Decorating with renewable resources: Why bamboo is good for the home

Green Bamboo

I love the concept of decorating my home to mimic the outdoors. Bringing nature inside is a great way to create an environment that can be both soothing and energizing. Designing a nature-inspired home allows me the opportunity to consider using natural materials. I’ve taken an interest in learning more about what we as homeowners can do to design a stylish space while lessening our environmental impact. And one solution I’ve found is to seek out materials that are sustainable and defined as renewable resources. Bamboo, for example, is a renewable resource that can be used to create eco-friendly furniture, light fixtures, accessories and even linens. Plus it’s stylish, so why wouldn’t I want to consider it for my home?

Bedvoyage Bamboo Bedding

Bedvoyage bamboo bedding

As I began researching more about the benefits of using bamboo, I found that it’s a great alternative to many of the materials we use today. Bamboo grows very quickly and requires little maintenance – some species grow more than a yard in just 24 hours! Plus, if harvested from bamboo farms, animals such as the panda who rely on bamboo for food are not negatively affected, while local communities are positively affected as they can build a better economy for themselves.

Fanimation Islander Ceiling Fan

Fanimation Islander ceiling fan

Wood from trees is natural, but many trees are not as renewable as bamboo. Using bamboo as an alternative to wood from other trees makes a lot of sense, because the plant is just as strong but it doesn’t take years to grow back. It also can be a great alternative to metal and plastic, which are much more challenging and time-investive to manufacture.

Neu Home Bamboo bowl by Organize It All

Neu Home Bamboo bowl by Organize It All

With so many positive reasons to use bamboo and renewable resources in general, it’s hard for me even to consider anything else! I encourage you to make the switch as well when seeking out new furniture and home decor accessories. While you may not always be able to choose a natural material or a renewable resource, making the effort where you can is the first step toward making a difference.

By Wendy Weinert

The tiny house movement: what it is and why it’s so popular

Tiny house

Photo credit: Hooked on Houses

Lately I’ve been hearing or reading a lot about “tiny houses” (also called “small houses”). It has made me curious, so I wanted to take the time to learn more about what these tiny houses are and why so many people are talking about them.

It seems that a tiny house is exactly what its name implies. Several sources define a tiny house as being less than 1,000 square feet, but that’s generous considering many who build or buy one choose to go as small as 400 square feet or less. Although the new trend is in no way taking over, the small house movement is growing in popularity; many Americans are now choosing to downsize or start their life in these tiny homes.

Floor plans of a tiny house

251 sq. ft. of living space
Photo credit: Hooked on Houses

The question is, “Why?” Why are people choosing to live their lives in such small spaces? Well, there are many reasons, but the biggest ones are because of financial concerns, environmental impact and the desire for freedom. Tiny homes are a much more affordable and sustainable living solution, and many people use them to travel. They are, after all, a much more comfortable way of moving from place to place than an RV.

Although I’m not ready to pack up my home and move into a tiny house just yet, I think there is a lot of good in the movement. It’s an adjustment for sure, but many creative architects and designers have managed to make their small houses feel open and even spacious. It’s all about choosing your furniture and accessories carefully. A futon, for example, can be a great substitute for a couch or sofa in one of these tiny houses, as they are typically smaller and serve a dual purpose. When decorating, look for accessories that make an impact so you can still enjoy style with less decor.

Kichler small ceiling fan

Perfect ceiling fan for a small space

 

What are your thoughts on the tiny house movement? Do you think you could live in such a limited space? Write a comment and let us know!

By Wendy Weinert

 

10 simple ways to reduce waste in your home

10 simple ways to reduce waste in your home

Lowering your impact on the environment by reducing waste in the home is easier than you think. Start by incorporating just a few of these 10 strategies into your home life and continue by adding more when you’re ready. Before you know it, these waste-reducing tips will become second nature.

1. Buy in bulk whenever possible and you won’t need to throw away as much non-recyclable packaging.

10 simple ways to reduce waste in your home

2. Illuminate your home with LED lights. They last much longer than alternative solutions.

10 simple ways to reduce waste in your home

3. Get creative and repurpose old furniture and household items. Using items in unique ways will give your home character.

10 simple ways to reduce waste in your home

4. Have less furniture and invest in quality pieces. The less surface space you have, the less space you have to accumulate junk. And by investing in quality furniture, you won’t have to keep replacing worn-out or damaged pieces over and over again in the future.

10 simple ways to reduce waste in your home

5. Supply your home with bedding and rugs made from natural fibers, such as bamboo or wool.

6. Take your thermos to the coffee shop. Most cafes will happily fill your thermos with coffee, and you might even save a few cents in the process.

7. Bring your own reusable bag to the store. You’ll be grateful later when you don’t have an overflow of plastic bags anymore.

10 simple ways to reduce waste in your home

8. Make your own cleaning supplies. Many brand-name cleaning supplies use a small number of ingredients such as white vinegar and baking soda.

9. Eat more whole foods instead of packaged products. Eating a frozen dinner everyday results in a lot of waste. Make it a goal to cook more often, and when buying packaged food, buy in bulk.

10. Reuse gift bags and tissue paper. You can even reuse wrapping paper if you open presents carefully!

You don’t have to change your whole life to be more green. These waste-reducing strategies are easy to incorporate into your lifestyle, and they will help make you more environmentally conscious in other aspects of your daily life.

By Wendy Weinert