I’m thrilled we have an official day on which we pause and think about how to protect our planet. But why not celebrate Earth Day every single day by going green in your decorating? Here are some simple ways to get started:
Years ago, when I was just getting started in the home interiors business, I visited my friend Nancy at her home in the country and was amazed by what I saw. Everywhere I turned in Nancy’s home, she had created the most amazing displays that carefully blended natural objects with pieces of great value. For instance, she placed a very expensive antique blue and white porcelain bowl on her coffee table then filled it with treasures she had discovered on her walks about the farm – an unusual stone, a fallen bird’s nest, a curiously twisted twig.
I loved how Nancy celebrated the natural world, and its pure and simple miracles, through her décor, and I wanted to do the same in mine. Still today, I let nature inspire me when decorating. One of my new passions it to use elements like fallen branches and seasonal flowers, vines and berries in my displays throughout my home, whether in vases, over my doorways or twisted in my chandeliers.
You, too, can showcase nature in your home. Place a bird’s nest on a silver tray or cake plate then cover it with a glass cloche. Fill apothecary jars with pinecones, seashells and stones. Stack fresh fruit in an English footbath or wooden dough bowl and use it as a simple centerpiece for your dining room table.
Use Natural, Sustainable, Reclaimed Materials
One of the reasons I love bamboo furniture, willow baskets and linen fabrics so much is because they not only add amazing style to a home, they are also sustainable products that don’t hurt the Earth. When you’re redoing a room, ask yourself what accents you can add that won’t harm our planet. Opt for products made from sustainable materials. How about bamboo shades or a sisal area rug?
Whenever you can, use reclaimed and recycled products in your home décor. A friend of mine covered the walls of her cozy basement family room with wood salvaged from old barns. In her kitchen she used flooring made of old walnut bricks.
Repurpose Exiting Pieces
If you’re on the hunt for furnishings, start your shopping expedition in your own home. You’ll be amazed by how easy and effective it is to repurpose furniture you already own, either by moving pieces to new spaces or giving them a facelift so they look brand new.
Reupholster furnishings that are well made and in good condition. When you refurbish your furniture, you can do a lot more than just change the fabric – you can also change the height of the arms, add or remove a skirt, alter the number of seat cushions and get new slipcovers for accent pillows.
It’s also fun and easy to transform outdated wooden furniture, like bookcases, china hutches and TV/computer armoires, using some paint and your imagination. For instance, a friend of mine took a dated hutch, painted it a terracotta color then distressed it with green paint. Then she replaced the glass in the doors with chicken wire. When she was done, this outmoded cabinet looked like a French country antique.
If the built-in bookcases in your home are dated, revolutionize them with a coat of paint, new doors and contemporary hardware. Try painting the exterior of a bookcase white and the interior black. Or use fabric or wallpaper to add pop to the back panels of a bookcase.
Instead of trashing that old TV/computer armoire you no longer need, thanks to today’s thinner TV screens and laptop computers, turn it into something useful. How about a mini bar, a craft space or locker for your kids’ school gear and sports equipment?