Going Green with Furniture Choices- By: Jilda Peterson
Many of us are choosing to lead “greener” lifestyles out of concern for the health of our planet. From compact florescent light bulbs to plug-in electric vehicles, embracing green and reducing our carbon footprint is a desirable and worthy goal. Even when it comes to home decor, there are certain choices that are more eco-friendly than others. Pressed wood and endangered wood species should be avoided of course, but furniture made from wicker and bamboo as well as recycled furniture gives you the style you want along with eco-consciousness. Here are some ideas to consider.
Wicker and Bamboo
Wicker furniture is classic and includes an array of styles to suit any design preference. Wicker does not refer to a furniture style, however; it includes furniture that is designed and woven from various natural sources, such as tree stems, branches and vines. These natural materials are woven into furniture products that can be stained, painted or clear sealed as desired.
Wicker is environmentally friendly because it grows quickly – up to three feet per day - and is easy to replace; this makes it highly sustainable and a much better source for furniture that slow growing or endangered hardwoods. You’ll find pieces that suit rustic, traditional and contemporary styles.
Similar to wicker in its highly coveted sustainability, bamboo is another great wood source for furniture, accents and flooring. It is a grass that grows back quickly after being cut down and harvested. It is very hard and durable and you’ll find gorgeous pieces that are perfect for streamlined contemporary looks, Asian-inspired spaces and everyday traditional or modern decors.
One of the best ways to tread lightly on the earth is through recycling and by choosing to decorate with used or recycled furniture you are keeping these items out of landfills and giving them a second lease on life. Recycled furniture also makes a great design statement, whether you choose to add antiques from the 1940s or cool retro pieces from the 1970s. You can leave used furniture as is or refinish or repurpose it to suit your needs and decor style. For example, it’s very cool and easy to paint and old piece of wood furniture to give it that distressed shabby chic look that is so popular in cottage, casual and country decors. You can also strip a piece down to the bare wood and stain or seal it if desired.
Another fun way to use old furniture is to repurpose it into something completely different: For example, an old bureau can be retrofitted with a vessel sink and the required plumbing and become a stylishly chic vanity for your bathroom. Or take a old armoire and repurpose it into an entertainment center for your TV and music electronics.
Antiques and vintage pieces also make great focal points, especially when used to counter more modern styles. For example, an elaborate old wall mirror looks fantastic when hung above a modern couch or console. Or take an upholstered chair with great vintage lines and reupholster it in a totally contemporary fabric for a fresh take on an old classic.
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