4 Easy Ways to Make Your Home Decor More Eco-Friendly

Published January 14, 2020

Thrifted decor in a room by Leah Ashley (Image: @LivingWithLeah)

Ten years ago, eco-friendly home design could still be considered a trend. But today? It’s more of a requisite. As we all try to live more sustainably, how do we decorate in a way that feels personal and beautiful, while also keeping in mind environmental responsibility?

Here we’ve rounded up four effective, easy ways to make earth-friendly home decor choices in 2020.

Choose Zero VOC Paint

Next time you head to the paint aisle, look for a brand with Zero VOC marked on the label. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are chemicals and solvents that are released into the air as gasses while paint dries. Common VOCs used in paint include toluene, benzene, and methylene chloride, all of which are harmful to both humans and the environment.

Today, VOCs in paint are fairly easy to avoid. Most larger paint manufacturers, including PPG, Behr, Glidden, Benjamin Moore, and Sherwin Williams, now carry a Zero VOC paint option.

Shop (and Donate to) Secondhand Stores

Before you head out to a big box store to buy a new piece of furniture, stop by your local thrift shop or peruse Facebook marketplace instead. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 9 million tons of furniture goes to landfills every year, and each pre-loved piece you purchase helps reduce that number.

If you’re ready to replace an old item that’s still in usable condition, try selling it online, or donating it to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army before tossing it.

Need some inspiration for sourcing thrifted decor? Check out our series Vintage Style / Modern Life, starring Leah Ashley!

Mixing in thrifted pieces (especially ones in natural materials) with new decor is eco-friendly, and brings personality and unique style to your space. Image: @LivingWithLeah

Look for Natural and Sustainable Materials.

When you do need to buy brand-new, look for products made from natural, sustainable materials whenever possible. Bamboo, for example, is used to make everything from flooring to furniture. It’s not only durable, but easily renewable, growing up to 36″ in a single day. Other great choices? Wool, seagrass, salvaged or FSC-certified wood, cork, and recycled fabric.

Not sure if your buying sustainable? Many furniture companies, like Canadian manufacturer Bermex for example, have a page on their website that details their commitment to responsible sourcing practices.

Choose Quality Over Quantity

Here’s a great reason to splurge on that high-end sofa you’ve had your eye on: Well-made, high-quality products last longer. So instead of sending your couch curbside in a few years when it’s stained or the fabric’s out of style, you can have it reupholstered instead, and keep it out of the landfill.

High-end pieces are also more likely to be made out of materials like solid wood or seagrass, which can be responsibly sourced, than inexpensive versions which are often made of chemically created substitutes.