Whether you’re building, have just moved into a new home or are renovating your current room, considering eco-friendly materials can be a healthier decision for both you and the environment. Here are some floor-to-ceiling options for your space.
Introduce sustainable products to your room starting from the ground up. Flooring is a significant investment during any remodel, but the price of eco-friendly options are holding pace with more conventional products these days.
Cork is a natural product that doesn’t require cutting down the tree for harvest. The cork is a bark that actually grows outside the tree and is shaved off. Cork is anti-microbial and fire resistant.
Bamboo, increasingly used in many products from building materials to socks, continues to see a rise in popularity because of the quick regrowth and environmentally friendly growing practices.
Glass tiles, concrete and rubber are other options. If you are looking for carpet, check into wool or those made with recycled plastic (PET).
In your effort to bring the green into your bedroom, choose any color of recycled paint. More and more companies are recycling unused paint, bringing it back to life instead of adding to the waste stream. There are also paints with soybean and sunflower oils as well as recycled plastic for the resin. Vegetable matter, clay, chalk and other natural materials are just some of the options paint manufacturers have incorporated into their products.
With new flooring and wall color, it might be time to switch out the bedroom furniture, too. Fortunately, there are many furniture options that offer a sustainable solution. You can choose from bamboo and other natural woods, of course. But then there are furniture options made with recycled materials like the Sactional, which recycles water bottles in the manufacturing process. Buying pre-owned items is another earth-friendly option. If you decide to buy new, look for companies with good sustainability practices like West Elm, which is FSC- and fair-trade certified and made in the U.S.
Incorporating houseplants into your interior design not only adds visual interest and the calming vibes of nature, but also freshens the air by adding oxygen and removing carbon dioxide. Plants in your bedroom can hang from a hook in the ceiling, sit in a window sill or rest on a piece of furniture. One tricky thing about houseplants is that photosynthesis mostly takes place during the day, which means they may release that carbon dioxide back into the air while you’re sleeping. Certain plants such as orchids, succulents, snake plants and bromeliads, however, work in the opposite way, cleaning up the air while you slumber.
Even though plants help, commercially available air purifiers can really filter out allergens. They come at a cost though — to both your pocket and the waste stream. Instead, look into eco-friendly options to purify your bedroom air like the low-power consuming Andrea Air Filter that uses plants to more effectively filter the air. Another option is the Chikuno Cube, a natural air purifier made from an ultra-fine powder of activated bamboo charcoal and clay minerals.
Himalayan pink salt has natural purification capabilities. This material is available in a variety of lamps that also offer a unique touch to your decor. To minimize the pollutants in your room from petroleum-based candles, incorporate natural beeswax candles instead.
If you must have electronics in your room, be sure to choose those that use less energy and produce less waste. Start by checking out the Energy Star label on any televisions you consider purchasing. An even more in-depth rating comes from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, or EPEAT. Products with this certification have met standards in eight key areas of environmental concern such as material selection, post-consumer waste, packaging and extension of lifecycle. If you are replacing an old TV, be sure to recycle it responsibly.
Another product that might be in your bedroom is a computer. Newer models have become quite eco-friendly, too, but you have to look a little harder for them. Our favorite example is the options from iameco, a Dublin company that offers a 10-year design with replaceable and upgradable parts. The computers use less energy than others on the market and the casing is made from wood rather than plastic.
Another source of energy consumption in your room is lighting. For a central light, a ceiling fan can work double-time as a light and fan, which can make the room more pleasant while offering some energy savings. For wall- or ceiling-mounted lights, look for products made with natural or recycled materials. Consider buying secondhand to intercept products from entering the waste stream.
Also pay attention to the bulb. Standard halogen incandescent, compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) and light emitting diode (LED) bulbs uses significantly less energy than an old-school incandescent.
We’ve covered a lot of the germane materials you might add to your room during a remodel or upgrade, but also consider your covers. Sheets, blankets and comforters can have a significant environmental impact. Choose organic cotton instead of standard cotton, which creates chemical runoff.
There are several certifications you can look for in your linens, each with its own standards and criteria regarding sourcing and types of materials, treatment of employees and environmental practices. These include Certified B Corporation, Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX®, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Green Business Certification.
Images via Shutterstock