With feasts to throw and family and friends coming to stay for the holidays, you’re probably thinking it’s about time to air out the linens, buy a few bars of local, artisan soap for the guest bathroom, and pull out the seasonal décor that will get your house feeling holiday-ready in no time. But if you’re like most homeowners, the improvement projects that went unfinished and largely ignored throughout the year will suddenly come into glaring relief as you turn a critical eye on your home.
And while clearing the accumulated clutter and staging a deep cleaning will do a lot to perk up your tired décor, you might be considering some home improvements before the first wave of house-guests arrives. In this case you should know that there are all kinds of eco-friendly ways to upgrade your home in time for the holidays. Here are a few options to consider.
The place to start is by checking out walls and flooring. There is literally no easier way to make a drastic change and leave a room looking brand new than by addressing these design foundations. And luckily, there are green ways to go about upgrading both. A new coat of paint can be completed in a day and it’s easier than ever to avoid poisoning your guests with harmful volatile organic compounds commonly found in paint thanks to the slew of low- or no-VOC options on the market. Often casein-based, these paint products are less harmful to the environment, both outside and inside your home. And with higher demand for safe interior paints, you’ll have no trouble finding plenty of color choices to suit your needs.
As for flooring, you don’t have to go crazy here. But if you’ve been planning to pull out that grimy carpet in the guest room for a while, there are a couple of options when it comes to replacing it. If at all possible, you should try to avoid trashing it, but if it’s just beyond salvage you may not be able to donate it. Still, it’s worth a try. As for replacement, you could go with new carpeting, in which case you should look for natural and organic fibers as opposed to the synthetic pile that is most common. Organic cotton and humane wool are two good options, and each will help you to create a room that is free of chemical allergens, as well. You might also consider reclaimed hardwood, which comes with the patina of age and requires no new deforestation.
And if you’re just looking to upgrade the lighting fixtures or add some new furnishings and décor, hit up thrift stores, yard or estate sales, and even Craigslist, all of which can net you some truly spectacular fixer-upper finds at a fraction of the cost of new while keeping useful items out of the landfill. With some careful planning and attention to detail you can save a little money, make your guest accommodations as good as new, and keep your carbon debt low all at the same time.