Posts Tagged ‘outdoor’

Eco-Friendly Home Accessories

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Eco-Friendly Home Accessories


These days, going green gets plenty of lip-service, but many of us often assume that eco-consciousness and style are mutually exclusive domains. While it is true that many earth-friendly decor options do have a decidedly rustic feel, the demand for sustainable products is bringing to the market every look imaginable, from the classic to the postmodern.

Here are just a few ways you can give your space that decisive touch in an earth-first spirit:

bamboo mats









Floor your guests with green alternatives


To paraphrase a famous movie, a good rug can really hang a room together. However, buying a sectional rug made from recycled materials can be as eco-responsible as it is fashion forward. Many of us don’t realize it, but discarded carpeting is a chief villain in making our landfills so mountainous, so make sure you dispose of old carpets and their byproducts through a reuse/recycle program.



On the other hand, if you’re saddled with unsightly carpeting and don’t have the resources to replace it, bamboo flooring is a fantastic compromise for the hardwood floor appeal.  It’s actually fairly easy to cover an entire room with a DIY bamboo flooring kit, but rollable area mats can do the trick as well. Not only does bamboo have a trendy New Age vibe, using the fast-growing wood of bamboo takes the heat of our shrinking rainforests.


Outside decks

Remember that deck you have been wanting to build for years, but just never got around to because it just seemed too hard or too expensive? This is a perfect opportunity to promote further eco-consciousness in your home.

Instead of using some sort of plastic for your deck, or even a composite blend of wood, the best bet is to go with responsibly harvested and managed lumber. This way, you get the beautiful look of a wooden deck, but you can rest assured knowing that you did your part to make the green choice. There are affordable hardwood choices out there, that don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Even more importantly, this wood will keep your deck around for years and years.


Give recycled furniture the front seat

While sometimes there is no substitute for a good old-fashioned vintage wood chair, today’s eco-visionaries are concocting recycled indoor and outdoor furniture that’s closer in spirit to Ikea than the shoddy stackable seats we might associate with a school cafeteria. Remember, recycling is a two part solution:  properly disposing of HDPEs is essential, but in order for the equation to work, we must also embrace second generation products.


Recycled plastic furniture is not only maintenance-free, stain-resistant and impervious to germs and bacteria, it’s a significant avenue of deforestation. And, if you’re a stolid traditionalist, there are attractive wood-grain simulations that might do the trick.




Putting things in a different light

Even if their drain on Mother Nature were not an issue, bright overhead lights tend to create an unwelcoming atmosphere in any setting. One obvious way to create a more relaxing mood and lower consumption of electricity is to use candles, but beware:  standard commercial candles can release sundry toxic byproducts into the air, including the carcinogen paraffin. Soy candles, on the other hand, are biodegradable and non-toxic. Making them yourself is fairly simple, and will have a chic, homemade look.

Electric light is even more of a buzzkill on a patio, so another winning choice is a set of solar-powered lanterns. With a gentle, steady light and styles ranging from old-fashioned blown glass to Oriental paper designs, these can transform your backyard into an exotic haven.



On the subject of alternative lighting, noncommercial candles can put our noses at ease as well as our eyes. For a true immersion into olfactory bliss, take things a step further by diffusing your home with a subtle mist of calming oils, such as lavender or rose. The easiest and most inexpensive way to do this is with a portable vaporizer. By adding just a few drops of your favorite blend of natural oils into the vaporizer chamber, you’ll add the perfect bohemian touch to your digs.

These products are really only the beginning. Remember, eco-consciousness is not just a way of buying things, but also a  way of seeing ways to give materials second (or third lives).  Thrifting, gifting and creatively reusing old items are all powerful tools in reducing waste.




Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer, yoga enthusiast and mom of three who writes for VapeWorld to educate others about the importance of aromatherapy and eco-friendly home decor. As she is currently in the process of remodeling her home, she is focused on incorporating as many eco-friendly accessories as possible. Follow her on Pinterest today!

Top 10 Outdoor Room Design Ideas

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Top 10 Outdoor Room Design Ideas


One of the hottest trends in home decorating lately is the outdoor room.  An outdoor room provides an ideal location to enjoy fresh air, cool breezes, and pleasant conversation with family and friends.  Sun porches, patios, and balconies make great starting points but a hidden room tucked away in a quiet spot in the garden is a treasure, too.  Explore these top 10 outdoor room design ideas to discover ways to bring the indoors out at the place you call home.


1 — Outdoor Dining



People have enjoyed dining al fresco for ages but it’s only been recently that we started creating very well-appointed dining areas outside.  Every outdoor dining area will have table and chairs, of course, but some come with complete outdoor kitchens now, too.  An umbrella cover over the dining table keeps the sun at bay for mid-day dining and creates a cozy canopy for entertaining under the stars.  Outdoor dining’s not just about picnics anymore.


2 — Screened-In Porch



A screened-in porch is not entirely outside but it’s not entirely a part of the home’s interior, either.  This peaceful retreat combines the best of both worlds and can be as exposed to Mother Nature as desired.  Since it’s protected from the elements, feel free to decorate elaborately but do stay mindful that dampness and temperature extremes will have an effect on upholstery, linens, wood furniture, and other delicate furnishings.


3 — Rustic and Cozy Porch



No screen required for a rustic and cozy porch like this one.  Furnish an open-air porch with things that will stand up to whatever the wind blows in.  A few comfy chairs for friendly conversation and a table or two to hold a good book and a glass of wine are all that’s really needed.


4 — Garden Shed Oasis



Turn your garden shed into a peaceful oasis by extending it on one side to accommodate garden furniture and container plants.  Make sure the shed has a door to close off the work housed inside so the mind can relax and escape every care while thinking of nothing at all.


5 — Hideaway in the Woods



Escape even further with a garden retreat built into the back of the garden.  Make it a library and reading room or an artist’s studio.  Or a workshop.  Fill it with music and crank it up loud, knowing you’ve got enough privacy that volume won’t annoy others.  Install a hot tub or Jacuzzi.  The possibilities are endless for a hideaway in the woods.  Once its reason for being is determined, enclose it as much as need be or leave it open and airy.


6 — Watch the Clouds Roll By



Install a hammock in the yard somewhere, crawl in, and watch the clouds roll by.  Or the moon and the stars.  The weightlessness of a hammock makes it almost impossible to resist the temptation of a good nap, like sleeping on a cloud.  Careful, though; hammocks can be habit-forming.


7 — Terrace with a View



Turn a balcony into a lush, plant-filled terrace with garden furniture arranged to take full advantage of a breathtaking view or fiery sunset.  A balcony off the bedroom provides a tranquil way to face a new day, cup of coffee in hand as the sun rises.  Arrange garden furniture, plants, and screens for added privacy.

8 — Balcony Basics



Opulence can be a nice place to visit but some people prefer elegant simplicity for everyday living.  To relax after a long busy day without a lot of gardening or tidying up to do, a few simple pieces of comfortable garden furniture provides the ideal setting to escape life’s hustle and bustle on a quiet, private balcony.  Stick to high-quality basics of good design to create a serene setting and let the wonders of nature chase your cares away.


9 — Tea Time in the Garden



Garden enthusiasts love getting their hands dirty but they also enjoy time to sit back and survey the fruits — and flowers — of their labors.  Create a simple spot in the midst of the garden to sit back, observe the scene, and figure out what to plant next.  Tea time in the garden is a most inviting event when a few simple pieces provide a cozy, colorful place for contemplation.


10 — Pool Time



A private swimming pool of any size is a backyard delight.  Surround it with water-resistant furniture and umbrellas to block the sun.  Include tables to hold food and drink since nothing seems to work up an appetite quite like a good swim does.  Include some deck chairs for sunbathing and outdoor storage to keep towels and sunscreen handy.


An outdoor room of any style is a delight during the daytime and can be equally enjoyable after dark.  Be sure to have plenty of lighting situated where it enhances the mood and provides just enough light to keep after-dark enjoyment free of accidents.  Be sure to plant some white flowers around your outdoor room, too.  White flowers pop to life in the moonlight when more vibrantly colored blooms fade into shadow.


Author bio: Rebecca is an author and blogger from London. He often writes about outdoor entertainment and how outdoor furniture, garden benches, patio furniture & sun loungers can create the perfect environment.

Building Green Recourses: Homes Interior