A green home can help you stay healthy! These easy ways to make your home eco-friendly are from Debbie Wiener, interior designer and author of Slob Proof! Real-Life Design Solutions.
Her green tips can have a direct affect on your mood and disposition:
“If you suffer from seasonal mood disorders including stress, anxiety or depression, bring full spectrum light fixtures and light bulbs into your home,” says Wiener. For more info on how light therapy works, read Tips for Light Therapy and Seasonal Affective Disorder. And, read on for Wiener’s eco-friendly tips and easy ways to make your home green. And for more interior design and decluttering tips, click on her book — Slob Proof! Real-Life Home Decorating Solutions.
How to Make Your Home Green
1. When painting, use specially formulated paints for low odor and low VOC (volatile organic compounds-the stuff EPA regulates to control air pollution) emission. These paints are available in latex flat, eggshell and semi-gloss finishes-so they’re also easy to apply and clean up. Consider Benjamin Moore’s “Pristine EcoSpec” interior paints.
2. Put unscented pillar candles of varying heights on fireplace grates looks great in a woodburning fireplace that you don’t use. This eco-friendly tip creates a warm and inviting atmosphere when lit, and is an easy way to keep your home green. Today’s gas and electric fireplace inserts are also wonderful, clean burning alternatives- without the smoke and smell that wood fires generate- and can be outfitted in almost any conventional fireplace.
3. Consider soft Roman-fold shades made from inexpensive natural duck cloth (a heavy weight cotton), linen or woven reeds and grasses. They look good on windows, and many styles provide ample light control and privacy. To make your home eco-friendly and healthy, clean these natural window drapes with a vacuum attachment (not harsh dry cleaning chemicals).
4. Be green at home — literally — with foliage and flower arrangements. They’re an economical way to add vibrant color, interest and texture to room décop. Choose plants and flowers with low allergy potential such as ivy, ferns, snap dragons, viola tricolour, pansies, impatiens, lobelia, petunia, periwinkle, alyssum, begonia, clematis, columbine, crocus, daffodil, daisy, dusty miller, geranium, hosta, iris, lily, narcissus, phlox, rose, salvia, sunflower, tulip, verbena and zinnia. An empty corner or table top filled with plants and flowers in decorative pots and baskets is not only pleasing to the eye, but provides an extra ration of beneficial oxygen.
5. Remove street shoes at the door to keep the petrochemicals in street tar and resurfacing materials from moving through your home. Purchase a large decorative basket with a washable cloth liner or purchase a wooden shoe tray to leave at the door and hold shoes. This eco-friendly tip will make sure your floors are “healthier.” Plus, they’ll last longer and look better — which is part of keeping your home green!
6. Maximize storage space and increase the value of your home by installing cedar shelving in your closets. You’ll not only protect your wardrobe, but you’ll also eliminate the need for foul smelling, chemical laden mothballs.
7. Remember that light can drastically impact your mood and health. If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder or other mood disorders (including stress, anxiety or depression), bring full spectrum light fixtures and light bulbs into your home. You’ll reduce fatigue and irritability because full spectrum light reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone secreted naturally in our bodies. Along with many other documented health benefits, full spectrum light slows the aging of eye retinas and promotes a feeling of well being.
8. Limit household dust and improve indoor air quality by factoring in a sleek, new air purifier to your decorating budget (click the image for details). An air purifier may even help you save money on winter heating costs. According to the EPA, indoor air quality is the worst environmental problem in the country-responsible for more respiratory problems than any other source. New air purifiers are made to blend in with your décor, run quietly and cost just pennies to operate a month. Beside the health benefits, a dust and odor free home will extend the life of your fabrics and soft furnishings. This eco-friendly tip — improving your air quality — is an inexpensive, easy way to green your home.
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Debbie Wiener’s firm, Designing Solutions, is based in Silver Springs, Maryland; she is a frequent guest on Martha Stewart Radio.