Love the Earth: Eco-Friendly Products You Need in Your Home

I try to live an eco-friendly life. I recycle, I walk instead of driving whenever possible, I bring my reusable canvas bags when I go shopping, I even bring garbage bags to the beach and on hikes to pick up any litter I happen to spot. But in the design world, it’s hard to put the Earth first. Construction, renovations, and redesigns all result in waste with perfectly good materials being sent to the dump. So I’m always on the lookout for products I can use in my designs that are friendly on the Earth, and my client’s wallet.

In honor of Earth Day, I’m bringing you my favorite eco-friendly products:

Self-Adhesive Wallpaper

The most wasteful aspect of design (in any industry) is trends. Trends mean that the chic sweater you bought 3 months ago is officially outdated. While home decor trends aren’t as fast changing as the fashion industry, they still lead to lots of waste. Enter: Tempaper. Removable, self-adhesive wallpaper that lets you change out your look to keep up with the hottest styles.

Why the Earth loves this  

Wallpaper is notorious for the chemicals involved, both in putting it up and in taking it down. Not to mention, when the time does come to change it out, you end up with bags and bags of trash that goes straight to the landfill. Tempaper is VOC-free, lead-free, and waste-free – you just roll it back up when you want to update your design. We have clothes swapping parties, will wallpaper swaps be the next big thing? (Probably not, but it’s fun to dream!)

Recessed Lighting Covers

EzClipse on recessed lights above bathroom vanity

How much do you hate can lights? However much it is, it’s not as much as I hate them. They have no place in a well-designed residential home, yet contractors love them because they are cheap and easy to install. So what do you do? Rip them all out and replace them with better lighting? That sends perfectly good, working materials to landfills which makes me cringe. But what choice do we have? Well now there is a solution: EzClipse.

Why the Earth love this

No more replacing recessed lighting, creating unnecessary waste. EzClipse snap right onto the cans using magnets. Changing out the look of your space takes a few seconds (and a ladder). The ease of these light covers almost seems too good to be true – but it’s not. They are available to fit any style and instantly provide you with a designer look, without the waste of swapping out your lights!

VOC-free Paint

I love paint because it goes on easily and lets you update the look of your room as often as you want. It’s my favorite option for walls or ceilings, as well as for an easy way to update kitchen cabinetry. But the smell! I’m someone who is especially sensitive to strong smells – they can easily trigger a migraine. So what’s an interior design and furniture restorer, with a sensitivity to strong strong smells, who is obsessed with paint to do? Grab of can of the VOC-free stuff!

Why the Earth loves this

Most major paint manufacturers now offer VOC-free paints in (nearly) all of their colors. I’m partial to Sherwin Williams and their Harmony line. VOC-free, odor reducing, and formaldehyde reducing, the Harmony line is super durable and, because of technology that I can’t even begin to understand, the more surface area you cover with the paint, the healthier the air quality in the room will be.

Cork Anything

Cork is everywhere in recent years – floor tile, wall coverings, I even have a cork purse. My love of cork is more than just from a designer’s perspective. My ancestors came from the region in Portugal where cork is farmed (my last name means “axe” – the tool they use to harvest the cork) – so there is a bit of pride in knowing the crop of my people is hot right now. I’m not talking about decorating with the corks you collect from wine bottles. Cork is available in a wide variety of items for the home – furniture, planters, and even lamp shades. It seems there’s no limit to what it can be used for. I’m especially digging the cork planters from Melanie Abrantes Designs – simple yet elegant, and perfect for a mini succulent garden.

Why the Earth loves this

Cork is the bamboo of southwestern Europe and northern Africa. It can be harvested without having to cut down the tree (yes cork is actually tree bark!) In Portugal, the montado plantations harvest the cork in the spring. Trees can be harvested every nine to ten years and they can produce cork for up to 200 years – the ultimate renewable resource. The unique properties of the cork oak tree also means that it is one of the biggest “carbon eaters” of any plant. This high absorption of carbon is what allows the cork oak to grow its bark so quickly. So, not only is it a renewable resource, but it is cleaning the air as well! Cork oaks absorb more carbon the more they are harvested, meaning the increased demand in cork products is actually helping to reduce greenhouse gases.

*No sponsored content: My blog is 100% sponsor and advertiser free! When I tell you about a product or company I love, you can trust that the opinion is mine and not paid for.

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