9 Tips For Sustainable Living

What do you picture when you think of sustainable living? Maybe it’s dramatic changes like ocean conservation work or switching to wind power. While big efforts are important, sustainable living is an aspect of daily life that can be implemented in small ways. You may be surprised at how small of a change you can make for a real improvement in sustainability, especially when that effort is sustained over time. Here are our nine tips for sustainable living.

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Tip #1: Turn Off the Light

The average annual electricity consumption for a US household in 2018 averaged over 28 kilowatt-hours per day. A kilowatt-hour is equal to one 100-watt light bulb left on for 10 hours. And we’re averaging more than 28 of those a day in our households! Most of this energy usage comes from lights being left on all day.

Turn off your lights when you leave the room. Conserving the light might mean opening the curtains and letting natural light in. Maybe all you need is a small lamp. We tend to overuse electrical lights unnecessarily.

There are also ways to cultivate sustainability in home decor with your lighting options. What are the materials of your light fixtures made from? Take into consideration how your lights are shipped or provided to you. Sustainable packaging can make all the difference. Sources that prioritize sustainability will help you be sustainable too.

Tip #2: Invest in the Reusable Options

A big part of living sustainably is reusing what you can. We have a lot of daily-use items in our lives that are disposable. But, there are also reusable options available like straws, plates, water bottles, towels, and grocery bags. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your reusable materials, and explore all the new items that are being created every week.

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Tip #3: Conserve Your Water

Watching your water usage is an oft-repeated eco-friendly measure, but there might be some specific tips you haven’t considered. We’ve all heard about the importance of taking shorter showers, but have you thought about getting a water-saving showerhead or a shower timer? You may not be aware of how much water you’re using or saving until you start to keep track of it.

Tip #4: Rethink Your Commute

Commuting is a necessity for many people, but you can make your commute a part of your sustainability commitment. If you work close to your home, try walking or biking to work. Taking public transportation is better than taking your vehicle. If you have to drive a car, consider getting an electric one, and carpool as much as possible. If you fly on planes frequently, make sure you find an airline that utilizes zero-waste practices.

Your sustainable commuting routine can also be more basic: take the stairs instead of the elevator. It’s the little things like this that add up.

Tip #5: Dress with the Environment in Mind

A sustainable lifestyle includes supporting sustainable fashion. Sustainable shopping isn’t to be confused with thrift shopping — although getting secondhand clothes is more sustainable than buying new ones. When you decide to buy new clothes, it is better to buy “slow” fashion rather than fast fashion — meaning you choose higher quality items that last longer.

Better quality also often means brands are more environmentally conscious. Plus, in addition to choosing the styles that last longer, you can also make your clothes last longer by doing simple repairs yourself.

Tip #6: Take a Closer Look at Your Bedding

A sustainable life looks at the little details, especially for items you use every day. There are plenty of ways to be more sustainable with your bedding.

You want to choose products from a company that utilizes sustainable practices and uses good materials. Bamboo fabric is beneficial for the environment. Sourcing sustainable fabrics is a great way to institute an eco-friendly lifestyle all across your household.

Tip #7: Ditch the Printer

Today’s world is digital. You don’t need a home printer. If you have to print something, you can seek one out. But not having a printer on hand will save you from printing items you don’t need to print. Practice storing files and information digitally to promote a more sustainable lifestyle.

Tell your bank you want electronic statements. Get receipts emailed instead of printed. Take notes on an electronic device instead of on a pad of paper. Go paperless and then encourage your peers to do the same.

Tip #8: Donate Your Belongings

Just because you’re done with something doesn’t mean no one else can use it. When you donate items you don’t use anymore, you help the environment by keeping them out of the landfill. Donate what doesn’t bring you joy and give it to someone who can reuse those items for a win-win!

Tip #9: Save Gift Bags and Wrappings

This is a small tip, but it can have a big impact. Whenever you get gift bags, save them instead of throwing them away. You can do the same with tissue paper or other wrappings that don’t get ripped or damaged when you open the present. This will not only save you some money but it will help the environment.

Encourage Working Together

Sustainable living works best when everyone makes the same commitments. It doesn’t do much good if you take short 4-minute showers and everyone else still takes long 30-minute showers.

And it won’t matter as much if you are the only one taking public transport to work. If everyone else in the office drives their car separately try to address the opportunity to increase sustainability. Encourage your coworkers to brainstorm together and try to coordinate carpooling times. Together you can make a much larger positive impact by organizing carpool groups.

The possibilities for sustainability are endless. And when you work together to achieve your sustainable living dreams you can make the world a lot better. All it takes are small meaningful changes to make a world of difference.


Incorporating Cottagecore Elements Into Any Home

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Cottagecore is a popular trend that has gained popularity across all social media platforms. As a style of interior design, cottagecore blends traditional country-style aesthetics with coziness and practicality.

However, cottagecore also weaves a hint of enchantment into its aesthetic. You can almost imagine a fairy settling down on the windowsill in a cottagecore home, and cottagecore designers make great use of the natural world to create a hobbity style in contemporary homes.

Even though most of us don’t live in a hobbit-hole or countryside cottage, that doesn’t mean you have to abandon your aspirations to create a cottagecore home — you just have to get a little creative. So, here’s a guide to help you incorporate cottagecore elements into any home.

Finding Inspiration

Transforming a home from sleek modern design to cozy cottagecore takes time and effort. Fortunately, you won’t be without inspiration on your journey to convert your home into the cottage of your dreams — even if your cottage is really an apartment in a large urban city.

You can find inspiration for cottagecore through social media pages like thehouseofcottagecore and Rachel Maksy. These pages will give you inspiration and often highlight other cottagecore influencers so you can take a deeper dive into the aesthetic. You can also find practical tips to help you do some cottagecore DIY on a budget and cover up elements of your home that don’t align with the cottagecore style.

It is worth remembering that cottagecore is more than a trend on social media. Inspiration for cottagacore can be found in the real world by visiting places like Monk’s House in the south of England or the Dyckman House on Manhattan Island. Visiting historical houses can help you notice little interior design choices and may help you spot vintage appliances that suit your dream style.

Vintage Appliances

Cottagecore exists at an imaginary juncture between traditional and modern life. This means that ultra-modern appliances like stainless-steel fridges and microwaves will likely stick out and look a little odd when juxtaposed with handwoven baskets and vintage tea sets.

The next time you go thrifting, try to look for vintage appliances that compliment your current style. You’d be surprised by how easy it is to fix or renovate old appliances, as most folks throw away outdated appliances even if they’re in perfect working condition.

You can even help old appliances like fridges last longer by treating them with some TLC. Avoid overburdening older appliances, and treat them with the same care that you show to interior decore. If you do use older appliances, just be sure to check your energy usage, as old appliances may demand massive amounts of energy compared to newer models. This will help ensure you live a sustainable, vintage-inspired life that is good for your soul and the planet.

Making Use of Space

The cottagecore influencers you see on social media usually have plenty of space and financial resources to achieve their dream aesthetic. However, it’s entirely possible to incorporate cottagecore elements into your home, even if you’re living in a small rental apartment.

Start making space for cottagecore elements by reassessing your use of storage space. Most folks make poor use of closets and cabinets, and could easily cut down on clutter by utilizing space-saving hacks like track shelves, compression bags, and over-the-door organizers. This will make it easier to reclaim space in your home for cottagecore elements.

It’s worth bearing in mind that cottagecore suits smaller spaces. You’re going for a “cozy” aesthetic, so filling a space with knick-knacks and cushions is perfectly acceptable. If you’re on a budget, you can still lean into cottagecore elements by handmaking your own statement pieces. You might, for example, follow simple crochet patterns to make your own throws and pillows.

DIY and Staging

One of the joys of cottagecore is that it is seldom perfect. Unlike other modern interior design styles like Scandinavian and mid-century design, cottagecore elements can be made with your own two hands and thrive off the character inherent in dropped stitches and frayed rugs.

When creating a cottagecore aesthetic, remember that staging is just as important as the actual furnishing you have in your home. Start with a simple space like your living room. When someone walks in, what kind of scene should they find? Perhaps you’ll stage the area by storing a ball of yarn in a wicker basket beside your armchair. Maybe you’ll leave flower cuttings to dry beside the windowsill. The idea is to create a space that makes use of your DIY both for practicality and for impromptu stylizing.  

Conclusion

Cottagecore is all about making the most of what you already have. But, if you do need to add some statement pieces, consider heading to the local thrift store and picking vintage goods that suit a dreamy cottage vibe. Once you’ve gathered your cottagecore decore, try your hand at staging, and make use of DIY’d materials to invoke a cozy, enchanting feel.

How To Maximize The Natural Light In Your Home

Sunlight can make you feel happier and increase your vitamin D intake. Plus, it creates a welcoming atmosphere for guests. Getting enough natural light can be tricky with fewer windows or open spaces, though – so here are a few ideas to bring in more natural light.f

1. Paint With Light Colors

Colors either absorb or reflect light. So, use hues such as white, gray, or tan to lighten up the room. Remember: you can add pops of color through throw pillows, artwork, or rugs. Also, add these colors to your ceiling to make the space feel taller.

In addition, consider the type of paint. For example, use shinier ones like satin or semi-gloss. This can reflect light while adding a sense of personality.

2. Hang Mirrors

Mirrors reflect sunlight while making the space feel larger. This is especially useful for people who live in apartments. Plus, with more natural light bouncing around the walls, the room can feel more relaxing. It might even increase energy levels and reduce feelings of depression.

Also, use other reflective materials in your design. This can include things like glass furniture and metallic lighting or faucets.

3. Enlarge Windows and Doors

If you want to update your windows or doors, this tip fits perfectly. Having larger windows and doors lets in more light and makes a space feel welcoming. It can give off an open and airy vibe.

Look for casements with minimal framework. Picture, bow, or bay windows work best. Plus, larger windows increase ventilation and improve indoor air quality. For your doors, upgrade to a patio or garden-style one.

4. Add Glass Blocks to Your Walls

This is a distinctive design idea that adds character to your home. The glass will reflect light and give you a brighter space. These work well in high-traffic areas, such as kitchens or living rooms.

Another good place for glass is in your basement, which may not have many windows. You can choose from different textures and colors to fit your design style.

5. Keep Up With Window Maintenance

This is a simple task that ensures dirt build-up isn’t blocking light. Rinse your windows with water and dish soap using a microfiber cloth. If you have higher casements, use a sponge mop on a pole. Make sure to spray down the outside of the window with a hose.

Also, while outdoors, trim back your trees so light can shine through on a sunny day. In addition, plant some low-growing perennials to increase curb appeal.

6. Use Lighter Window Treatments

Your heavier drapes may be good for winter. However, lighter materials can let in more sun as the weather warms. Look for sheer curtains in a single panel. Blinds are another excellent option that allows you to control the amount of light.

Solar screens are also perfect for softening sunlight. These can also protect your furniture and carpets from harmful UV radiation.

7. Add Skylights

Skylights can bring in natural light and are an excellent project to add to a home renovation. They are available in various sizes and layouts. Skylights work well in kitchens or bathrooms, which require ample lighting. Plus, they give you a nice view of the sky.

Be sure to hire a professional to install these. Since it cuts into your roof, improper installation could lead to leaks. Once installed, you can enjoy natural light and reduce your electricity bills.

8. Use Reflective Materials for Your Backsplash

Backsplashes are a staple in modern kitchens. If you’re looking to make an update, consider using reflective materials like glass. They give your space a sleek appearance and allow for plenty of natural light.

Consider using recycled glass tiles, too, which are better for the environment. Plus, they are more stain- and mold-resistant, so your kitchen can stay clean. Metal backsplashes, such as stainless steel, are also common. These are durable and easy to maintain.

9. Paint Your Eaves White

The overhangs from your roof can impact how much light is reflected inside. So, painting them white increases their reflective properties. The project doesn’t require major renovations and is a cost-effective solution. Just have someone watch the ladder when you’re working.

Even if you have a differently colored exterior, still consider this project. You usually can’t see the eaves much from the outside, so it won’t impact your curb appeal.

10. Be Smart About Furniture Colors and Layout

If you don’t have many windows, or just have smaller ones, find ways to maximize your existing light. For example, play with the furniture layout. Turn couches towards the windows to reflect light around the rest of the room.

You can also place chairs and shelves in a way that complements the windows rather than blocks them. Then, try to explore lighter colors throughout the decor, including white and shades of gray.

Make Your Home Brighter

Home remodeling and rearranging are great ways to increase a room’s functionality and design. Adding more natural light is a beneficial upgrade for your well-being, so follow these tips to brighten up your space today.

Author

 Evelyn Long is a Baltimore-based writer and the editor-in-chief of Renovated. She publishes home decor advice and product roundups for readers in spaces both big and small.

When To Modernize A Historic Home’s Interior

Older homes represent our past and have beautiful architectural features. However, outdated systems can waste energy and make the home uncomfortable to spend time in. So, when should you consider adding modern updates? Here are a few signs to pay attention to.

1. The Fixtures Are Outdated

Keeping the character and integrity of high-traffic areas intact – such as living rooms – is essential. This can mean keeping the original layout and furniture. Holding onto vintage tables and chairs gives your room a unique focal point.

However, you can spruce it up with modern fixtures, like new lighting and artwork. When upgrading lighting, consider layering. This design technique layers ambient, task, and accent lighting to create the perfect mood for different functions.

2. The Layout Isn’t Functional

The open-floor concept has become popular in many modern homes. Of course, this trend may not be as prevalent in historic homes. Builders back in the day often enclosed spaces to allow for more privacy and segmentation between rooms. Additionally, the extra interior doors made it easier to trap warmth within the room.

Today, an open floorplan allows families to maneuver around more easily. It’s also useful for parents to monitor their kids while cooking meals or entertainers to host fun social events. If you enjoy spending a lot of time at home, you might be interested in knocking down some dividers and creating a more open space.

Changing a home’s layout is a more complex renovation and requires more expert involvement. Just check with local historic preservation committees before making any changes, and make sure the contractors you work with carefully review your home’s structure to find the best places to safely open up a space.

3. It Doesn’t Have Enough Storage

Storage space is critical for the modern homeowner. You need room for all your clothes, kids’ toys, blankets, and electronics. Historic homes may have limited storage and smaller-sized cabinets, so adding shelves to unused wall space can help.

Also, use decorative baskets in bathrooms to hold toiletries. You can also place clear baskets or bins underneath your bed to keep off-season clothing in. Get drawer inserts and turntables to organize your cooking supplies for the kitchen.

4. There’s Not Enough Natural Light Coming Through

Some historic homes have smaller or fewer windows. This can make the space feel darker and dreary. However, increasing natural light can make you feel happier and is good for your body.

One way to do this is by enlarging the windows. Or, if you have enough money in the budget, install skylights. These allow plenty of light and provide a nice view on starry nights. Other strategies include hanging mirrors, using lighter colors, and decorating with reflective materials. You can also upgrade to doors with larger casements or sliding glass panels.

5. The Flooring Needs Upgrades

Original flooring like hardwood can look nice. However, sometimes it can start to warp or crack, in which case you’ll want to replace the flooring as soon as you can.

Suppose it just needs a little work done cosmetically, but not structurally? If that’s the case, you may be able to save the original material and just give it a new finish. For example, you could bleach or stain it to create a modern appearance. You can add other contemporary elements like colorful rugs for extra comfort.

6. The Plumbing or Electrical Is Outdated

Plumbing and electrical systems are often not current in historic homes. This can lead to wasting energy and may create an unsafe environment. Faulty wiring is a fire risk and can increase the harmful effects of power surges. In fact, home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires every year.

Updating these systems is an essential beginning step. If you don’t, you may have trouble passing building inspections down the line. This will make it harder to sell your home.

7. There Isn’t Enough Insulation

Many older homes don’t have the proper type or amount of insulation. This causes drafts in the winter, leading homeowners to overuse their heaters. This draw on the power grid contributes unnecessarily to climate change. Plus, it also raises the cost of utility bills.

Proper insulation keeps heat inside during the winter and releases it in the summer, thereby creating a more consistent temperature. You want to insulate the basement, crawl spaces, and walls. Remember to get under the floorboards, which tend to have larger gaps.

8. The Window Treatments Are Worn Down

Wooden sash windows are a staple in older homes. However, some can become rotten or dirty over time. This can decrease their visual appeal and even lead to mold growth. So, replace these with double-paned hardwood versions. They can emulate the look but increase energy efficiency and durability.

Also, add some lighter sheer curtains during summer to provide more natural light. Replace darker-colored drapes with whites to make the room feel airy and larger. Linen, blackout, and velvet curtains are also popular options. You can even spruce it up and find ones with patterns, like florals.

How to Upgrade a Historic Home

Historical homes have rich characters and distinctive elements. Features like staircases, fireplaces, and crown molding can make your home more unique. However, modern upgrades can increase your space’s functionality and aesthetic appeal. Consider these ideas for modernizing your house without compromising what makes it unique.

Author

 Evelyn Long is a Baltimore-based writer and the editor-in-chief of Renovated. She publishes home decor advice and product roundups for readers in spaces both big and small.

How To Set Your Room According To Your Personality

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Your bedroom should be a reflection of you—your personal tastes, your favorite colors, and the moments that have mattered most. It should also be a comfortable sanctuary designed to promote rest and relaxation after a long day. But of course, a soothing space looks different for everyone. By choosing decor and following design techniques that fit in with your own unique personality, you’ll be sure to create a bedroom that will always feel like yours.

Find out how to style a bedroom that’s unique, stylish, and totally you.

Choose a Color Scheme That Represents You

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Color scheme is probably the easiest way to design a space according to your personality, and it’s essential to tie your design together.

Consider the mood you want to create in your room—do you want it to reflect your boldness and big personality, or would prefer a room that mirrors how bright and cheerful you are? If you’re the former, don’t be afraid to play around with big patterns and bold colors—an accent wall behind your bed frame would be a great place to add a patterned wallpaper. If you’d like your space to be more zen, consider using a calming color palette and adding in a soft blanket in a warm neutral tone for a soothing space that’s completely your own.

 Create Vignettes that Show Off Your Style

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You can also show off your personality in your space by creating vignettes, or groupings of decor items, to showcase what matters most to you in your room.

If you’re a more natural, earthy person, consider building a small vignette on top of your dresser with a bowl for your favorite jewelry, a collection of gemstones, and a small vase for your favorite florals and blooms. If you love the look of modern, avante-garde spaces, consider adding a stack of unique decorative books, a plant, and clock to your favorite shelf to add dimension and interest to your space.

Switch up Your Bedding

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If you want to decorate your room with your unique style but aren’t sure where to start, you can change your bedding to give your room a complete refresh without spending too much time in the home decor aisle.

If you’re spontaneous and cheerful and want your space to match, consider a bright yellow bedding to add a bit of your sunny disposition into your room, you could also consider adding personalized or customized items. If you consider yourself to be more serious and self-confident, consider a deep navy or patterned onyx bedding set to match your sure-footed style.

 Make It Functional

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Comfort is essential—after all, you’ll spend a lot of time in your room!

One of the easiest ways to make sure your bedroom is functional while still being decorated in your unique style is to make sure you can move. It can be tempting to fill up your space with all of your favorite things– but you’ll want to avoid making it too cluttered. After all, who wants to be tripping over their bookshelf or squeezing past a bronze coat rack to get in bed? Consider adding in storage under your bed or adding in a dresser with lots of drawers to hold your things if you’re feeling low on space.

 A Space That’s Just for You

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However you choose to decorate, make sure you’re choosing pieces that speak to you. Layer texture and dimension in a way that you like—after all, it’s your space!

Your room will reflect your personality if it’s filled with the things you love the most. Have faith in the little things, and your space will come together as a comfy sanctuary that is a perfect reflection of who you are.