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Sustainable House and Green Design - Flowers in Vintage Teapot The Life Creative

A Sustainable House: 5 ways to Make your Home more Green

I buy and replace homewares like there’s no tomorrow, and it’s only recently that I’ve tried to take stock of the environmental impact that must have. You know me, Creatives; I love to bag a decor bargain and I love to update the look of my abode. But I do wonder what that means in the bigger scheme of things.

Green Design Sustainable Home - Green Front Door Ideas The Life Creative
Who better to help guide us on this topic than the queen of sustainability, Helen Edwards? Her blog Recycled Interiors is a bit of a bible on this topic, so I’ll leave you in Helen’s capable hands below to give you the lowdown on creating a sustainable house. Enjoy, Chris xx

5 Ways to Make your Home more Green

Helen EdwardsWe all love a beautiful home and most of us have dreams about our ideal house and lifestyle. Mine includes a sea view, a forest in the back yard, a window seat, lots of light and cathedral ceilings.

The interior design industry has exploded in Australia and everyone wants to stamp their own personal style on their home haven. 

What is your dream? Perhaps a seaside escape? A country manor? Or a city apartment close to all the action? No matter what your dreams are, there is no denying that considering sustainability and the green factor when decorating and designing your home is no longer a choice, but a must.

The world is being impacted right now by the choices we make in our buying habits. The amount of rubbish going to landfill each day is frightening and the idea you should toss things out each year and “update” is part of the problem. It is far better to consume quality over quantity.

Your health is also impacted by what you choose to have in your home. It is all connected.

Sustainable House Design - Vintage Bedroom Styling on The Life Creative

1. When considering new purchases of homewares or furniture for your home, make sure you look for recycled or eco friendly materials and green manufacturing processes. Look for items made by local creatives and scour places like etsy for beautiful, sustainable and unique items. Find bespoke furniture makers on places like Instagram, Makers Lane and Hand Krafted. For major purchases, buy a well made piece that will last forever rather than a cheap one that will be on the roadside within a year or two.

2. Include vintage and second hand pieces in your home. One of the greenest sources of furniture and homewares are those that already exist. Often better made and good quality, your local op shops, vintage stores and second hand stores are gold mines. Use ebay and gumtree to score some bargains and develop your own unique style, not the one that you are told to have by current trends, which are based on marketing and buying cycles.

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3. Consider your materials and finishes. Look for low or no VOC paints, most major brands are making low VOC now; look for sustainable materials like bamboo and recycled timbers for floors; 100% cotton, linen and bamboo for your bedding; and check out the eco friendly carpets in many stores now – wool is a wonderfully sustainable option.

4. Shift to eco friendly cleaning products. I am not adverse to the occasional use of a bleach and do use it from time to time but overall, use eco friendly cleaning products which will not damage the earth or your family’s health. You can make your own or opt for one of the many wonderful products now available on the market.

Look for the Aussie made lines. Just never ever consider you need to have a blue loo, or a disinfectant wipe for your benches. Those ads drive me nuts and a bit of dirt is good for kids immune systems anyway! 

Sustainable House and Green Design - Flowers in Vintage Teapot The Life Creative

5. Look at how you consume energy. There is no ideal source of energy but there are some exciting developments coming in home storage batteries combined with solar panels which will change the way we use power. In the meantime, take steps to reduce your energy consumption such as planting deciduous trees around your home to create shade in summer and let light in during winter

Ensure you have adequate ventilation and seals around doors and windows; insulation is a must; install blinds for reducing heat during summer; add ceiling fans; change your light globes to LED or CFL; try to avoid your clothes dryer and if you must use it, make sure it is the same capacity as your washing machine to reduce the need for additional cycles; buy low energy consumption whitegoods.

Your home is your sanctuary but our planet is our number one home and unless we care for her, our future generations will suffer and their quality of life will be greatly reduced. Take these steps for a happy healthy home now, and into the future.

Outside of writing the TLC Interiors blog, Chris is an interior stylist and author. You can also catch him on your TV screens as a designer on Channel 10's Changing Rooms. If you'd like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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