Wood accents throughout your home can provide warmth to your interior. Wood floors, cabinetry and other home furnishings are all popular options; however, adding these wood features to your home can cause harm to the environment and to those that are living inside your house. For instance, the glues, finishes and cleaners used to maintain wood flooring can negatively impact the natural environment and can be dangerous to small children and pets.
Although trees are a renewable resource, many people designing their homes want to use rare and exotic materials, such as Brazilian cherry wood, which is not sustainable. Instead of using these rare woods, some sustainable alternatives include cork and bamboo. So, if you like the warmth that wood finishes provide but want to be eco-friendly, consider these three alternatives when designing your home.
1. Cork Floors
Cork is a highly renewable material, harvested sustainably, explains Green Home guide. Most cork materials come from the bark of the cork oak trees located throughout Mediterranean forests. The bark is stripped from the tree and it grows back after three years, making cork floors a more renewable source.
This alternative to wood flooring keeps its shape and is naturally resistant to rot, mold and moisture, which can significantly reduce allergens in the home. Cork is just as durable as wood flooring and it’s biodegradable and non-toxic. Fresh Home states that most cork floors can last up to 30 years, and when it’s time to replace the cork flooring, it can be ground up for compost. Furthermore, cork floors can be customized just like traditional wood floors, and it can be finished with wood glue and a variety of non-toxic paints, and stains to complement your home style.
2. Sustainable Blinds
Natural light can make your home warm and inviting, but when you want to draw the shades and create a more peaceful and calming environment, be sure that the shades in your home are sustainable. Handcrafted faux wood blinds constructed from low-impact, eco-friendly materials let as much (or as little) light into your home as you wish.
Faux wood blinds are made from foam wood, a material that is mildew and moisture resistant. The Shade Store not only offers faux wood blinds, but also with each order, customers receive a notification that a tree has been planted in their honor. The Shade Store works with the Arbor Day Foundation to help nourish National Forests as part of the Superior National Forest Planting Project.
3. Wood-Inspired Wallpapers
Wallpapers created from green materials can be the perfect addition to your home if you’re looking to add a beautiful point of interest in your interior. Wallpapers are no longer dull and drab, but rather eco-friendly, modern and stylish.
When selecting wallpaper, be sure to choose a style that’s sustainable. Home Portfolio recommends selecting a style made with water-based inks and dyes. The home design site also suggests using wallpaper made from natural fibers, such as woven sea grass or bamboo. These two eco-friendly styles, commonly referred to as grass cloth, are biodegradable and can add a natural touch to any room. Home Portfolio recommends avoiding vinyl wallpapers and discourages fireproofing and the use of VOCs and heavy metals.
Live a green and healthy lifestyle and make sure you make the healthiest, eco friendly choices for the environment and for your family. Do you have any non-toxic safe alternatives to conventional wood and toxic materials that have worked for your home? Please share your ideas in the comments.