The growing number of green homes in the United States is extremely encouraging. The United States Green Building Council reports that there are over 370,000 green homes, as of October 2017. Green homes represent 23% of all residences in the United States, while they were only 2% of residences back in 2005.
While the growing number of green homes is a nice trend, many people don’t know where to start. Many homeowners that are going green for the first time get too ambitious at the beginning. They want to renovate the entire house or build a green home from scratch. This can be a bit overwhelming at first, so it is sometimes better to make your home green one room at a time.
The living room is one of the best places to start. How do you make a green living room? Here are some tips to create the perfect environmentally friendly living room.
1. Build Furniture with Existing Household Objects
I read a very interesting article from The New Ecologist the other day. It is filled with great tips on how to use make furniture out of other objects around your house. Here are some ideas that may be worth a try:
- Make a chair out of books, instead of using a bookshelf. This kills two birds with one stone. You won’t have to get a bookshelf to store your books in. You also won’t need to invest in an extra chair. That is two pieces of furniture that you would otherwise need to buy, both of which leave a large carbon footprint.
- Use old cardboard to form shelves. This may not be the most aesthetically appealing design, but it is going to be a great way to avoid needing to invest in a wooden storage unit.
- Use old jars to make lampshades.
These are some very creative ideas. You may think that they sound tacky, but you could pull them off very well if you do it right. The trick is to make the entire living room have an earthy, New Age ambience. This will mean that the pieces that you add to the living room will complement it, rather than standing out like a sore thumb.
2. Don’t Invest in New Furniture
Buying new furniture is unnecessary. It won’t just cost more money, but it leaves a larger carbon footprint.
The good news is that there are lots of ways to get furniture without buying it new. You can get hand-me-downs from your parents if they don’t want them anymore. You can also find friends that are downsizing to a smaller home and don’t need all their old furniture. There are also plenty of people on Craigslist trying to get rid of furniture. There are even people that put old furniture on their lawn with the words “Free”, signaling that they want to get rid of it.
3. Refinish Wooden Materials Into Your Own Furniture
If you have a background in woodworking, you can refinish some wooden materials into a piece of furniture. Nancy Sleeth, the co-founder of Blessed Earth, wrote an article for CBN that has some great guides on how to do this. Sleeth said that her husband was a carpenter before going to medical school, so he was able to figure out how to repurpose a piece of oak into a new desk. But you don’t need to be a professional carpenter. You can figure out how to do this by picking up a few books on woodworking.
Making your own furniture will leave a much smaller carbon footprint, because you won’t need to use the same chemicals and manufacturing processes that mass producers use.
4. Use Green Adhesives, Carpeting and Coatings
Many people don’t think about the walls and carpeting when they are making an environmentally friendly living room. However, these are some of the parts of the house that you need to focus on the most. You can use a lasting exterior wall coating service that is more durable, so you don’t need to leave a larger carbon footprint or worry about leeching chemicals by having to coat it more frequently.
5. Use Solar Heating to Make Your Living Room More Environmentally Friendly
The best way to create an environmentally friendly living room is to rely on solar heating. You will save money throughout the year. Make sure that you have plenty of windows in your home and ensure they are facing the direction that gets the most solar radiance.