Updated: Jun 15
It seems that nowadays, there are more and more ways to be environmental without even having to try. Green products have been appearing in stores everywhere, including home improvement ones. Having a more environmentally conscious home is not only a good step for the planet, but your overall health as well. Chemicals found in many home products such as paints and wallpapers omit harmful gasses and lead to a poorer air quality, causing respiratory illnesses and even cancer. And must we forget the days of asbestos and lead in our paint? I think not.
Since spring and summer are the two big ‘renovation’ seasons where people are updating their homes for graduation parties and barbecues, it is appropriate to talk about some environmental ways you can decorate your home and space. If you’re looking for a low maintenance or low budget option that can make a huge impact, updating your walls is a great place to start. It is amazing how a simple coat of paint or wallpaper can take a room from blah to bam. Keeping my environmentalist heart happy, here are seven eco ways you can transform your walls this season!
Modern advancements have developed zero-VOC, non-toxic paints that don’t sacrifice the quality of color to your walls. VOC stands for ‘volatile organic compound’, and are chemicals that vaporize at room temperatures. These chemicals produce off-gas and have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, liver/kidney damage, as well as getting trapped into our ozone layer when released. When shopping for paints, choose one that is zero-VOC.
Cork is a very sustainable material. Cork bark is stripped from the tree and is used to make cork products, from wine stoppers to flooring. The tree is never cut down, and cork can be both reused and recycled. Companies have used cork in creating beautiful wall coverings that are both stunning and sound-absorbent.
Nowadays you can find tiles that contain recycled material. A word of warning though, just because it says ‘made with recycled material’ doesn’t mean it’s super eco. Look for tile that contains over 50% recycled content.
Turn wood into a beautiful focal wall. There is no reason to go out a buy new wood when many places offer salvaged kinds. You can find them at lumber mills, barns, and even some stores. Another way to reuse wood for your walls? Pallets!
What is greener than a green wall? Having living plants in your space offers improved air quality to your home. You can even turn it into a vertical garden for your vegetables and herbs. If you can’t swing a full on green wall with integrated drainage and watering systems, opt for the DIY version: plants + shelves.
Forget what you thought you knew about wall coverings. They have been making a comeback in recent years due to many innovations and styles to choose from. They even come in natural materials, such as linen, grasscloth, sisal, and reeds. There are even wallpapers made on recycled paper! An additional step in choosing a wallpaper is to look for one that has low or zero VOC for the adhesive backing, or using a glue with similar properties.
Hanging stuff on your walls is a great way to create texture and visual interest. The possibilities are endless on what you can hang on your walls, from frames to vintage keys. Going to thrift stores or flea markets, you can find a lot of interesting finds that help reuse existing pieces and save them from landfills.