Home décor is a very personal pursuit. We all have our own ideas about what makes a residence both stylish and aesthetically appealing, but we also have preferences when it comes to color, comfort, and even conscience. So while one family might fill a home with exotic hardwoods and leather décor with nary a thought to the environment in the process, others may abhor the idea of denuding forests and using cowhide just so they can have a stylish interior. If you find yourself in the latter camp, then you'll be happy to hear that there is a growing market for both recycled and upcycled home goods that offer you the furniture and décor options that will help you to decorate your home without having to increase your carbon footprint. Here are just a few tips to make this timely trend work for you.
1. Understand upcycling. You probably know that recycling is a process that involves taking used items and giving them a second life. What you might not know is that upcycling is like an updated version of this process, by which used items are made into something new and better. So whereas a used pair of sneakers might be recycled by sending them to a thrift store for someone else to use, they could be upcycled by sending them to Nike to be turned into rubber turf for a kids' playground. The same principle can apply to furnishings and décor for your home.
2. Splurge on occasion. You may find that upcycled products cost a bit more than standard fare, but before you scoff at the price tag, keep in mind that you're getting something extra in the bargain. When you purchase an upcycled coffee table made from an old wine barrel, for example, you're ensuring that no new trees were cut to make your furniture. In short, you're paying a little extra for peace of mind while getting a unique and beautiful piece of décor in the process. So once in a while it's okay to splurge a little.
3. Seek local crafters. It's probably easier to find the targeted goods you're seeking online, but true greenies may not be down with the pollution created through shipping when they order online. In this case it's a good idea to look around locally and see what you can find in the way of artisans creating the pieces that will make your home complete. Those that use locally-sourced materials and recycled or reclaimed items in their creations will provide the most eco-friendly fare.
4. DIY projects. Whether you're on the prowl for furniture, lamps, water features, or any other kind of home décor, it's not a bad idea to remember that you can do a lot on your own. Creativity is the spirit of upcycling, so don't hesitate to make another man's trash your treasure. Hit up yard sales and thrift stores for steals on used items; then make them your own. With a little leg-work and elbow grease you can have a home full of custom pieces that you created (at least in part).
5. Be picky. The only downside to recycled and upcycled décor is that it can start to look like a grab-bag of styles if you're not careful. While you might not be able to get the same matchy-matchy look as new furniture stores offer, you can still create a unified style that speaks to your personal preferences with a little planning and forethought. So before you pick up any ‘new’ pieces for your home, consider how they'll fit with your current décor. If you do it right, your friends will never know that every stick of furniture in your home is the product of recycling or upcycling - unless you decide to brag about it.
Leon Harris is a contributing writer for Kinetic Fountains. Harris lives in Southern California, and enjoys eating healthy and exercising with his two Golden Retrievers.
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