Green Mini Makeovers That Will Transform Your Space
Every once and awhile, you look around your kitchen or living room and realize you could really use a home makeover—especially in the green department. If your home was a rom com, then this would be the moment it whipped off the nerdy glasses, shook out its hair and allowed its true environmental beauty to shine through.
Luckily, you don’t need any movie magic to makeover your home—all you need is a little inspiration. These ideas are eco-friendly—and fabulous—and won’t take much more than a day to complete. Let’s take a look at a couple of super-quick fixes that will dial up the green throughout your home.
Choose zero-VOC paints
This one gets you double green points for diverting waste from landfills and using paint that’s better for your health. Instead of chucking out an aging dresser or grimy side table, consider giving your older pieces a fresh, colorful new look. You’d be surprised how many decorating sins can be completely covered with a fresh coat of paint. But conventional paints contain harmful fumes, known as VOCs, that could potentially threaten your home’s air quality—even after they dry. The jury is still out on how VOCs impact our health, so until these products get the all-clear, look for zero-VOC paints and sealants—or make your own low-impact colorant using acrylic paint and milk.
Install a new, energy-efficient window
Don’t underestimate your windows—the right model can have a huge impact on your home’s design, opening up your space and giving your rooms an airy brightness. Thanks to technological advancements in glazing and materials, windows can do a lot to make your home greener, too. Insulated glass prevents drafts and stops conditioned air from leaking through the gaps. What’s more, low-emissivity glazings have a reflective coating that greatly improves both the heating and cooling in your home. In fact, the Department of Energy estimates that low-E window glazing could potentially cut energy loss in your home by as much as 50 percent. That’s a lot of green!
Create a bulk foods station for your pantry
Haste makes waste, but individually packaged foods create their fair share of trash, as well. Extra plastic and paper from boxed foods and packaged snacks can fill your garbage fast, and many of those plastic bags can’t be recycled. To cut back on excess packaging, purchase more of your groceries from the bulk section of the store—and store those goods in adorable hand-decorated mason jars stashed on a metal shelving unit in a closet or utility room.
Buy a set of fabric napkins
Fabric napkins not only look fancier, they also divert waste from already stuffed landfills. Paper napkins are often covered in grease and food particles, so the fibers can’t really be reclaimed by recycling facilities. In fact, as much as 13 billion pounds of paper towels may be thrown out throughout the US every year. Instead of wasting all that paper, purchase a set of fabric napkins to use at mealtime. You can opt for darker colors to hide stains. And if you’re feeling crafty, you can even DIY your own!
Plant an indoor herb garden
Here’s a game to play the next time you eat a meal. Think about every ingredient in your food, and where exactly it comes from. If you’re eating a dish with lots of produce and fresh herbs, your food may have traveled many miles to make it to your home. Produce is often imported from far-flung locations, like Mexico, New Zealand, and South America, where year-round growing conditions are more amenable. To cut back on your food’s carbon footprint, it helps to buy local. And you can implement this idea on the cheap by planting a windowsill herb garden for your kitchen window. It will save you money, and it’s better for the environment—plus all those plants in your home will purify the air. Improving your home’s environmental impact has never been so tasty!
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