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Making your family home eco-friendly

Families are now becoming more and more aware of the environment and the threats to it that our modern way of life has created.  Green issues, such as sustainability of resources, saving energy and water, and decreasing the negative impact on the environment are now high on the agenda for many people.  In the search for ways to live in an environmentally-friendly way, the family home naturally becomes a starting point.  Beginning with the design and furnishing of the home and extending into positive habits for day-to-day life, making the family home eco-friendly is simple and fun. 

Eco-friendly changes in the home 

One of the best ways to make a positive impact on the environment right from home is to furnish it with eco-friendly materials and pieces.  Far from being boring, eco-friendly furniture is made from some of the finest and most unique materials in the world.  

Wooden furniture is a very popular option with a wide variety of modern and traditional designs available to complement any décor.  Eco-friendly wood furniture is constructed from lumber that was harvested from approved harvesting sites located around the world.  These certified sites grow their trees from seedlings and constantly raise new generations of trees as they harvest the mature ones.  

Another popular material for furniture and flooring in eco-friendly homes is bamboo.  Though actually a hardy and fast-growing grass, bamboo is frequently finished to look like wood and is one of the most sustainable of materials due to its rapid growth. 

Window treatments may also be eco-friendly.  Draperies and curtains that are made from naturally-sourced fabrics and materials, such as cotton, wool, linen and silk, are excellent choices with a wide array of textures and patterns that will complement any design and décor.  Horizontal blinds and vertical shades are also available in bamboo or a selection of sustainable woods; eco-friendly faux window shutters are also an excellent choice and are FSC Certified as well. 

Easy ideas for eco-friendly changes 

If purchasing new furniture is not in the scope of the family budget, refurbishing or repurposing existing pieces may be the way to go.  Wooden pieces can be refinished with wood stain or can be completely changed to fit in any room with a fresh coat of colorful paint.  Upholstered furniture is relatively easy to recover as a do-it-yourself project, or a professional upholsterer can be brought in, particular for more elaborate pieces.  In addition to naturally-sourced fabrics, a number of materials that mimic animal hides may be used, including faux leather and faux suede. 

Paint is a quick and easy way to liven up any room or environment, but be sure to select a non-toxic paint.  Many paints contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that release chemicals into the home atmosphere.  There is a variety of low-VOC and non-VOC paints available.  Avoid wallpapers; the adhesives used to hang them also contain these VOC toxins. 

Getting the kids involved 

Half the fun of going green is getting involved as a family.  Children in particular will enjoy the experience of doing their part to contribute to a clean and green home.  Involving kids can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including encouraging energy saving through turning-off and unplugging electronics and appliances when not in use.  Recycling is also a fun green habit to cultivate; kids can participate by composting kitchen leftovers and recycling newspapers, cardboard, aluminum and tin.