7 Expert Eco-Friendly Home Design and Remodel Tips

7 Expert Eco-Friendly Home Design and Remodel Tips

Small Projects and Repairs
Decoration and Design
Additions and Remodels
By Contractors.com Team May 06, 2021

Let’s cut right to the chase: living as eco-friendly as possible is better for the environment and it’s better for you.

That the impacts of climate change have been and are estimated to be significant is not news. With global temperatures constantly rising the results amount to things like an extended growing season for agriculture. CO2 emissions threaten our health, wildlife, and increase the frequency of natural disasters. The earth’s surface temperature in 2019 was 1.71 Fahrenheit warmer than the average temperature for the 20th century.

Most of us are aware of mindful habits to implement in our communities like recycling, driving ‘electric’, and paying attention to sort our trash. But with more time spent indoors, it is well worth thinking about how you can make your home more environmentally friendly from the inside as well. How to live eco-friendly? Well, being environmentally friendly means green living. That means making changes in your habits and lifestyle to conserve energy and minimize the air, water, and noise pollution that you and your family might emit. 

On a brighter note, there are plenty of fun ways you can make your home and yourselves healthier for the environment through simple home design and remodel choices. We bring you some of these spruce ideas from Sarah Bowen, an interior designer who runs Spruce Up!, a project dedicated to helping people love and improve their homes in an eco-friendly way. She shares easy and effective tweaks, alternatives, and additions you can implement during your spring cleaning, a redesign in any room, a decluttering session, and even in renovation projects. These tips will make your home cleaner, safer, more efficient, and less wasteful.

Home Decor Tips

Increase Natural Light

One of the best ways to be mindful of energy conservation is to have as much natural light as possible. There are also ways to help achieve the illusion of natural light without breaking the bank. “My first tip is to look at the amount of natural light you have in the room. A lot of natural light can not only improve your mood, but it'll also reduce the amount of electricity you use. Lighter walls and curtains can make the room appear brighter and bigger, but be sure to layer textures and color to keep the room from looking cold.” For more effective means of adding natural light, have a general contractor or window installer determine just how much you can knock down or install without too much fuss.

Eco-friendly Home Decor Tips

Eco-friendly Home Decor Tips

Spice It Up and Support Small Businesses

Smaller businesses tend to carry a greater sense of responsibility towards their local communities than larger, corporate ones. Their carbon footprint on the environment is more often smaller as a result. This offers us a sizable selection of environmentally conscious home decor to choose from. “To bring personality and charm to a room, I recommend using a variety of textures. If you're crafty, a homemade knitted blanket or a set of crocheted cushions will bring warmth to the space. If not, you've got a great opportunity to support small businesses. Online marketplaces are a great place to shop for unique, handmade products.” 

Opt for Sustainably Sourced Decor from Local Businesses

Opt for Sustainably Sourced Decor from Local Businesses

Be Mindful of the Materials Used In Your House

When you’re redecorating there are a few material choices that are definitely greener than others. Sarah warns to “Look out for FSC wood (sustainably sourced), and I always urge homeowners to avoid plastic packaging where they can. Shopping from small businesses and avoiding mass-produced furniture is a good way to reduce the impact on the planet. Thrift stores, flea markets, and online marketplaces are often filled with quality pieces that can be upcycled and made your own.” Another eco-friendly alternative is opting for reclaimed wood in order to mitigate the toll on deforestation. Reclaimed wood is reused or unused wood that is repurposed for wood decor or furniture.

Ways To Keep a More Eco-Friendly Home

Ways To Keep a More Eco-Friendly Home

One great alternative material is bamboo. Start to love bamboo. With its ability to turn any space into an oasis for zen living, what’s not to love? But bamboo is much more than just good vibes - it is one of the most sustainable materials to manufacture since its cultivation does little to hurt the environment. The possibilities are endless as bamboo is used to make all kinds of decor and furniture for every room in your house. “Bamboo plant pots and mirrors can bring some earthy and eco-friendly personality to your home!” An in-home personal bamboo hammock is a fun one, and it will help conserve and replenish your energy, too. Bamboo even has antimicrobial powers and is quite resistant to moisture due to its roots from the rainforest, which is why it’s also a great replacement for traditional hardwood flooring

Choosing Eco-Friendly Materials Inside Your Home

Choosing Eco-Friendly Materials Inside Your Home

Power of Plants

Sarah is a firm believer in the power of plants and she is not alone. “A couple of houseplants go a long way towards boosting your mood and bringing warmth to your home, plus they'll improve the air quality inside your home. My favorite plants for improving air quality are Peace Lilies, Aloe Vera, and Snake plants!” According to many studies, besides reducing the carbon dioxide we breathe in our homes, some plants are found to also reduce formaldehyde, benzene, and a slew of other toxins that typically raid indoor air.

The Power of Plants In Home Design

The Power of Plants In Home Design

Remodeling Tips

Prioritize Insulation 

When you’re remodeling your home there are plenty of opportunities to make changes that will have an even greater positive impact. One of the most important things to think about is insulation — a huge determinant of how much heat (and therefore energy) is leaving or entering your home. With added windows, you might receive more lovely natural light, but it also presents more cracks for heat to escape from. That’s why insulation should receive the attention it’s due. “If you're adding a room or a large window to your home, consider double or triple glazing. Thicker, darker curtains in winter can reduce heat loss.” Insulation contractors will be able to tell you whether you meet the prerequisites to install wall insulation, attic insulation, or roof insulation, all of which can drastically reduce energy loss and costs.

How Insulation Can Affect How Eco-Friendly Your Home Is

How Insulation Can Affect How Eco-Friendly Your Home Is

Use Natural Floor Materials

If you're redoing your flooring you might be pleasantly surprised by the more environmentally friendly alternatives out there. Sarah Bowen highly recommends using natural floor materials. “Wood is the obvious choice, but cork and concrete are equally stylish. Cork floors are fantastic sound and thermal insulators, and cork is warm to touch even in winter! When it comes to eco-friendly flooring, cork is my top choice.” 

Natural Flooring Materials

Natural Flooring Materials

Embrace Technology 

Smart technology can go a long way towards reducing your energy output. A  smart home allows you to control the lighting and the temperature in each room from one central hub. Centralization, synchronization, and timing of your home’s gadgets can save energy, water, and time. Sarah says “While a smart home is more expensive initially, you'll save money long term on your bills while also lowering your carbon footprint.”

An Eco-Friendly Home Means Eco-Friendly Habits

An Eco-Friendly Home Means Eco-Friendly Habits

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team