Update your home with fresh walls, fun flooring and stylish accents.
Illuminate a room—and your spirits—with a beautiful lamp or chandelier made from natural or repurposed materials. For optimal energy savings, use a compact fluorescent or LED bulb.
Painting is one of the least expensive, easiest ways to update. Look for brands with low emissions of volatile organic compounds—“low-VOC” or “zero-VOC”—to keep the odor and air quality as fresh as your home’s new look. Some paints now also have low-VOC colorants.
New floor, squared
Flooring squares or tiles are convenient alternatives to vinyl or conventional carpet. Plus, you can easily replace stained or damaged sections with a single new tile (buy a couple extra, just in case). Choose styles made from recycled rubber, cork, recycled plastic (including bottles and carpet scraps) or renewable linseed. Some types are biodegradable; others can be recycled by the manufacturer.
Sit on it
Don’t have the dough for a new living room set? Splurge on one very cool chair—an unusual shape or pop of bright color will make the room. Seek Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood or recycled metal, low-VOC finishes and natural-fiber cushions.
Pull this off
Replacing dated hardware—drawer pulls, cabinet knobs, coat hooks or switchplates—can instantly change a room’s look. Look for recycled content such as glass or aluminum; natural materials such as stones, wood or shells; or reworked castoffs such as tin boxes.
Fire & Water
lamps made from recycled glass, wood, metal
lamps made from traffic signal lenses
chandelier styled from repurposed coat hangers
Vana and Reta Howell
lamps made from discarded plastic
silk cocoon lamps made by Thai artisans
zero- and low-VOC paints, primers, stains and finishes
Benjamin Moore Natura
zero-VOC paints, stains and finishes
Farrow and Ball
The Freshaire Choice
The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company
low-VOC paint made from milk protein
Purdy Professional Painting Tools
EcoPro brushes and rollers
The Real Milk Paint Company
nontoxic milk-based paint
carpet tiles made from recycled material
Forbo Flooring Systems
Marmoleum natural linoleum
cork flooring tiles in more than 35 colors
Jelinek Cork Group
Reztec Rubber Flooring
recycled tire rubber tiles
made in the United States of FSC-certified wood
made with recycled materials, no PVC
made from steel and scrap wood
made from sustainably harvested woods
made with sustainably harvested wood, natural or recycled upholstery, natural latex cushion and water-based glues
profits from recycled drawer pulls support low-income and homeless individuals
knobs, pulls, window hardware, switchplates and more made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled aluminum
Rocky Mountain Hardware
90 percent recycled-content knobs, hinges, door hardware, latches and more
knobs made from reclaimed waste mango wood by artisans in Rajasthan, India
Tin Can Sally
switchplate covers cut from vintage tins
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