Many of us have spent more time in our homes this past year than ever before

The pandemic has had us all alternating from bed to couch to fridge (OK, admittedly a few too many fridge trips) and some of us are getting cabin fever. Staring at the same walls every day can get a bit monotonous.

But for some, quarantine has instilled a newfound sense of creativity, perhaps a new flair for interior design, or at least a deeper obsession with Pinterest. The result? It’s time to redecorate!

It’s great to refresh our living space every once in a while, but it’s important to ensure this doesn’t come at a cost to the world that exists outside of our quarantine cocoon. (It’s still out there, I swear.)

Here are some tips for ensuring your home revitalization is as eco-friendly as possible...


1. Ask if it’s really necessary and work with what you've got

living roomPhoto by Sidekix Media on UnsplashFirst of all, do you really need to revamp your space at all? Is your home really in need of a refresh, or is quarantine just making you bored and antsy? Are there other ways to occupy your mind rather than accumulating material things? Could practicing yoga or developing another new hobby satisfy that restlessness that is swaying you towards a renovation? Play around with other ideas first; perhaps rearranging your furniture around the room will help deliver that new sense of feng shui that will make your home feel new and exciting.


2. Refurbish existing items

chairThe most eco-friendly option for refreshing your home is to use existing materials and items. Consider reupholstering an old chair or painting an outdated coffee table, picture frame or desk set rather than purchasing new. Look at upcycling an old bottle of your favourite wine into a flower vase, or turn that wicker basket into a lampshade or old plywood into a headboard. Pinterest is full of creative, quirky, and fun DIY ideas!


3. Choose eco-friendly furniture

wood dining tablePhoto by Jonathan Borba on UnsplashWhether you’re moving in somewhere new or your old furniture just isn’t functioning anymore, there are ways to consider the environment when bringing in new couches, tables, chairs and the like.

When purchasing furniture, opt for high quality, sturdy, durable items that can withstand ample wear and tear and will still be in style for the foreseeable future. Avoid flimsy items that could break easily and aesthetics that will be seen as tacky 10 years—choose solid neutral colours over bright patterns (unless your funky soul will stand the test of time).


4. Purchase sustainable decor

plantsPhoto by Annie Spratt on UnsplashWhen sprucing up your home, minimalism is best. Again, don’t select items that will go out of style or need to be thrown out in the next few years. If you are purchasing items, opt to support eco-friendly and ethical companies that create products with minimal environmental impact. Also, plants are a great decor choice, as they are biodegradable and are even said to be able to improve mood and productivity (which we could all use during quarantine).


5. Inspect the materials

beddingPhoto by Susan Wilkinson on UnsplashWhen selecting furniture or other home accessories, look at what they're made of so you can make an informed and eco-friendly choice. Try to avoid anything plastic, or dyes containing harmful chemicals, and choose materials that are either recycled or made with eco-friendly materials, such as ethically sourced timber products. For textiles, look for 100 percent natural fibres like cotton, linen, silk and wool, and avoid synthetic fibres like satins and blended fibres.

Look for certifications that verify the material’s commitment to social and environmental sustainability, such as OEKO-TEK for eco-friendly textiles and leathers, and Forest Stewardship Council for wood and paper products.


6. Use eco-friendly paint

paintPhoto by Roselyn Tirado on UnsplashMany upcycling and refurbishing ideas include adding a fresh coat of paint to an old piece of furniture. So while selecting your paint, make sure it is a colour you won’t get sick of and that it doesn’t contain any volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be harmful to humans and our environment.

These ideas, among many more, will bring new life to your space at minimal or no cost to the environment. Let your creativity and imagination flow and happy decorating!