Eco-Friendly Style Guides for Older Homes

Tara Dickinson
6 minute read

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The benefit of working with older homes when you're adding or remodeling with eco-friendly additions in mind is that you will most likely have strong and unique foundational elements such as original architectural features, wood, tile, stone, or brick materials. Updating or decorating your older home with eco-friendly materials, furniture, and ways of sourcing is easy once you get into the sustainable mindset. Some examples include:

  • Cork floors are quite eco-friendly. So are reclaimed wood or a patchwork of rescued tiles. And all three are absolutely stylish and can set the tone for a specific decor theme.
  • Low-flow water fixtures come in all manner of stylish options nowadays.
  • Recycled glass tiles set the mood for modern chic design looks.
  • Native plants in your landscaping make for attractive sustainable outdoor living areas.

older homeRetrofitting: Using & Adjusting What’s On Hand

Retrofitting can sort of fall into several categories when planning out ways to decorate or update in eco-friendly ways.

  • You can update existing structures.
  • Make changes to modernize or add on to a space.
  • The same goes for room insulation, appliances, furnishings, and other decor accents.
  • Retrofitting is a practice in innovation that results in unique, low-cost, and green solutions.

Lighting: Go Eco-Friendly With Energy-Wise Options

Lighting can literally make or break the entire look and feel of a room. Thankfully, lighting design is one of the more affordable areas in which to make a green difference.

  • Always make the most of natural light options first.
  • Second, opt for energy-efficient fixtures.
  • Eco interior design incorporates smart glass, larger windows, and skylights where possible.
  • Light color decor schemes lessen the need for manufactured lighting.
  • LEDs or composite fluorescent bulbs last longer and lower energy consumption.

Eco-Friendly Plumbing Fixtures: Save Water

Older homes almost always need some plumbing and pipe updates. When making those upgrades, be sure to choose water-efficient fixtures such as showerheads and faucets.

  • You can minimize your water use by 70%
  • This inexpensive eco swap decreases monthly water bills.
  • Plus, the options for stylish water-saving fixtures come in a wide range of decor looks.

Low-Impact Materials

Using low-impact products and materials, and of course avoiding non-renewable and harmful ones, takes some thoughtful consideration when styling your home in an eco-friendly manner. These materials can be part of many of your decor elements, anything from rugs to furniture, to accents, and artwork.

  • Low-impact materials are natural, renewable, and non-toxic.
  • Such as responsibly sourced wood, cork, compressed earth, bamboo, or recycled metals for furniture and fixtures.
  • In textiles, choose organic or recycled cotton, linen, wool, and hemp.
  • Tencel is a new fabric made from wood pulp that is biodegradable and eco-friendly.

Sustainable Is Worth The Cost

The benefits of using or sourcing sustainable interior design products that are low-impact means that they will be both durable and remain timeless.

  • High-quality, well-made, and eco-friendly products are usually worth a slightly higher price tag.
  • Going this route saves resources and waste that would come from less expensive options.

Look At Decorating Differently

Adopting a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle might mean taking a look at the ways you use and consume products. This can include everything from your fashion choices to your home decor and beyond.

  • If you want to update or change out your home décor style with the seasons, think about decorative objects in a reusable manner, swapping out items you keep in storage, or in the garage, rather than buying new.
  • Living decor from nature such as plants, leaves, branches, bamboo, fruits and vegetables (bowl of lemons, gourds, basket of apples), and flowers, are always eco-friendly and ideal for any season.
  • Reuse what you have by moving things around or seeing if you can change the use.                          

Eco-Friendly Furniture Hacks

This whole article gives you many ideas on ways to build, source, resurface, or reclaim furniture items for your home using eco-friendly practices. The style can range from African to Industrial to Southern Charm and anything in-between if you add some elbow grease and creativity.

  • Eco-friendly interior design is made easy when you reclaim, recycle, or reuse.
  • Furniture that’s lost its pizzazz, like an outdated sofa, can be reupholstered.
  • Cabinets and cupboards can be refinished; a coat of paint could be all you need for an update. 

Go Vintage

Vintage is defined as high quality and usually something from the past. Older homes beg for vintage furnishings as they will most likely complement the existing architectural and foundational elements. Choosing vintage, or any pre-loved item, means you are not only saving virgin materials but also engaging in a circular economy which has a multitude of benefits for the planet.

  • Vintage furnishings can easily replace anything new you might be considering for your new home decor style.
  • Vintage wood is exquisite and a cherished resource. Think reclaimed old-growth wood for example that can be used on floors, headboards, or to make coffee tables, etc.
  • A vintage piece of recycled marble for a breakfast nook is a classy way to make a special alcove in your home.
  • Retrofit an antique light fixture for your foyer, creating a unique look in an eco-friendly manner.
  • This keeps furniture out of landfills and reduces the massive carbon footprint generated by the multitude of methods of transportation.

Upcycle Items You Already Own

Use what you already own and refresh it into new creative pieces that reflect your personal style. This can be done with so many items and they will fit perfectly in an older style home decor design. Ideas:

  • Two old chairs into a bench.
  • Old dresser drawers into wall display shelves.
  • A bookcase into a bar cart.
  • Hall closet into a work nook.

Reface Old Wood Furniture

Old furniture gives your older home a feeling of sentimentality, of items used and loved over time. Refacing old furniture and giving it new life for your eco-friendly older home is a perfect example of sustainable decorating. Wood furniture is one of the easier types to work with.

  • Here are about a dozen of the best eco-friendly paint brands on the market today.
  • Tables, chairs, dressers, vanities, and other wood furniture will look fantastic after a bit of sanding and a fresh paint job.

The same goes for kitchen cabinets. Instead of buying new, you can give them a huge update with some textual paint refinishing or just another color.

  • This older home kitchen has now changed into a more modern, fresh decor style.

 

 

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