Creating a cozy hearth for the family
Photo by iStock
Spring is just around the corner, and that means it’s time for some cleaning and redecorating to banish those winter blues. I try to give my house a fresh feel every spring, just to change the mood and vibes of my space. I try to make sure that I make my living space a little more sustainable than it was before, so as to reduce my impact on my surroundings and make my house feel more “one with nature.” While conservation and redecorating aren’t something most people consider together, I do believe that there is a sustainable alternative to most actions. Here, I’m going to share some spring home improvement ideas I’ve incorporated over the years - hopefully these will inspire you to make your house more eco-friendly.
As winter comes to a close, there’s nothing I detest more than seeing all sorts of items flung across the counter, especially considering that countertops, especially large ones, are one of the most eye-catching features of any space. The first step is to de-clutter any unwanted items that have made your counter their temporary home. Personally, I find that a relatively empty countertop gives an illusion of space, so I make it a point to only have minimal items like a vase of fresh flowers on my counter. If you prefer to keep your counter covered because it’s ugly - don’t fret! Spring is a great time to change it out for something beautiful. If your budget allows, go ahead and change your counters. With the variety of absolutely stunning granite options out there, it’s easy to turn your counter into a work of art. Since granite and marble are naturally found stones, choosing an indigenous variety helps reduce the environmental impact of long distance transportation.
Work the Windows
Windows cause a lot of heat loss, especially during times of extreme weather. Replacing windows not only increases energy efficiency, but also is the perfect way to add some new style elements to your space. You can use the opportunity to create a new feel to your living quarters, by allowing for more light, different angles, and new textures. To make sure you are maximizing on energy efficiency, you will have to consider some factors while choosing your window replacements. These include choosing the type of panes (double or triple-paned), and the types of frame (wood, aluminum or vinyl). Finally, choosing an energy efficient design, such as double-hung windows will help reduce costs overall.
While this isn’t a redecoration project, replacing your lights is a springtime project that will serve you well for the year to come. Replacing regular incandescent light bulbs with LEDs or fluorescent light bulbs is a wonderful energy saver. What's more, energy efficient light bulbs last much longer than regular bulbs, making them cost-efficient too. This report by the Department of Energy explains some of the more technical differences between incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs.
Quick ‘n’ Easy Mood Changers
So, maybe you aren’t ready to invest in some serious redecoration, or you just don’t have the time. What then? Well, I’ve found it’s easy to change the feel of any space even with the smallest alterations. For example, something as small as rearranging your bookshelf can give your room a more open and airy feel if you set up your books in a certain way. Placing some horizontal and some vertical is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and this sort of book arrangement goes well with other accessories on your shelf, such as photo frames and trinkets. If you feel like changing your walls in a more drastic way, then consider getting some custom removable wall papers or murals printed, to make your walls unique. These can be switched out every season, or whenever you need a change of scenery. Similarly, changing pillows, adding throws to couches, and changing the way your art/frame display is set up will leave your living room feeling completely different. An easy way to do this in keeping with reducing your overall wastefulness is by collecting and keeping fabrics, reusing and upcycling old linens, and then changing them out seasonally rather than buying and throwing away new materials each year. One of the best ways to liven up any space is by bringing home some life, aka a plant! Having a burst of green screams spring, and having plants at home help cool down temperatures and naturally clean the air!
I hope these home improvement ideas inspire you to make your house more eco-friendly, because in the long run, having a sustainable living space will have better consequences for you and your surround environment.