Green Decorating on a Budget

Fall is approaching, and as the leaves begin to change, you may be getting the urge to make some changes around the house as well. While this is a praiseworthy endeavor, it is important to keep decorative modifications both within your budget and earth friendly. The challenge in doing a home makeover is to keep it frugal and green. This will allow you to enjoy your handiwork with a clear conscience, and it is not as difficult as it sounds.

First, consider these green home makeover ideas to get some bang for the buck:

• Survey old appliances to see if new eco-friendly replacements might be prudent.

• Consider a swap meet with friends to trade decorative items such as lamps, clocks, pictures, or vases.

• Check the Freecycle website to locate free furnishings and decorative items others no longer need.

• Shop the local thrift, charity, and consignment shops to get the best bargains.

• Keep an eye on the free section of Craig’s List.

By reusing older furnishings that others are throwing away, conscientious decorators can save trees and other natural resources and help prevent landfills from overflowing.

Just because second hand furnishings are being used, this does not mean that the results will be less than desirable. Try the following hints to make the most of recycled furniture for frugal decorating:

• Use eco-friendly paint removers, sandpaper and natural stains to refinish scratches on wooden tables, cabinets or dressers.

• Cover torn or ripped armchairs, loveseats, and recliners with modern, well-fitted slipcovers to prolong their useful life.

• Cover old dining tables with inexpensive fabric table cloths.

• Coordinate mismatched wooden chairs by using cheap dining chair covers.

• Place lace doilies over damaged areas and place vases of fresh cut flowers on them.

If it is absolutely necessary to purchase new products, consider the following eco-friendly materials and make sure that all purchases are wrapped in the least packing materials needed for transport:

• Bamboo to save trees.

• Recycled plastic to prevent landfills from overflowing.

• Wool carpeting to purify the air and eliminate toxic chemicals and gasses.

• Natural cork for formaldehyde-free flooring.

These products will not only help with your green home makeover, but some of them will also provide greater comfort and last longer than products currently in use.

If everyone takes small steps toward improving the environment and saving the Earth’s resources, improvements in the state of the planet would begin to occur at a faster pace. The Earth is the only home we all share, and while decorating our individual residences may seem to be important, the true urgency lies in reversing wasteful trends and maintaining the natural beauty around us. Fortunately, by taking the time to consider products that are less harmful to the world around us, we can ensure that the world inside and outside our homes is as beautiful and comfortable as it can be.


This is a guest post from Caroline Smith, who runs Caroline likes discovering green and thrifty ideas for furnishing her home and enjoys giving secondhand furniture a new lease of life.

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13 years ago

I want to come to your swap meet!!! As, usual this was a timely, great and encouraging article!

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