In February of 2010, Rent.com conducted a survey to determine how important green apartment living was to Americans. The results were staggering: The majority (86 percent) of Americans would prefer to live in an eco-friendly apartment when given the choice. Good job, America!
Although finding the ideal environmentally-conscious apartment can sometimes be difficult, making minor (and affordable) changes to your daily routine and your living space will make a big difference. In fact, the way you decorate your apartment can impact your carbon footprint for the better. Take a look at these tips for turning your space into a green and totally stylish place:
Use Sustainable Materials
Switching to sustainable materials can both improve the look of your living space as well as bring you one step closer to your eco-friendly dream apartment. For example, soy-based products, recycled materials and bamboo can all help to create a “greener” apartment while still remaining affordable—talk about a win-win situation.
The best part is that you can apply these materials to numerous items around your apartment! Consider filling your space with eco-friendly furniture by avoiding big warehouse brands and instead searching for pieces at local stores and boutiques. You’ll get unique pieces no one else has and protect the environment. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back.
Teak, sustainable bamboo, and 100 percent organic cotton and wool are a few reliable materials to look out for when shopping for environmentally friendly furniture. Your bedding and curtains can also be made of 100 percent organic cotton.
Seek Better Lighting Options
You can illuminate your living space with light fixtures that are energy efficient and made with recycled goods, such as glass bottles. Upcycling is a totally awesome trend that’s here to stay. Basically, you take old materials and transform them into something decorative.
Finding a local lighting store, commissioning an artist (hello, Etsy!) or making a lighting fixture yourself (like the awesome wine bottle light pictured above, made by a Rent.com employee) are great ways to ensure an exceptional lighting piece that is worth every penny. Not only will it be eco-friendly, but your unique fixture will also be a showstopper, allowing you to display your one-of-a-kind find to guests!
Be sure to look for fixtures that carry the Energy Star seal—this designation lets you know that the item you purchase is energy efficient. Such lights are great for your wallet and kind to Mother Nature.
Choose Non-Toxic Paints
If you’re tired of boring white walls, with your landlord’s approval, consider painting them neutral colors for a fresh look. However, you’ll need to be careful when selecting paint. Many types contain toxins that are harmful to you and the environment—not so pretty now, are you, colorful walls?
Fortunately, you’ll have plenty of options that will turn your space into a green apartment. Soy paint is a durable and non-toxic alternative that reduces indoor pollution. Additionally, when you buy a can of paint, make sure it says “natural paint,” “zero VOC” or “low VOC” on the label. VOCs are volatile organic compounds that aren’t safe to breathe. By choosing paint that either has no or very little VOC, you’ll ensure your apartment follows our eco-friendly tips.
Buy (or Make) Green Decorations
If your kitchen or bathroom needs a facelift (or if you just want an excuse to decorate), consider adding an eco-friendly touch, such as a bamboo mat. Bamboo is both durable and water resistant, and of course, also environmentally friendly. In fact, it grows at a surprisingly fast rate: about one foot a day! That means entire forests of the stuff are incredibly easy to replenish.
If you’d prefer an alternative to bamboo, try creating your own all-natural wine cork bath mat that is both biodegradable and gives a new purpose to wine corks!
You can also enhance your living space with organic cotton throw pillows. Choose ones that are made with raw materials and recycled goods for a contemporary look with an organic feel—that’s getting the best of both worlds.
Going green can guarantee long-lasting pieces and low maintenance without hurting your wallet. With affordable and high-quality furniture and decor, you can create an eco-friendly atmosphere that looks fresh, simple and contemporary in no time!