You might dream of living in a green home but we can't all leave our current addresses and head for the forest with hay bales, mud and a wind turbine. That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t do something to make your current abode a little more planet friendly. Along with retrofits, minimising energy use and turning your garden into a larder, you can give the interior an eco-friendly twist by eschewing IKEA in favour of something a little greener. Retro and vintage furnishings are a case in point. 'Most people are buying it as more of a fashion statement, but it's the most eco-friendly way to buy furniture which would otherwise have been thrown out,' says Marylebone gallery, Decoratum's Gallery Director, Jeff Salmon. ‘We have certainly noticed an increase in vintage and retro sales over the past decade, where customers used to prefer modern and contemporary furnishings, they are more and more willing to invest in a good piece for their homes.'
Giving your home a green-over doesn’t just mean furniture either. 'There are countless steps you can take to make your decorating schemes more eco, from choosing powdered paint from companies like Naturepaint to installing cavity wall insulation,’ says Amy Cutmore, Consumer Editor at interiors bible, Ideal Home. ‘In the kitchen, choose worktops made from recycled materials and flooring made from sustainable woods like bamboo, and make sure your appliances are energy efficient. For example, the latest heat-pump tumble dryers from John Lewis, Miele and AEG use at least half the energy of regular condenser dryer. And remember eco doesn't have to mean 'expensive' - it can be as simple as revamping an old table or chair that would otherwise have been sent to landfill.’ Still not sure where to look for inspiration? From retro furnishings to colour-blocked walls, our top five green interiors blogs have plenty of ideas, hints and tips to get you started.
The blog: Founded by designer, writer and television presenter, Oliver Heath, the blog is crammed with useful information, ranging from simply revamping your home to making it greener or sustainably refurbishing the whole lot. His ideas are very in touch with nature and his posts remain up-to-date with all the latest eco-home news and analysis.
Favourite post: ‘Edible Household – Playing With Your Food’
Heath explores a few designers that are “cooking up a storm” with their edible furniture. From lampshades made of bread and seaweed to chairs made of starch, if it can be eaten and won’t rot, it’s food for furniture.
Read it: www.oliverheath.com
The blog: Launched by two young Americans, the Ecoluxe blog oozes fresh and inspiring ideas to green-over your home. As the name suggests, the blog offers general advice on giving your home a luxe spin without harming the planet, including tips on fabrics, flooring and furniture. Although they don't go into huge amounts of detail, the picture heavy posts are an ideal starting point for coming up with fresh ideas.
Favourite post: ‘Bold Walls, NOT playing it safe’
Prepare to be wowed. The cacophony of captivating images will bring out your brave side and have you daubing your walls in the brightest of paint in no time.
Read it: www.ecoluxestudios.wordpress.com
The blog: Written by a self-confessed second hand junkie, Nina's Apartment is perfect for anyone thinking of getting creative with old furniture or even making their own. Nina also offers a cornucopia of tips on how to be a creative shopper at flea markets, vintage boutiques and antique shops. Her passion for 1950s Scandinavian style is pleasantly evident in her selection of images and links.
Favourite post: ‘Repurposing Furniture and Other Things’
Try new but don't buy new: Nina dreams up a variety simple and unusual ideas to persuade people to keep their old things and do something new with them.
Read it: www.ninasapartment.blogspot.co.uk
The blog: Created by interior designer, Lisa Kaufmann Tharp, the site is a brilliant resource for anyone thinking of building or furnishing their home along ethical and eco-friendly lines. The blog charts Kauffman's journey during the construction of the Concord Green Healthy Home - a model for sustainability that blends harmony with nature. She provides detailed and practical advice for all aspects of eco-homes, from the choice of raw materials to making the most of your space.
Favourite post: ‘One Grande Gesture’
A short, beautifully illustrated post, which shows how simply placing an item (in this instance an oversized pendant light) in the right place, can pull together an entire room.
Read it: www.concordgreen.blogspot.co.uk
The blog: One for the super hip, this homes and interiors blog sees Homegirl London tracking down the best retro and vintage dwellings in the capital. It features an electric and eclectic mix of furniture and accessories ranging from deluxe through to second hand vintage and upcycled. Emerging home trends are reported and new local talent is showcased. Some elements of the site aren’t especially green so use it as inspiration before searching for second hand versions of the latest retro home trends.
Favourite post: ‘London Trend: Food Boarding’
Ditch plates for sustainable wooden boards. Food boarding, says Homegirl London, is the new rustic way to eat.
Read it: www.homegirllondon.com
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