Home décor has its own version of snobbery. Whether it’s the high-end interior designer who looks down upon any décor item purchased in a store, or the neighbor who just can’t believe anyone would dream of buying brand X appliance — there are many strong opinions. Then there are the eco people who abhor anything stylish. One wants it organic, recyclable and carbon-neutral while the other doesn’t want to compromise the look in any way with perceived inferior materials. The two camps are having trouble finding middle ground.
Let’s break this down a little and figure out something that works. After all, you want a stylish home AND you want to be as eco-friendly as possible.
Make Your Home Stylish
What makes your home “stylish”? I think it includes several components:
- Unique and personal – while the national-brand chain stores have nice furnishings, you want some pieces that are unique and somehow reflect your personality.
- Eye catching –make your room “pop” with a very cool and significant piece that makes a big impression.
- Conversation starter – it isn’t about the stuff in your house, it’s about the people and their relationships, and the more your furnishings trigger conversations the better. Things that make guests say, “Where did you find that?” or “What is that made from?”
Home furnishings have made big eco improvements over what was available a few years ago. A sampling:
- Cribs and changing tables – made from solid wood grown in sustainable ways.
- Floor coverings – made from sustainable hardwood materials such as bamboo and recyclable carpeting.
- Paint – major brands now have offerings with low amounts of volatile organic compounds.
- Bedding – widely available in organic cotton or hemp.
Finding It and Pulling It All Together
OK, so now you’re probably saying to yourself, “Yea, but paint isn’t exactly a conversation starter. Where can I get a cool central piece for my living room that is stylish and eco-friendly?” I have one word for you – handmade. The green movement is rippling through the artisan community and today you can find highly unique and eye-catching décor, in any style, often using recycled materials and avoiding toxic glues and finishes.
How about a chic urban look with this one-of-a-kind media cabinet? Use it in your media room (it has slots in the back for wiring) or as a credenza in the dining room. It’s made from 90% recycled scrap metal that has been welded together.
Or, if classy country is more your style, this 1800s farmhouse table is gorgeous. The table top is heart pine made from old barn joists reclaimed from a barn built in the 1870s in southern Louisiana. The legs are hand-turned from reclaimed horse-barn flooring from a barn in the Mississippi Delta. Classic heart pine, dark color and real nail holes.
Unique pieces like these will make your home a real conversation starter.
About this guest author:
Greg Sundberg is the co-founder of StylishHome where consumers can gain design insights, create color palettes and shop for home furnishings including artisan-made. Greg frequently writes about color coordination, interior design and eco décor.