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Home Decorating

 5 Green Ideas on a Budget

By Kathy Wilson

Decorating your home to be environmentally friendly shouldn't be expensive. And it shouldn't just be for the environmental activists either; we all have a responsibility to our communities, and to our families. There are many ways you can decorate "green" for a lot less "green"! Here are The Budget Decorator's top 5 ways to green up your home, on a budget!

Use what you have
Many times when decorating your home, you already have many of the things you need! Look around to see what you already own and love could be repurposed. Repurposing items saves them from the landfills, cuts down on the need for things like lumber, volatile glues and paints, and recycles them as useful objects.

Craft smart
Try to recycle materials when crafting for your home. One of my most popular projects on my website is the brown bag floor. Using recycled brown paper grocery bags, I have papered my floors to look like trendy stained concrete or stone. Visit our website for step by step directions and photos of the brown bag floor technique! Other ideas include using old used tissue and gift paper for decoupage, brightly colored magazine pages make terrific paper art holiday ornaments, and cardboard boxes can be covered with scrap fabric to make stylish storage.

Cut down on volatile chemicals
It used to be that in order to use environmentally friendly paints or primers you had to spend big bucks. Not true anymore! Painting your home is one of the most popular and cost effective ways to decorate, and one of the first things The Budget Decorator recommends. There are new paints out now that are low, or no VOC. What this means is that these paints put off very low fumes and odors, and are safer to use in your home. Olympic Paint now makes zero VOC interior latex that has the lowest price point in the market. I love this paint! (My fav color so far? Butter!) And it comes with a 25 year warranty for almost half the price of what other paints with a similar warranty cost. Great news for budget decorators!

Be choosy about your large purchases
Most of us at some point have to make larger purchases, such as with new flooring, window treatments or furniture.

When the time comes to make the huge investment of replacing your homes flooring, consider that carpeting not only produces formaldehyde gases, it has to be replaced on average every 7 years. However, using a renewable wood floor such as bamboo or cork may be more expensive in the beginning, but will save you money in the long run as you refinish, instead of replace over the years. If wood is totally out of your budget, using laminate flooring will last considerably longer than wall to wall carpet, and not hold in the dirt and pollutants that carpet and padding can.

Try to buy curtains made from natural fibers when possible, and use light colors to reflect the sun in the summer. Heavier curtains will help insulate form the cold in winter, and reduce your usage of energy. Vacuum your curtains often to reduce collection of indoor pollutants in your home.

When purchasing furniture, check out the consignment shops in your area. Many areas also have stores that sell furniture from model homes. You can get almost brand new furniture for a really good deal, and work on saving the environment at the same time.

That's right, being giving can help our environment. The next time you replace furnishings or decorative items, donate your old pieces to a worthy charity, or put them up on a site such as Freecycle for someone who can really use them. Evan broken pieces might be useful to a furniture aficionado, or and appliance genius! Reduce waste in landfills, and help out others at the same time.

All of us can make small changes to go green with our home decorating.
Being a budget decorator makes it a natural!

Kathy Wilson is a home and garden writer, author and consultant and is the home decorating expert for Visit her for more home and garden ideas at and Also visit her at where any woman can learn to make money on the internet!


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