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Environmentally Friendly Furnishings

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Lessening the environmental impact of your furniture

People are becoming more aware of the impact they have on the world around them. Protecting the environment for future generations is becoming a way of life for many families. When it comes time to redecorate, consider the environmental impact your changes may have on your local community. Redecorate while being responsible by using the three R's: recycle, reuse, reduce.

Recycle

Recycling an old item is often a far better choice than buying new. Not only are fewer materials used to make the item, but it's saved from the landfill. Consider shopping at second-hand stores, estate sales and garage sales before heading to a big-box superstore. An antique dresser may be the perfect fit for your bedroom, or a set of end tables may look great beside your sofa. Pre-owned lamps, mirrors and picture frames are easy to find at estate sales and will offer an eclectic look to your home.

Reuse

If you like your furniture but it's starting to look a little tired, consider sprucing it up instead of buying new. Recover a chair, refinish a table, or paint a hutch a different color. Rearrange your furniture in a new way, and hang your pictures in different rooms. Think of the items you currently own and see them in a new light. Wooden boxes can become book shelves. Small boxes can become shadowboxes. Even vintage kitchen wares make creative wall hangings.

Reduce

One of the best ways to redecorate your home is to eliminate excess clutter. Shred old bills, and throw away piles of magazines or stacks of papers. Clean out closets on a regular basis and donate items to your favorite charity. Keep items organized and hidden behind doors. A clean, organized and uncluttered home will help you feel better about your home while giving it a fresh look.

Buy local

If you aren't able to find items for your home through estate sales, consider buying locally hand-crafted items. Hand-crafted items are of better quality and often contain locally sourced materials, lowering the overall environmental impact of travel and shipping. By purchasing locally, you are also able to do your part in providing jobs for neighbors, and your money stays in your community.

Purchase green

Natural products (oak, bamboo and hickory) are more desirable than man-made materials because they last longer and have less impact on the environment.

If you find you must purchase new furniture, shop with an environmentally friendly company. Many businesses now offer "green" furniture constructed of eco-friendly materials and are committed to running their factories in a socially responsible way.

Redecorating your home can be an invigorating experience for the whole family. Challenge your family to be creative in making your next project one that will be friendly to the environment.

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