmade from sustainable materials. Their twist stools will be a unique piece of art in any room of your country home, and their carved wall panels are so intricate.