*Image from All About You.
Growing up, my mom was continually redecorating our surroundings. Although we moved rather frequently, once we were situated somewhere, it wouldn’t be long before my older brother and I would come home from school only to hear mom’s inevitable “What if we moved the couch to the other wall and put the love seat over here?” I picked up the rearranging fever from her, continually tweaking and curating my bedroom as I grew. My redecorating M.O. always followed the same course: I’d take any and all decorative items and put them on my bed; after careful scrutiny, I’d redistribute them in new locations, deciding along the way that some just didn’t make the cut with my current aesthetic preferences. Even now, as an adult, I can’t tell you how many times in my dreams I revisit the bedroom I kept from ages 10-14, switching out the Holly Hobby bedspread for something with a deep, rich, geometric pattern and replacing the “New Kids On the Block” posters with a gorgeous mirror or whimsical wire sculpture.
When the seasons change, I get the redecorating itch, big time. If you get it too, a great place to begin is in the bedroom. Today’s “Small Measures” then focuses on ways to stylishly green-up and remodel the place in which we all spend about a 1/3rd of our lives. If you want a new look, but can’t shell out the cash to build the walk-in of your dreams (or you’re a renter and that’s just totally not even an option), consider these chic environmentally-friendly means of tricking out your current digs in a more favorable (green) light.
*Image from Re-Nest.
1) VOC-free paints- Whether it’s an entire room you wish to renew or simply one wall, a fresh coat of paint can transform a weary room in hours. Paints free of Volatile Organic Compounds (organic compounds with gases that can prove harmful to the environment and humans over time) are quite easy to come by these days, and at great prices. When we were setting up Nugget’s nursery last month, we scored a gallon of mossy green “Globe Artichoke” by Olympic Paints at our local big box retailer. It’s amazing, having painted more rooms than I care to remember, how conspicuously absent of smell V.O.C.-free paints are. Re-Nest has a fantastic round-up of V.O.C.-free and non-toxic paints here.
*Image from Go Natural Baby.
2) Eco Linens-Fresh sheets, comforters, quilts, and duvet covers can instantly transform the look and feel of your bedroom. A number of suppliers carry luxurious, silky smooth organic cotton and all-natural offerings. I’m a big fan of bamboo linens. Bamboo contains a high degree of inherent antibacterial and antifungal properties. As such, they’re able to repel insects (including fleas and bedbugs), germs, and even bacteria (research conducted in China showed bamboo sheet’s ability to repel the Staphylococcus aureous bacteria, responsible for most staph infections, even after a 24-hour exposure period!).
3) Natural Materials Mattress-While one of the more expensive means of redecorating and greening your bedroom, an all-natural mattress might be your best long-term investment, at least as far as your health is concerned. Conventional mattresses are chock full of synthetic materials, including dyes, formaldehyde, fire retardants, and chemicals used in resisting stain and water damage. These chemicals all give off gases that have both known and unknown long-term effects on human health. Mattresses made of wool, organic cotton, and latex are all available and are known for both their comfort and durability. We’re picking up organic mattresses both for our wee one’s Moses basket rocker (where he’ll spend the first few months of his life beside our bed) as well as for his crib, as the developing respiratory and neurological systems of babies are especially vulnerable to the effects of off-gasing chemicals.
CLICK HERE for the rest of Ashley’s post after the jump!
*Image from The Go Green Blog.
4) CFL Light Bulbs-An easy green change that anyone can make, CFL light bulbs are a quick way to cut down on energy costs on your bedroom. While they might not necessarily change the look of the room itself, the money saved by their use will give you a little extra wiggle room when making other redecorating purchases.
*Image from World Market.
5) Natural Fiber Rugs-A rug is a quick and easy way to imbue your bedroom with texture and warmth. Serving as a means of both padding sound (essential if you live a floor above other occupants) and softening the room, rugs made of natural fibers are beautiful, long-lasting, and free of the dyes, chemicals, and non-renewable resources used in a great deal of rug-making. In my own bedroom, we have a slated bamboo mat on the floor beside our bed. For Nugget’s room, I’m finding myself strongly drawn to these all-natural maize rugs.
*Image from Himalaya.
6) Naturally Scented Candles & Incense-Something as seemingly insignificant as a mere candle can actually transform the entire mood of a space. I’m constantly burning both candles and incense in my home, in scents parallel with the seasons (I’ve actually got sticks of Cinnamon & Orange incense burning in the dining room and laundry/cat room as I type this!). For my room, I especially like Pacifica candles offerings, in their Tibetan Mountain Temple and Mediterranean Fig scents for giving the space a little something extra.
7) Houseplants-Finally, don’t underestimate the power of a few houseplants to instantly perk up your space, not to mention green and “clean” it up. Last September, I wrote about the ability of certain houseplants to literally grow fresh air around you. Based on research conducted by NASA scientists, a number of common plants can leach potentially damaging compounds out of the atmosphere. Not only do they freshen the air, houseplants truly enliven a space. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at photos of homes in the pages of magazines and said to myself “What that room needs is a plant!” Houseplants connect us to the living, breathing, thriving ecosystem we’re all inextricably linked to and do so at both little outlying expense and generous long-term reward.
What about you? When the urge to transform your space hits, what do you turn to? I’d love to know. In the meantime, remember-it really is easy being green. Sweet Dreams!