Eight eco-friendly ways to renovate your home

Planning to renovate your home? Here are eight eco-friendly ideas to inspire you.

Every home requires some form of updating every once in a while, as it may start looking tired – especially if you have children. But making improvements to your home should go beyond just the look of it. It should also add to a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere and ambiance of your home.

For some people, the first thing that comes into mind when their current home starts looking dull, or they get bored of it, is to move into a different home – maybe a larger one, even.

Trethowans
Trethowans

But that doesn’t always make financial sense, especially considering the current economic situation. But what if, instead, you made improvements to where you live now, and don’t just give it an update, but make it more eco-friendly too? 

If you haven’t thought about eco-friendly ways to renovate your home, or just don’t know where to start, here are some ideas to inspire you.

1) Buy reclaimed materials

As much as updating your home with shiny, new decor and accessories is a nice feeling, it is not always necessary. Sometimes, repurposed materials, such as reclaimed wood, is a better way to spend your money, as it’s often more environmentally friendly.

And buying environmentally friendly furniture and decor doesn’t mean you need to compromise on style, either, as it’s often beautiful and on-trend. No surprise then that it’s gaining popularity in many different kinds of home revamping projects.

Reclaimed wood is an excellent choice when it comes to walls, floors, as well as countertop renovations. It’s low maintenance and can save you a considerable amount of of cash if you buy wisely.

2) Don’t demolish your home – deconstruct it!

Sometimes you may feel tempted to remodel your home more dramatically by tearing down a wall or knocking through to turn two smaller rooms into a angle, larger space.

But before you take a sledgehammer to your home, take the time to do a thorough inspection, and try to establish what can be salvaged and reused. Not only will doing this save you some money in the end, but it is also very eco-friendly.

Consider salvaging anything reusable, ranging from cabinets to bricks, tiles, flooring, and light fixtures. If you plan to replace the chandelier in your living room, for example, you may choose to move it to the kitchen or bathroom, instead.

And if there’s anything you don’t want or can’t repurpose, rather than throwing on a skip, see if anyone else would like to reclaim it to use in their home. There are local companies who will buy salvaged materials, or you can even sell directly online yourself.

3) Donate what you don’t want

Speaking of which, when you revamp your home, you might decide it’s the perfect time to declutter too, and get rid of furniture, objects and even clothing you no longer want or lose.

But rather than piling it up in your garage, or throwing it out, save yourself space and be kind to the planet by giving them a new home where they will be wanted and used.

You can donate them to someone, send them to a consignment shop, or organize a garage sale. You might even end up making money!

One of the worst culprits – when it comes to our homes looking dull, lifeless, and unwelcoming – is cluttering. So embrace this opportunity to have a clear out and make space for newt hunts for your to love.

4) Consider energy-efficiency

When you shop for new appliances such as dishwashers, ovens, refrigerators, or even washing machines, think about energy-efficiency.

This will be one of the best investments you will ever make in your home. So look for the products that have the Energy Star indicator or logo on them, as they will provide you with all the info you need before making a purchase.

Make it a point to stay away from the large and high-end appliances like upscale refrigerators, as they end up putting a huge demand on your electricity, and cost quite a great deal to run.

And when it comes to heating or insulation improvements, always go for energy-efficient options that do not let heat out of your home. Investing in electric radiators, for example, may seem a bit expensive when purchasing, but the returns they will offer you and your home make them easily worth their price tags. 

5) Opt for pre-owned materials

Just as you’re finding new homes for materials and items you no longer want, when shopping for replacements, embrace the pre-loved market.

There are several outlets that offer very good quality pre-owned materials, including some high-end ones. These materials can be used to renovate your home in many cost-effective ways. Just make sure that you pick out the materials that are environmentally friendly. 

So, before you dash off to a furniture store when you need a kitchen makeover, why don’t you find out if there are any outlets near you that sell pre-owned materials? You just might find some high-quality kitchen cabinets for a fraction of the cost – both to your wallet and the planet.

6) Don’t replace things – re-face them

Not everything needs to be replaced when you are renovating your home. Sometimes, simply ‘re-facing’, or updating items is all you need to breathe new life into them – and into your home.

Take your old-looking kitchen cabinets, for example. You may not necessarily need to replace them entirely. Sometimes, a good paint job or a glossy finish is enough to do the trick. You can also resurface them with different kinds of materials, and change their handles for a completely new look.

7) Let nature in!

Let’s start with some sun power – or solar power if you like. While more and more people are beginning to realize the long-term benefits of investing in solar panels, the cost of getting them installed is still a turn-off for many.

But if you can afford them (and, of course, if you have enough sun year-round where you live), then they are a very good long-term investment, as they can significantly impact your energy bills.

Skylights can also be very effective when it comes to keeping your energy costs low. A simple touch of indoor plants can do wonders in your home, too. Aside from the fact that they add some luster to your home’s ambiance, they also help to purify the air you breathe. And what’s a better combination than enough sunlight and plants in your space?

8) Visit antique shops and salvage yards

As already mentioned, it is not a bad idea to visit consignment shops when you’re about to make some home renovations. And the same can be said about antique shops and salvage yards.

Antique shops are a good go-to place for items such as light fixtures, doorknobs, and even mantels. These shops or sales can be perfect for low budgets.

You can also find a lot of unique items and antiques from salvage yards that will help you stay environmentally friendly and give your home a unique style that newer stuff cannot offer. 

Photo by Julien-Pier Belanger