When it comes to green décor, it’s a motley mosaic of shades.
Some products are a smidge green, while others are a much deeper hue. There is so much variation in environmental responsibility, and no universal standards, which makes it difficult to know what to look for. When hunting for eco-friendly finds, we tend to seek out the familiar—words like organic or natural—but organic materials are only a thin slice of the pie. Who knew there were so many shades of grey in being green? With so many companies striving to meet the demand for environmentally sensitive products, there is a virtual rainbow of green options available for curating a beautiful home with an environmental conscience.
When talking about rugs, traditional methods can’t be beat for sustainability—both for the environment and the rug itself. A well-made hand-knotted wool rug (especially vegetable-dyed) is the epitome of green living and can last for generations. Wool is a super-fiber: hardwearing, stain resistant, fire resistant, anti-microbial with a luxurious texture—and it’s biodegradable! Hand knotting (rather than machine looming) helps to maintain the fibers’ lanolin content, which lends the wool many of its super powers. Natural vegetable-based dyes produce variegated, but luminous colors that patina gorgeously. If it ain’t broke… Pictured: Oceanside Oushak Rug, Horchow
Gone are the days of industrial fans and wide-open windows when it’s 10-below zero. From boutique brands to big hitters like Benjamin Moore, the market is flooded with low- or no-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) interior paint. VOCs have been linked to a variety of health and environmental concerns and the nauseating odor they emit is, I suspect, the reason those giant fans exist. Designer darling Farrow and Ball leads the charge with water-based paints that are low-VOC and richly hued. They carry more shades than the naked eye can discern (an “edited” 132 to be exact) with cheeky names to boot, so you’ll definitely find that perfect shade of white.
The United States remains a hub of upholstery manufacturing, so American-made sofas and chairs can be found with ease. Buying American is already pretty green in itself. Since items aren’t shipped across oceans, the carbon footprint is drastically minimized for a domestic piece of furniture. Add to that a sustainably harvested kiln-dried frame, recycled cushion fiber, cotton upholstery and bench-made craftsmanship, and we’re talking deep, dark, leafy-green goodness! Pictured: Taraval Sofa, Crate & Barrel (also pictured top right)
When it comes to wood products, it’s a jungle out there. Nobody wants to worry that a rainforest died to make their coffee table. Forestry regulations in North America are often considered more stringent than in other parts of the world. Look for pieces made from wood harvested in the US or Europe (and even better if it’s FSC-certified lumber), or that was reclaimed from existing structures. Bamboo is another fantastic option. Room & Board’s Tyne cocktail table with reclaimed chestnut top (made in Minnesota) is low-slung and sexy with elegant, spare lines and a rustic edge that gives a nod to the eco-efforts you’ve been making.
Don’t forget to reuse and recycle! Who could stand to throw away such gorgeous fabrics? Vibrant, elaborately patterned vintage Turkish kilims make spectacular accent pillows that add color, depth and soul to any décor. Pictured: Amber Interiors Antique Textiles