Eco-Friendly Style Guide for Modern Homes

Tara Dickinson
9 minute read

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In a rapidly warming world, any actions we can take to reduce carbon emissions will make a difference in the overall big picture. With our homes being more in use than ever before, many have taken on the challenge of making their modern homes as eco-friendly, sustainable, and environmentally sound as possible. The term most in use is “sustainable” which is sort of a blanket term for green practices. Learning to become eco-responsible can be simplified down to avoiding anything that is harmful to the environment. Becoming more eco-conscious with your decorating choices is just a shift in thinking practices and being open to creative ways of sourcing and using materials. Eco-friendly can be incorporated into any budget and any decor style, from Americana to Romantic and everything in between.

Decorating a modern home using environmentally friendly practices is easier than you might think. Making more informed choices to create a sustainable interior design concept just takes a little time and patience in finding the sources to match your vision.


Eco-friendly Interior Design Defined

Also known as sustainable interior design, this type of decorating practice consciously works to reduce the negative impact of consumption on the planet. The benefits are truly multifold. Eco-design:

  • Creates a healthy living environment.
  • Creates better functioning interiors.
  • Minimizes the use of non-renewable sources.
  • Works with passive design concepts ('passive design' works with the local climate to maintain a comfortable temperature in the home).
  • Improves indoor quality.
  • Reduces harmful emissions and a waste of resources.
  • Restores and protects natural resources.
  • Reduce the cost of operating a home.
  • Boosts property value.

Decorating an eco-friendly home takes mindful decision-making. First and foremost is to buy local. Why?

  1. It reduces the need for long-distance transportation of items and materials.
  2. Local merchandise supports your local hometown economy.
  3. Locally made products are usually unique and will benefit your home decor with added elements of artistic creativity and uniqueness.

The second part of this equation is to opt for products with the fair trade seal; then you can be reassured that they are being transparent about the equity and respecting the global trading market. Fair trade is based on principles that ensure companies put people and the planet first. These principles include:

  • Commitment to non-discrimination, freedom of association, women’s economic empowerment, and gender equity.
  • Ensuring an organization is transparent and accountable in all aspects.
  • Minimizing waste and negative environmental impacts.
  • Not supporting child, forced, or exploited labor.
  • Providing a good and safe working environment.
  • Respecting the environment by opting for sustainably managed sources, buying locally.
  • Supporting economically disadvantaged producers through opportunity creation.
  • Upholding fair payment, including reasonable prices, wages, and local living wage.


The Prefabricated Home

A ‘prefab’ home is basically a ready-made house that is delivered to your plot of land. The benefits of a modern pre-made home include:

  • No waste produced in the construction.
  • They come with eco-friendly features such as solar panels.
  • They are less expensive than many other houses on the market.

A Zero Carbon Home

Zero Carbon homes have absolutely no carbon emissions whatsoever as they are outfitted with the newest eco-friendly technology generating all their energy from sustainable sources. This ultimately means you will leave no carbon footprint behind. You may actually be able to turn your home into zero carbon by investing in solar panels, better insulation, and a water pump.

A Solar Powered Home

This ideal home gets rid of the conventional boiler and instead embraces solar powered climate control and fresh air ventilation.

  • Uses seasonal shadowing programs to maximize warmth in your home.
  • Can come with a high lifter water pump which does not use fossil fuels the way other water pumps do. Learn more about solar HERE.

Stainless Steel

As Bethliving points out, “Steel and stainless-steel home interiors designed and manufactured with present-day technology fit the bill perfectly on sustainability and style. Modern technology has made many options available to us, and both have better standards of hygiene, as well as water, fire, and pest resistance. For too long we have been consuming from nature more than it can replenish. Our wood consumption for our home interiors costs us hectares of forest every second and is no longer sustainable.” The moral being, if stainless steel is an option in your modern home this is a greener and more practical solution all the way around.   


A Green Wall

This tip is great for those who live in larger cities and may not have yard space to grow greens and other plant life. The eco-friendly way to add an stylish impact and also have a fresh garden in your home is by creating one on the actual side of your house.

  • You can grow an entire green space at the same time providing insulation for your home.
  • Also great for city dwellers because it reduces noise pollution.
  • These green walls are built by installing packs of soil onto the wall with a water delivery system.
  • No watering and tending to a lawn every week.
  • Major benefit: they absorb carbon dioxide and improve the air quality of the area.
  • Plus a mood benefit acting as a calming area to be near and to reduce stress.

Make Quality A Priority

“Buy less, choose well, make it last.” This is a great motto to live by when thinking about what you choose to purchase when decorating your modern home.

  • Americans are doing a terrible job in recycling plastic (only 10%).
  • And then, plastic can only be recycled two times than it is trash forever.
  • Before you purchase, ask yourself if this item is something you’d feel proud to pass to the next generation.
  • While it may feel fun, skip cheap tchotchkes and seasonal décor.

Choose Carefully

If you truly want a healthy, eco-friendly, and sustainable interior home environment, understanding how the products in your home affect your indoor air quality is essential. Most importantly right off the bat is to not buy any cheap furniture that might off-gas toxins into your breathing air (this follows suit with the statement above about choosing quality products). The Green Living Gurus advises to:

  • Add plants.
  • Air-out dry cleaning.
  • Buy an air purifier.
  • Open windows.
  • Take your shoes off at the door.
  • Use non-toxic cleaning supplies.

Join The Circular Economy: Buy Pre-Loved

If you want to minimize waste and reduce your carbon footprint during your decorating efforts, then being part of the circular economy is an ideal way to go (circular economy means keeping items in a cycle of use as long as possible, going from buy and trash to repair, refurbish, and reuse). The best way to sustainably style your home is to choose used furniture over buying new.

  • There are many places to secure pre-loved furniture, from freecycle groups in your city to Facebook Marketplace, to high-end second hand stores that are focused almost entirely on home furnishings.
  • You can easily find a vast selection of furniture brands and items for every price point.
  • The gently used furniture marketplace is full of unique vintage items and prior-loved pieces from recognized home furnishing brands, all at a fraction of the original cost.
  • You also always have the option of painting a furniture piece with paint from a planet-conscious company, thus creating your own original design.

Natural, Recyclable, & Sustainable Materials

Eco-friendly translates to natural in the decorating world. Switch your designer's cap to one that would use only natural elements as a decor option. For example:

  • The goal is zero waste, natural materials, or compostable items.
  • How can you incorporate seasonal offerings into your decor…spring flowers, summer vegetables, fall branches, winter wonders of spices and nuts.
  • Select natural fabrics that offer comfort plus beauty. Cotton, linen, and wool fabrics use less (or no) chemicals in production versus their synthetic alternatives. Plus natural fabrics biodegrade more naturally over time.
  • Bamboo silk is another luxurious alternative.
  • “Handmade and ethically sourced wool felt decorations and home accents are wonderful and affordable ways to brighten your home while doing good for the planet and the artisans who create them. Plus, they are reusable and compostable at the end of their life.” – Friendsheep

Sustainable Home Brands

While we can’t stress enough that decorating your modern home with items procured from second hand shops or from your local artisans is the ideal and most eco-friendly way to go, if you still need to look outside those markets for what you want, here is a LINK to sustainable home decor brands to consider.


Last But Not Least: Dispose Of Waste Properly

If undertaking many of these DIY projects in your home, please learn how to handle and dispose of any chemical products. Or even better, find ways to use alternatives. For example using coffee or tea instead of wood stains. Recycling is one of the top and most cost-effective ways to reduce waste at home. There are well established ways to properly dispose of any type of material, especially hazardous ones such as: batteries, paint, chemicals, lightbulbs, and electronics. Make an effort to go beyond simply paper and plastic recycling to ensure the greatest amount of waste is diverted from landfills.



Undertaking the task of decorating your modern home with an eco-aware and eco-conscious mind-set can be a challenge. But once you get the hang of where and how to source the items and materials you need, it becomes a fun adventure with amazing and unique results. And remember, every positive change you make has an  impact on the environment and your wallet.



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