Salvage Finds for Your Eco-Friendly Living Room
When it comes to green living, you can never really go too far. Humans have long been nothing more than parasites on the Earth, wreaking destruction and spreading pollution in our bid for survival. But now that we know the damage we’ve been causing, hopefully we can begin to reverse the process, and you should spread this attitude to every area of your life. So when you decide to remodel your living room, think about the many ways that you can do it in keeping with a cleaner planet. One great method of greening up the process is using salvaged items instead of buying everything new. Reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever possible (reclaim is another good “R”) and you’ll effectively reverse your carbon footprint even as you create the beautiful and eclectic space you crave. Here are a few ways to do it.
1. Flooring: Reclaimed hardwoods are a great way to create the basis for a sophisticated and luxurious space. Instead of supporting deforestation, opt for planks that have been removed from another home (probably during remodel or demolition). Companies that sell reclaimed hardwoods can often refurbish them so they look like new (or leave them distressed if you prefer). And it will cost you a fraction of what you would pay for new. Bonus: the cost to the planet is nada.
2. Sofas and chairs. Often the focal point of the living room, you want your seating (and especially the sofa) to be both beautiful and comfortable, since it largely defines the feeling and style of the room. So you’re probably not too keen to pick something up off the side of the road. However, used furniture stores and estate sales may provide you with a more workable solution. With a little stuffing and some new upholstery, or even a simple slipcover, these items can be given a second life in your home. And often, older furniture is a lot sturdier than the new stuff. So check local stores or simply hit up Craig’s List to keep these items out of the landfill for another couple of decades (or longer).
3. Tables and storage. Once again, reclaimed is the way to go. However, you have a lot of options in this area. Of course, you can get prefab furniture at almost any thrift store, and some of it may even be in pretty good shape or require only minimal work. But think about the other ways you can use already used wood. Start by taking a look around your house. Do you have an old dresser or bookshelf in the garage that has seen better days? Spruce it up with some sanding and a fresh coat of paint and use it as a home entertainment and media storage center. Or if you find a nice table that simply doesn’t fit your space, get jiggy-saw with it and cut it down to size.
4. Lighting: Overhead lights can get the green treatment with compact fluorescent bulbs, but when it comes to table lamps, the sky is the limit with salvage. A wooden table leg on a base with a hole drilled through it can become a hip lamp, while a glass bottle full of river rocks can give your room a rustic look. Almost anything can be made into a lamp, so get your imagination on with your salvage items in this area.
5. Accessories: Candle-holders, vases, picture frames, pillows and so on can all be created from salvaged items of any stripe (plastics, metal, wood, even corrugated cardboard, just to give you a few ideas). So don’t hesitate to pick up some weirdo items and get crafty. You’ll definitely end up with some original pieces that are bound to impress (and express your personal style), and your house will be the greenest on the block.