Redesigning your bedroom? Take the opportunity to refresh your innermost sanctum, and build the cozy nest that will give you the optimum environment to get good rest at night.
Choosing sustainable, eco-friendly linens, furniture, and design elements, like paint, can do much more than reduce your home’s environmental impact. It can help you breathe easier and improve your health. Here’s what you need to know to renovate your bedroom design, sustainably.
1) Buy from Local Makers
Whether you need to buy a new bedroom suite or you’re just looking for some pretty curtains or nice art for the walls, hit up your local artisans first. Local craftspeople may use reclaimed wood and other upcycled and eco-friendly materials, and you’ll lessen your carbon footprint by buying goods that don’t need to be shipped to your home from a distant location. Plus, you’ll get high-quality, hand-crafted goods that will last for years or decades, reducing your household waste and possibly even giving you an heirloom to pass on to the next generation.
2) Shop Secondhand
When it comes to buying sustainably, you should always try to buy second hand. Secondhand goods have already been manufactured and shipped — by choosing a gently used item, you’re eliminating the environmental impact of making and shipping a new one. You’re keeping plastic and shipping materials out of the landfill, reducing carbon emissions, and, in the case of secondhand furniture, you could be saving a tree’s life. You can buy just about anything second hand from antique stores, flea markets, garage sales, thrift shops, and the like. These locations are full of sturdy, well-made antique bedroom sets and headboards that can be easily refurbished, if needed, with upholstery or paint.
3) Upcycle Used Fabric and Fabric Scraps
You can repurpose old blankets to make comforters or curtains, and shop local thrift stores for textiles that you can repurpose into chic bedroom decor, with a little creativity. Use old clothes to make curtains, lampshades, pillowcases, comforters, wall hangings, or storage solutions. Denim, jersey-knit T-shirt fabric, and wool sweaters are particularly versatile.
4) Buy an Organic Mattress and Bedding
If there’s one thing in your bedroom that you should replace with a more eco-friendly version, it’s your mattress. If you’re still sleeping on a conventional mattress, you might as well be tucking yourself into a pile of chemicals every night. Conventional mattresses are produced using synthetic materials that can off-gas volatile organic compounds, which can cause respiratory irritation, aggravate allergies and asthma, and even cause more serious conditions, like cancer.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the cotton used to make conventional mattresses is grown with a lot of potentially toxic pesticides. Conventionally grown cotton uses 16 percent of the world’s pesticides, while occupying just 2.5 percent of cultivated land. Many of those pesticides have been found to be toxic to humans. Choose an organic cotton mattress or an organic latex mattress to breathe easier and sleep safer, without all the pesticides and chemicals.
5) Paint with VOC-Free Paints and Stains
Your mattress isn’t the only thing in your bedroom that could be releasing toxic VOCs. Paints, stains, and adhesives also contain these potentially harmful toxins. Protect yours and your family’s health by using eco-friendly paints and stains.
There are plenty of low- and no-VOC paints and stains on the market, including options like milk paint and chalk paint that can allow you to create that trendy, distressed look on any surface that will take paint. Low-VOC paints do have some VOCs in them, although fewer than some other paints — however, there is no standard for what constitutes a “low” amount of VOCs in paint, so you may be better off looking for a totally non-toxic, VOC-free option. Most major brands produce low- and no-VOC paints. Milk paint and chalk paint are both VOC-free options for refurbishing furniture pieces or even repainting walls.
Refreshing your bedroom design with eco-friendly furniture, linens, paints, and stains reduces your carbon footprint and can help stop climate change, but that’s not the only reason to do it. It’s also a great way to make your sleeping environment safer and healthier. So redo your bedroom with sustainable design, and breathe easier at night.