Green Gold: 4 Good Home Ideas for Your Wallet and the Planet

Going green doesn’t always mean shelling out your entire paycheck for responsible home décor.

By Tina Jepson


Environmentally-friendly home decorations aren’t a new thing. In fact, consumers have been looking for ways to minimize their carbon footprint and make a positive impact on the environment for the better part of a decade. But so many of us run into the same problem: finances. 

 

Decorating a home is an expensive undertaking and, when you begin to incorporate environmentally-responsible elements such as organic materials, a minimal footprint, and sustainable roots, the costs instantly begin to add up.

 

Thankfully, there’s a simple solution: recycling. When you repurpose and upcycle materials, you’re being a good steward of the environment and helping your bottom line at the same time. Before you spend your next paycheck on a new wreath or other “green” home décor, consider these four alternatives.

 

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Rocks and Branches

You don’t have to be a geologist to appreciate the beauty of rocks. Each one has a unique appearance, from beautiful large geodes to tiny intricate pebbles and everything in between. 

 

Collecting rocks has become a tradition, of sorts, for our family. While visiting a new beach or mountain range, we try to pick up a few rocks along the way. Then, we use them in our home décor by filling vases, centerpieces, and covering our mantle with the distinct beauties. The best part? They’re completely free!

 

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Here are a few additional ways to use rocks in your home decorations:
●    Large rocks as bookends
●    Around candles to help control the wax drips
●    In jars or vases
●    As paperweights
●    On top of soil in an indoor potted plant

 

Branches are another natural object we can’t get enough of. As the leaves start falling in the early autumn, it’s the perfect time to venture outside and collect stray sticks of all shapes and sizes. Then, secure them together to make an interesting wreath, place them in a bowl, or arrange them in your fireplace. To add a pop of color, consider using spray paint on some or all of the branches.  

 

Flowers and Herbs

Potted plants are good for the soul. They help add oxygen indoors and clean the air. They’re also stunning and quite easy to maintain, even if you don’t necessarily have a green thumb.

 

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Plus, you don’t have to wait until the spring or summer to plant your green goodies indoors. Simply sow some seeds (avoid started plants to save money) in a ceramic pot with new, clean soil, place in a sunny windowsill, and wait for the magic to begin. 

 

Just don’t forget to water and fertilize your flower and herbs as needed. 

 

Upcycled/Repurposed Housewares 

Anything from old plates to glasses and mason jars can easily be transformed into home décor. Plus, if you’re reusing your own items, the cost to you is virtually nil. 

 

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Plate walls are one of the easiest ways to do this. If you’ve acquired an old set of plates (either matching or mismatched), consider using them as your kitchen or dining room wall décor. Arrange them in an interesting, abstract way without worrying about following a pattern. Then, secure them using plate wall hangers.

 

There is almost an unlimited number of ways to repurpose your housewares aside from a plate wall. Here are a few examples:
●    Mason jars as vases
●    Old tin pots as utensil holders during parties
●    Wine bottles as centerpieces
●    Hanging pots and pans

 

Old Wood

Wood always comes in handy, which is why I never throw it away after a home renovation or DIY project. You just never know when you’ll need that scrap piece in the near future! 

 

We recently found a stack of never-used, unfinished hardwood floor panels in our basement. Instead of burning them or tossing them in the trash, we transformed them into a stunning yet functional door to our cellar. After a few nails, some stain, and hardware, our cellar access became a pretty outdoor focal point. 

 

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Likewise, we framed a simple map with leftover wood from an old project. All it takes is a vision to put scrap wood to good use. 

 

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By recycling what you already have or what you find in nature, you’re using fewer materials that may have been irresponsibly sourced. Plus, you’re saving yourself a lot of money in the process. When you’re looking to add a little oomph to your home, use what you have first through recycling and repurposing. It’s an easy way to make a difference in the world!

 

Images used with permission, courtesy of Tina Jepson

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