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DIY Tips For Your Home

Monday, October 12th, 2015


Tips for making sure your interior design products are sustainable

Trees, that beautiful natural resource, are also vital to our planet’s survival. Wood is an integral part of furniture design and manufacturing; many other materials are used in interior design with a certain degree of success, but there is something about the look and feel of timber that just cannot be outdone. Luckily, the sustainability of the products and furnishings used in interior design has improved markedly in recent years, but how can you be certain that your items are as environmentally friendly as they appear to be?

One of the best ways to ensure that your furniture and home accessories come from sustainable sources is to look out for an FSC Certification, which is bestowed upon suppliers that endeavor to source their products from well-managed forests. As with FSC Certification, the Rainforest Alliance has created a Rediscovered Wood Certification; re-loved furnishings, or those made from recycled and reclaimed materials are also popular among the sustainable elite and will, more often than not, last much longer than their environmentally unfriendly counterparts.

The Shutter Store, for example, is renowned for following a strict environmental policy when it comes to creating their shutters and blinds, and their wooden window shutters are made using timber from replenished forests. Similarly, all materials are responsibly sourced or created, while the act of fitting shutters can cut your heating bills and reduce your carbon footprint.

Ensuring that your furnishings are sustainable, and future-ready.

So, how should you proceed when it comes to sourcing sustainable interior design products?  Well, first things first: shop around, and use reputable retailers. It’s easy enough for a company to claim environmental responsibility, but do they have the certification to back this up, or the reputation to trust? Don’t be afraid to query the origins of an item, or walk away if you’re not convinced; you’ll thank yourself later when you have an exceptional item and the sustainability to match. Second hand, vintage, and re-loved are different ways of saying the same thing – try sourcing your furnishings and accessories from antique stores, specialist dealers, or even garage sales.

Similarly, look out for interior design products that have been crafted using recycled materials, as these will also adhere to the rules surrounding sustainability and environmental responsibility. Do you want furnishings that will last? Choose products that are easily fixable, so they can be mended rather than replaced. The planet will thank you, and you’ll save yourself heaps of cash in the meantime. Lastly, consider buying locally and support trade in your area.

Sustainability is vital to modern interior design, ensuring that products are built to last, responsibly sourced, and designed to give back to our environment rather than simply taking away. The products that you choose to furnish and accessorize your home have the potential to vastly alter the world around you. By choosing local suppliers, always querying the history of a piece, or looking out for environmental certification, you stand a much better chance of supporting the planet – plus, you’ll have the opportunity to home a beautiful, often unique, item. And when you’re done? Pass it on!

Clean the Green Way

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Have You Done Any Of These Tips?

Cleaning supplies have a nasty habit of containing toxic chemicals that we don’t want our families – or our planet – exposed to. Fortunately, it isn’t necessary to use toxic cleaners in order to do a great job cleaning our living spaces. There are many effective and easy green cleaning options.

In The Kitchen

The kitchen is a place where food is prepared and family memories are made. It is also a place where bacteria and pests like to hide. Because of this, many people think that green cleaning is not possible in the kitchen. However, there are several great green kitchen options.

Sink Drains: Caustic drain cleaners can eat away at pipes, and clogs can often be solved by simply pouring large amounts of boiling water down the drain. You can keep drains clean using ¼ cup baking soda and ½ cup vinegar once a week. Let the mixture sit in the drain for 20 minutes, then follow with boiling water.

Stove tops: Spills clean up easily if sprinkled with salt, which acts as a mild abrasive and an absorbent. For burned on spills, add a little cinnamon with the salt, so that the next time you fire up the stove, the smell will be pleasant. A baking soda solution can be used for all general cleaning on stove tops.

Pots, Pans, and Dishes: A baking soda paste will remove many messes from pots and pans. Even stubborn, baked-on food will yield to a mixture of boiling water and three tablespoons of salt. Let stand until cool, then clean as usual. A greasy, gritty frying pan can be cleaned by allowing it to simmer with ¼ inch of water and ½ cup of vinegar for 10 minutes.

In the Living Room and Bedrooms

Dusting doesn’t have to be done with chemical cleaners, and neither do other household chores that occur in living rooms and bedrooms. Here are some quick green cleaning tips for these areas.

Allow fresh air: Sometimes, the greatest cleaning tip for a living space is to let in air and light. Opening windows will allow fresh air to circulate, and you won’t reach for spray air fresheners or other non-green air solutions. For more natural air help, boil cinnamon, cloves, or any other spices you enjoy.

Vacuuming: Use baking soda on your carpet as you vacuum. This all-natural super-cleaner will remove odors naturally, removing the need for chemical carpet cleaners or vacuum scents.

Dusting: It’s important to avoid chemical-laden dusting sprays, especially because the chemicals will last a long time in your home. Fortunately, it’s easy to make your own green dusting solution. Add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to two cups of water. This solution will remove dust and the vinegar will help prevent it from returning quickly.

In the Bathroom

The bathroom is another place that is a ‘must-clean-well’. Fortunately, bleach and other damaging chemicals are not the only way to keep your bathroom sanitary.

Shower: A paste of baking soda and dishwashing liquid, when used with a nylon scrubber, will clean the tub and shower walls. Built-up soap scum can be removed with a spray of vinegar – allow to dry, spray again, and wipe.

Toilets: Once a week, pour ½ cup of vinegar in the toilet and allow to stand for 30 minutes. Then, sprinkle baking soda on the toilet cleaning brush and scrub. Flush, and voila! Clean.

Floors: Mop floors with a solution of ½ cup baking soda and warm water. You can even add lemon juice for a nice scent. This simple solution will deodorize and clean without harsh chemicals.

Cleaning doesn’t have to be chemical to be effective. In fact, chemical cleaners and disinfectants can put your family’s health at a higher risk than cleaning with green alternatives. Fortunately, with the tips above it’s easy to clean any area of your home the green way.

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