Americans spent a whopping $128.5 billion on sustainable goods in 2018. To reduce waste, many of these products are utilitarian by design.
By skipping needless packaging and flourishes, fewer resources are used than in more traditional items.
As a result, the minimalist aesthetic has jumped in popularity, as it’s function-over-form style dovetails well with the pragmatism of green merchandise.
But your eco-friendly home needn’t be sleek and brutalist if that’s not your style.
By shopping smart and getting your hands a little dirty, you can maintain your environmental principles without sacrificing appearance.
In the sage words of Andy Dwyer, “Windows are the eyes to the house.”
Windows are the focal point of most rooms, and they should look good while being functional.
Unfortunately, most are lacking in both categories: outdated, inefficient windows are responsible for 25%-30% of energy use.
As climate-controlled air seeps out around the frames of older windows, updating them is a vital part of green home building.
From a design standpoint, modern windows are thick, easy to clean and overall attractive.
Customize them with a quality frame to match the rest of your decor.
Even sources of energy can be made attractive. Instead of using electric string lights to illuminate the backyard, use small solar lanterns.
They come in a variety of designs, ranging from antique gas lamps to novelty statues.
Fetching though these accents may be, they alone won’t be enough to be an eco-consciousness consumer.
Solar panels on the roof may not be the most visually pleasing part of the home, but they are one of the best ways to reduce your environmental impact, all while increasing your property value.
Out of site, they can be your main source of carbon reduction.
In The Yard
But of course you will still have a carbon footprint, no matter how efficient your utilities and windows are.
To help absorb some of the carbon, plant trees in the backyard.
Some trees sequester more carbon than others, so be sure to research which indigenous species in your area are best.
When designing your yard, bear in mind that trees need a large area for their root system to grow, so plant them reasonably far from the home and property lines.
Gardening and Houseplants
Plants needn’t be large to create an environmentally friendly home space. A backyard garden is an inexpensive way to source produce.
Native flowers around the edges of the yard can attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, promoting local ecosystems.
Succulent planters in and out the house make for gorgeous accents and require very little resources to keep alive.
Some plants, like Lucky Bamboo, can be kept in fairly dark areas, making them idea for spaces with less natural light.
Second Hand, Second Life
Purchasing new furniture utilizes resources during both production and shipping.
Going to a thrift or consignment shop gives you the opportunity to extend the life of an object that would have otherwise rotted in a landfill.
Often, you can find like-new pieces for a low price. Thrift store finds can create an eclectic mix of styles in your home, making your interior stand out.
Get creative and find a way to pair a mid century modern coffee table with a Victorian-style chair and help the environment in the process.
Saving resources does not mean sacrificing style. While a utilitarian aesthetic works well for some, it’s not the only way to decorate a modern, green home.
With a few “invisible” energy upgrades, planting a garden and shopping used, you can have an environmentally friendly home full of character.