6 Tried and Tested Natural Toothpaste Recipes for a Sustainable Bathroom

You might be using homemade cleaning solutions as part of a sustainable lifestyle, but have you considered making your own natural toothpaste? With more people realizing that store-bought products often contains harmful substances or comes in disposable packaging, natural toothpaste is now on the rise.

Whip up your own toothpaste, and you can have control over what goes into the recipe. Some of the ingredients may even come from your own kitchen. It helps that these organic recipes can be stored in reusable jars, which are more sustainable than disposable tubes used for commercial toothpaste.

If you want to achieve a truly modern bathroom and an eco-friendly lifestyle, you can give homemade toothpaste a try. To start you off, here are 6 natural and organic toothpaste recipes to choose from.

 

6 Natural and Organic Toothpaste Recipes to Try

 

1. Baking Soda and Coconut Oil Toothpaste

This natural toothpaste recipe combines the cleansing power of baking soda and the antibacterial benefits of coconut oil. Its sweet and minty taste comes from organic ingredients, too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp softened coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp stevia
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil

Instructions:

Simply mix all ingredients together and store them in a reusable container.

To use, you may dip your brush into the toothpaste or scoop it out with a popsicle stick.

Recipe from The Pistachio Project.

2. Vegan Toothpaste with Vegetable Glycerin

Concerned about animal glycerin in store-bought toothpaste? Here’s a natural toothpaste recipe that specifically uses vegetable glycerin for guilt-free pearly whites.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp vegetable glycerin
  • 4 tbsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp guar gum
  • 8 tbsp water
  • 5 drops peppermint, clove, or citrus essential oil (pure)

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except for the oil in a pot.
  2. Cook on low heat for five minutes or until the mixture becomes a paste. Stir frequently.
  3. Let the paste cool, and then add your choice of essential oil.
  4. Store the toothpaste in a sterile jar at room temperature.

Recipe borrowed from Mother Nature Network.

3. Natural Toothpaste with Bentonite Clay

Say hello to bentonite clay, which polishes the teeth and helps remineralize it while destroying bacteria all in one go. This recipe mixes bentonite clay with real sea salt, among others, for more scrubbing action and antibacterial power.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp bentonite clay
  • 2-3 tbsp filtered water
  • 1/2 tsp real sea salt
  • 10-15 drops peppermint, cinnamon, or spearmint essential oil
  • A few drops of liquid stevia (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, clay, and salt. Add one tablespoon of water first.
  2. Cream the ingredients together with the back of a spoon. Add more water to adjust the consistency, as well as some stevia to taste.
  3. Add in your choice of essential oil and then mix until the toothpaste is well combined. Keep the toothpaste in an airtight container.

Originally posted on Thank Your Body.

4. Natural Whitening Toothpaste with Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a classic tooth-whitening ingredient. Coconut oil and essential oils cover its faint, unsavory taste, though you can add a few drops of stevia for a sweeter flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp hydrogen peroxide
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (liquid form, warmer than 76°F or 24°C)
  • 10 drops peppermint, clove, or citrus essential oil (pure)

Instructions:

  1. Put the baking soda in a bowl, and then add the other ingredients. Mix until it forms a paste.
  2. Add baking soda if the mixture is too runny, or coconut oil if it’s too thick.
  3. Store in an opaque container, which keeps the hydrogen peroxide from decomposing.

NOTE: As much as you may want whiter teeth, you’ll have to choose a different recipe if you have dental fillings. Hydrogen peroxide can cause your fillings to leach mercury.

Recipe also taken from Mother Nature Network.

5. Remineralizing Toothpaste for Fighting and Healing Cavities

Your teeth can stay cavity-free or heal from tooth decay faster with the help of a remineralizing recipe. Check out this toothpaste recipe which includes the trace minerals that your teeth need.

Instructions:

  • 6 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 5 tbsp calcium carbonate
  • 1-2 tbsp bentonite clay
  • 20-30 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 5-10 drops lemon essential oil
  • 30 drops trace minerals
  • Filtered water

Instructions:

Simply mix all the ingredients together and store it in a glass jar afterwards. If your toothpaste is too hard or thick at first, just mix in some filtered water.

Originally posted on The Healthy Home Economist.

6. Three-Ingredient Natural Toothpaste

You might have noticed xylitol among the ingredients of several brands of toothpaste. And no wonder–it fights cavities, helps remineralize teeth, and acts as a sweetener all at once! Just try to look for xylitol which is non-GMO and sourced from birch trees instead of corn cobs.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp xylitol
  • 5-10 drops peppermint essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Slightly warm up the coconut oil.
  2. Put all ingredients into a jar or bowl. Mix until they’re fully combined.
  3. Store the toothpaste in a small jar.

Recipe taken from Scratch Mommy.

NOTE: Sharing your homemade toothpaste with the rest of the family? You might want to have one toothpaste scoop or jar per member to prevent contamination. Also, do your best to keep water out of the toothpaste jar, or else the water may become a breeding ground for bacteria.

These 6 tried and tested natural toothpaste recipes can give you clean and healthy teeth while doing away with disposable containers or harmful ingredients. Try switching to natural toothpaste in your bathroom, and you can be a step closer to a zero-waste lifestyle!

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Erica Lugbill Featured as a Top Interior Design Blogger

Erica Lugbill, founder and lead designer of high-end firm Lugbill Designs, has landed a spot among the top interior design bloggers on the Internet! In an article published in December 2018, cushion cover shop Wow Cushions complimented Erica’s “passion” for helping clients realize their dream homes.

 

Erica Lugbill Cited for “Relaxed and Energetic Approach”

 

Wow Cushions highlighted the “relaxed and energetic approach” that Erica embodies when it comes to bespoke interior design in Chicago. It also mentioned Erica’s regard for “ultimate luxury and comfort” as central to “uplifting everyday life.”

Based in Australia, Wow Cushions supplies stylish cushion covers and rugs for every taste. Wow Cushions’ high-quality products carry affordable prices thanks to the brand’s practice of buying directly from weavers and cushion makers.

From its establishment in 2010, Lugbill Designs has grown into one of the best interior design firms in Chicago. Thanks to its network of fully licensed contractors, it can take on virtually any project, from design refreshes to entire renovations. It also takes pride in the “choose your own adventure” approach to interior design that it offers to its clients.

Read Wow Cushions’ original article here.

For more news and trends on interior design, visit our blog regularly.

9 Bathroom Swaps for a Zero-Waste Lifestyle

You might have been taking steps towards an eco-friendly and sustainable bathroom, where you can relax and pamper yourself without any guilt. However, one surprising obstacle to this goal can be your current choice of bathroom products! Not everyone is aware of how wasteful commercial toothbrushes, traditional lotion, and even toilet paper can be.

Your sustainable bathroom needs zero-waste products to match. To help you get started, here are 9 zero-waste bathroom swaps definitely worth considering.

 

9 Zero-Waste Bathroom Swaps for a Sustainable Lifestyle

 

1. Bamboo/Aluminum Toothbrush

Substitute For: Commercial toothbrushes with synthetic bristles and plastic handles

An estimated 850,000,000 toothbrushes end up in landfills in the United States every year. Sounds like a lot of plastic, doesn’t it? You can take steps toward a zero-waste lifestyle without sacrificing your oral health by going for bamboo or aluminum toothbrushes.

  • Bamboo toothbrushes biodegrade after disposal. Be sure to determine whether the bristles on your bamboo toothbrush are biodegradable as well, however. Some bamboo toothbrushes have nylon bristles which need to be removed before the handle is disposed of or composted.
  • Meanwhile, aluminum toothbrushes can last you a lifetime. For one, Goodwell’s aluminum toothbrushes have replaceable composite bamboo heads and bristles made of binchotan charcoal.

2. Toothy Tabs

Substitute For: Traditional toothpaste in disposable tubes

Toothy tabs are incredibly easy to use, as well as great for travelling. Just pop one in your mouth, chew, and brush away. The crushed tablet will foams up and serve as the paste.

Understandably, toothy tabs may not be for everyone. Fortunately, there are other zero-waste alternatives, such as tooth powder or natural toothpaste in recyclable containers.

3. Water Flosser

Substitute For: Traditional dental floss made with plastic

A water flosser simply shoots a stream of water to remove food bits and plaque from between the teeth. Some people may find water flossers easier to use than traditional floss!

Still like flossing the old-fashioned way? Don’t worry, you can find natural silk floss in recyclable jars made either of glass or stainless steel.

4. Stainless Steel Safety Razor

Substitute For: Plastic razors

Did you know that around 2 billion disposable razors get thrown away each year? It doesn’t help that these disposable razors are also difficult to recycle. The next time you need a razor, try out a safety razor with replaceable and recyclable(!) blades. Aside from producing zero waste, safety razors yield better, cleaner shaves.

5. Bidet

Substitute For: Commercial toilet paper, which is often made of virgin pulp and wrapped in plastic

It might not be easy for everyone to switch out their toilet paper with a spray of water. However, aside from being a great step towards a zero-waste lifestyle, bidets can make your bathroom trips much more sanitary. No need to wipe here!

Want to keep some toilet paper around for family members or house guests? Aim for toilet paper that is

  • made from recycled material,
  • produced without chlorine or bleach processing, and
  • wrapped in paper or biodegradable material instead of plastic.

6. Organic Cloth Pads

Substitute For: Disposable pads made with plastic, as well as tampons which may contain chemicals

The average woman may use more than 10,000 disposable menstrual products in her lifetime. A single reusable cloth pad can perfectly replace such products, only needing replacement every five years or so.

Another zero-waste substitute for commercial pads and tampons is the silicone menstrual cup.

7. Homemade Deodorant

Substitute For: Traditional deodorant

You may be concerned about what goes into commercial deodorant, or how it usually comes in a disposable plastic container. Why not switch to a homemade alternative without any harmful substances? Check out the deodorant recipe below!

Instructions:

  1. Combine 3 tbsp baking soda with 5 tbsp arrowroot powder or non-GMO cornstarch.
  2. Mix in 6 tbsp shea butter with your fingers or a fork. You should end up with a mixture that resembles crumbly dough.
  3. Optional: Add 30-60 drops of essential oil.
  4. Whip the dough with a hand mixer.
  5. Transfer your fresh new deodorant to a clean glass jar.

Recipe originally posted on Mommypotamus.

8. Homemade Lotion

Substitute For: Traditional lotion

Not only does commercial lotion come in plastic containers, but it often contains chemicals you wouldn’t want on your skin, too. Fortunately, you can easily whip up your own zero-waste homemade lotion made of coconut oil!

Instructions:

  1. Whisk coconut oil with a fork until it becomes frothy.
  2. Add 3-6 drops of your favorite essential oil for every 1 oz of coconut oil.
  3. Stir and place in a glass jar.

Recipe taken from Note to Trash.

9. Soap Bars/Shampoo Bars

Substitute For: Commercial body wash and shampoo, which come in disposable containers and may contain harmful chemicals

These bars come with minimal disposable packaging, last longer than their bottled counterparts, and run no risk of spilling all over your travel kit. Plus, they wash just as well as body wash and shampoo respectively!

Do your best to find brands that either get rid of packaging completely or use eco-friendly packaging material. For example, Lush bars have zero packaging while Bestowed Essentials products use either compostable or recyclable packaging.

ALSO READ: 15 Space Saving Bathroom Design Ideas

Have you tried any of these 9 zero-waste bathroom swaps yet? It may take some time to get used to each swap, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run. Enjoy having a stylish bathroom that is both elegant and environmentally friendly!

Visit our blog for more tips on zero-waste lifestyles and interior design.

Make Your Kitchen Eco-Friendly with These 7 Reusable Food Storage Containers

For a truly sustainable lifestyle, you need an eco-friendly kitchen complete with green appliances, homemade cleaners, and reusable food containers. By “reusable containers,” we don’t mean traditional plastic products that may taint your snacks with toxic chemicals! You’ll want to find durable containers made of sustainable food-grade material. To help you out, here are 7 eco-friendly and reusable food storage containers for your kitchen.

 

7 Reusable Food Storage Containers for an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

 

1. Mason Jars

Mason Jars

Eco-friendly and affordable, mason jars are a great reusable option for food storage. It helps that they’re incredibly versatile. Place condiments and herbs in small jars, carry salads to work in medium jars, and keep grain or flour in large jars. These containers can even store soups, smoothies, and desserts, all while making your food look stunning.

2. Stainless Steel Containers

Stainless Steel Containers

Stainless steel containers might not be ultra-cheap, but they’re more than worth the price. These food storage containers are lightweight, durable, and plastic-free. They won’t react with acidic food or transfer smells from pungent dishes. Some of them come in stackable sets for saving space in your refrigerator or bringing packed lunch to work. These reusable containers can also survive a bad fall, coming away with a simple dent or scuff.

3. Glass Tubs

Glass Tubs

Image Source: cellcode.us

For dishes and larger portions that won’t fit very well in a mason jar, glass tubs are the way to go. Aside from being eco-friendly, they’re reusable for years on end as long as you don’t drop them. They can be stacked in your fridge, too. Find glass tubs with snap-on lids for added convenience.

Worried about plastic covers negating the eco-friendliness of your reusable glass tubs? You can easily find products with BPA-free lids.

4. Recycled Plastic

Recycled Plastic

If you don’t mind having some plastic around, you can go for polypropylene, or no. 5 plastic. Buy eco-friendly products made of recycled polypropylene, and you can help keep a bit more plastic out of landfills. Look for reusable, BPA-free storage containers from brands such as Preserve.

5. Silicone Food Bags

Eco-friendly Silicone Food Bags

Another type of BPA-free food container, these eco-friendly bags are made of food-grade silicone and can be used over and over again. They don’t stain even after holding pasta or tomato sauce. Reusable silicone food bags will also survive freezers, microwaves, and dishwashers!

6. Beeswax Wrap

Eco-friendly Beeswax Wrap

Say goodbye to traditional cling wrap! Beeswax wrap is reusable, eco-friendly, and just self-adhesive enough to avoid tangling up like cling wrap. You can mould it around glass bowls with the help of your hands’ warmth. To reuse beeswax cloth, simply hand-wash it with cold water and biodegradable soap, and then let it air dry.

Beeswax wrap may wear out after a year of use. Good thing it’s organic and completely compostable!

NOTE: Since you’ll only be cold-washing your beeswax wrap, it isn’t suitable for raw meat. You also can’t use it with pineapples, which contain enzymes that break down wax and resin.

7. Burlap Sacks

Eco-friendly Burlap Sacks

Some fruits and vegetables fare better in room temperature storage. Instead of putting them in flimsy single-use plastic bags, place produce in eco-friendly burlap sacks. These provide a dark and dry environment to keep root crops in top condition. The sight of burlap sacks can also add playful country charm to your kitchen. Plus, since they’re made of plant fibers, you can simply compost the sacks when they’re no longer usable.

Ready to commit to a more sustainable lifestyle? Switch to these 7 reusable food storage containers to complete your eco-friendly kitchen.

Liked this post? Visit our blog for more articles on sustainable living and home improvement.

The Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Traditional Building Materials

In the recent years, green building has risen into popularity with new homeowners looking for new ways to potentially lower energy costs and thus, limit impact on the environment. To meet this increasing demand, home builders and interior designers have found a better option in employing the use of alternative building materials in construction.

Today, the use of sustainable building materials is on the rise. Some of these are made out of natural materials while others are designed to use resources in the most efficient manner. Regardless of the objective, there are many reasons why contractors and homeowners should switch to green building.

 

Why Invest in Sustainable Building Materials?

Energy conservation has significantly become a top priority amongst the world population. In fact, a 2016 World Green Building Trends report by Dodge Data and Analytics, green building is officially a global trend – a shift that is driven by consumer demands. It is even expected to significantly increase in the coming years.

Although green building is more than the materials you use, your decision on which ones to use still matters. In this article, we list some of the green options that make a better alternative to the traditional materials.

1. Bamboo

Bamboo is a highly sustainable building material that is distinguished by its unrivalled tensile strength, durability and lightweight properties. Its aesthetic resemblance to wood makes it a cost-effective alternative to traditional hardwood and a green material for tiles, ceilings, privacy screens and more.

2. Wood

Wood retains its title as a historic and classic sustainable material that adds a timeless flair to buildings. Building with wood offers significant benefits as processing them into lumbers require less intensive methods in comparison with other industrial building products such as concrete, glass and steel.

3. Reclaimed Wood

Building with reclaimed wood is a responsible way to lower the amount of materials being dumped to landfills and prevent the need to cut down more trees in the process. But, probably what home builders and interior designers are after most is the depth and exquisite character only old wood can provide.

4. Cork

The renewability, versatility, near-impenetrability and fire resistant qualities of cork make it a suitable material for flooring, insulation, acoustic wall covering and more. Harvesting it doesn’t require cutting the tree. In fact, each cork tree can be stripped off of its bark up to 20 times in its entire life.

5. Mycelium

Mycelium is a mushroom-based material that is tested to be stronger than concrete, lighter than bricks and more insulated than fiberglass. What’s more, being made of fungi, it has the ability to self-heal meaning it can reduce the need for costly repairs. It’s also entirely organic and compostable.

Did You Know? Mycelium thrives underground and without light, meaning it doesn’t require external energy resource to grow.

6. Ferrock

Ferrock is another cement alternative that is made of recycled steel dust or ferrous rocks from the steel industry. It offers a greener alternative to the traditional cement manufacturing process as it absorbs carbon dioxide while it hardens and dries. Further, any structure made with Ferrock is proven to last longer, barely requiring repair and replacement.

7. Timbercrete®

Timbercrete® is an eco-friendly product made up of timber waste from several sources and concrete. The result is a material that is lighter than a solid concrete but with higher thermal insulating properties and unmatched strength. It is also user-friendly as it can be easily nailed, screwed or sawn like a regular timber and can be made to appear like sandstone, mud brick or cobblestone.

8. Wool Bricks

Wool brick is a zero-carbon product that is developed by researchers in Spain and Scotland who have added wool fibers and alginate (a natural polymer from seaweeds) to the clay of the brick. The result is a sustainable, non-toxic brick that is 37% stronger than a traditional brick.

9. Recycled Plastic

Instead of producing new materials, researches are creating lightweight concrete, tiles, insulation, lumber and more out of recycled plastics and trash. Building with recycled plastics helps lower the construction costs and provides a new use for plastic wastes while reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.

10. Shipping Containers

Building houses out of shipping containers is probably the epitome of the sustainable and modern building. It makes use of the reclaimed materials that otherwise would be left to rust at the point they are retired. They can be modified into sustainable and durable houses and into endless design possibilities.

The Best Sustainable Material for You

Like anything you would decide on, you should do a careful research on which sustainable materials to use for your home. Learning more about these alternatives will lead you to the options that will be most suitable for your lifestyle and preferences as well.

Did you find this article helpful? Let us know by commenting below.

17 Tips to Make Your Home Energy-Efficient

This month’s electrical bill is painful for you to look at, just as you’ve expected. You’ve been using up a lot of energy for a while, especially with temperatures rising year after year. It’s lovely to have a well designed home. It’s even more wonderful to have a home that is both beautiful and energy-efficient. You can spend less on heating and cooling bills while remaining comfortable, and you can cut down on your carbon footprint, too. To help you get started, here are 17 steps to help you save energy.

 

17 Tips for a More Energy-Efficient Home

 

1. Change Your Most-Used Light Bulbs to LEDs. They might cost more at first, but they last much longer and use up less electrical power than their incandescent counterparts. You’ll save yourself the effort of having to purchase replacement lights as well. For outdoor lights, use CFLs instead of incandescent lamps.

2. Change Your Least-Used Light Bulbs, Too. Will you need a 100-watt bulb in a room that’s used just once a year? Downgrade such less-used lights to 60-watt or even 40-watt bulbs to save energy.

3. Use Cold Water for Laundry. This eliminates the need for a water heater. If you really need to use hot water, try to find a heater that runs on solar power.

4. Baking? Don’t Peek! The temperature drops 25° F whenever you peek. Your oven will have to work harder to bring the temperature back up.

5. When Possible, Unplug or Power Down. Your mobile phone only takes a few hours to charge, and your computer and printer don’t have to be left on all day, either.

6. Wash Dishes and Clothes at Night. Power grids are most strained during 4PM and 6PM during peak usage hours, from mid-afternoon to early in the evening. Do your washing a bit later, and you can keep the house cooler and avoid emergencies as well.

7. Switch Out Single-Pane Windows. Either replace them with more energy-efficient windows or add solar shades or tinting film to them.

8. Turn Off the Oven Early. Do this a few minutes before reaching the prescribed cooking time. Don’t worry, your food will continue cooking from its own heat.

9. Use Natural Light When Possible. For windowless rooms, you can use skylights. You may no longer need to turn on any lights during daytime.

10. Seal and Insulate Properly. Cracks and gaps can lessen the efficiency of your heating and cooling, raising energy costs by 45 percent. Avoid this by sealing gaps and cracks in rooms and around windows and doors. Also, check how your home insulation levels measure up to local codes.

11. Maintain Clean Filters. Your home systems have to do more work if their filters are dirty. Clean or replace all filters at home once a month (or every three weeks if you have pets or a dusty environment). Use a vacuum with a cleaning extension to suck up dirt, or gently wash the filter with warm water.

12. Spot the Energy Star. This sticker indicates that EPA has confirmed the product’s energy efficiency. You can find the small blue or black sticker on over 40 product categories, from refrigerators and washing machines to LED lightbulbs.

13. Use Your Shades Well. Help your heating and cooling systems out by knowing when to close or open your shades and blinds. Close your shades during warmer months for cooler indoor temperatures; open them during cooler months to let sunlight through.

14. Landscape. Deciduous trees act like shades and blinds if they sit on the south and west sides of your house. Their leaves provide shade in the summer but fall off so that the sun can come through in the winter.

15. Install Ceiling Fans. A single fan uses roughly as much energy as a 100-watt light bulb, but it can help you cut down even more on cooling and heating bills. Set your fan to spin counterclockwise in summer–you’ll find that you can comfortably set the thermostat 4°F higher. Switch the blades to spin clockwise in winter to help circulate warm air.

16. Don’t Overuse the Thermostat. Try to not lower your thermostat so much in the summer or raise it so much in the winter. If your indoor temperature is closer to outdoor temperatures, your systems will have lighter work to do. Also, don’t adjust past the desired temperature–your home will heat or cool at the same speed.

17. Paint! Brighten your room with lighter paint colors, which reflect more light. You can then switch the light bulb for a lower-wattage equivalent.

You might not notice the impact immediately, as some of these changes seem minor. However, just as a leaky faucet leads to a bigger water bill, the result of these actions builds up over time. Make efforts to go by these 17 tips, and you’ll save more energy than you thought you would.

Visit our blog regularly for tips on improving your home.

7 Steps to an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

Eco-friendly living will continue to be a hot trend in 2019, with more and more homeowners realizing how the details of their lifestyle can affect the environment in the long run. If you want to keep up with the times, you ought to update your home with sustainable choices, from your living room to your kitchen. To get you started, here are 7 steps you can take for an eco-friendly kitchen.

7 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

1. Choose Your Appliances Wisely

Look for energy-efficient appliances. These use just enough energy to do their job and can help you save 10-50% of the normal power consumption of their regular versions. Some of them even run on renewable energy, such as solar power. One indicator of an eco-friendly appliance is the Energy Star label, which is placed on products that the Environmental Protection Agency certifies as energy-efficient.

In addition, you might want to unplug your appliances when they’re not in use. Leave them plugged in and they’ll still use up power.

2. Cook Smart

If you tend to prepare meals without much thought, you’re probably using more energy in your kitchen than you actually need. This can increase your carbon footprint without you realizing it. Here are some points to keep in mind when you’re in the kitchen:

  • Use just enough water. The more water you use, the more energy you’ll need to heat it up or get it to boiling point. Plus, excess water is wasted water.
  • Use lids when you cook. This traps heat and speeds up your cooking.
  • Try using the microwave instead of the oven when you can. This way, you can use 80% less energy to reheat the same food item.
  • Cut down on meat and dairy. It takes up a surprising amount of resources to raise a cow. Forests are sometimes even converted into pastures just to raise livestock. The more meat and dairy you consume, the bigger your carbon footprint.

3. Upgrade Cookware and Utensils

Switch out your plastic cookware for modern equivalents made of eco-friendly materials such as porcelain, glass, or wood. It’s a good thing there are several brands selling sustainable kitchen products nowadays! These include Rustic Wall Co., which produces kitchen utensils made of logging scraps, or Bambeco, which reuses its leftover materials and plants a tree for every purchase.

4. Cook With Organic Greens

Try to cook with herbs and vegetables that are fresh and free of pesticides. There are two ways to do this: buy from local green grocers or farmers’ markets, or grow your own produce.

Locally sourced greens don’t consume as much fuel just to be transported, which is a big eco-friendly plus. Be sure of whom you’re buying from, though. A large commercial farm that douses its crops with pesticides could fall under “local” if it’s just across your street. Opt for produce from small, organic farms.

You can also try your hand at growing your own herbs and vegetables. Many common vegetables are perfect for budding gardeners. These include tomatoes, cabbage, and spring onions. The additional backyard foliage will help keep the air at home fresh, too.

5. Cut Down on Food Waste

If your kitchen is truly eco-friendly, it will ideally produce minimal food waste. The following tips should keep you from throwing out too much food:

  • Shop smart. When you’re at the groceries, be realistic and buy only what you need.
  • Don’t over-serve. When scooping food onto your plate, don’t pile it up in heaps. Instead, get smaller portions and go back for seconds if needed.
  • Save your leftovers. If you’re feeling creative, you can use leftovers to whip up a fantastic meal. Just label them to keep track of how long they’ve been in your fridge.
  • Note down the food you toss out. That way you’ll know what you don’t use and take steps to avoid repeated kitchen wastage, whether that means buying smaller sizes of the same product or cutting that item out of your menu entirely.

6. Use Your Fridge Right

Your fridge uses up energy to keep food cold. If you’re aiming to have an eco-friendly kitchen, you’ll want to reduce the work your fridge has to do. Position your fridge in a cool area of your kitchen, and let food cool before putting it in the fridge.

Make sure that your fridge is still efficient, too. Defrost it regularly to keep your fridge and freezer running efficiently. Also, check if the seals around the door need to be changed. A quick test: close the door on a dollar bill. If the bill easily slides out, that means that the seals are also loose enough to let cold air seep out. Replace the seals as needed.

7. Use Green Cleaning Products

Some kitchen cleaning products have chemicals which can harm your family as well as the environment. Switch to eco-friendly alternatives with natural formulas. Homemade cleaning ingredients won’t give off strong odors, yet they can often be just as effective as store-bought cleaning products.

With these 7 steps, you’ll be on your way to an eco-friendly kitchen with a smaller carbon footprint. This sustainable lifestyle choice isn’t just a great way to welcome the new year, but it’ll help keep your home cleaner and fresher for you and your family.

For more tips on sustainable living and interior design, visit our blog regularly.

Window Treatments that are Better Alternative to Curtains


Window Treatments that are Better Alternative to Curtains

10 Window Treatments that are Better Alternative to Curtains

When you think of window treatments, curtains are probably the first things that come to your mind. But, while they remain the most straightforward option, they’re not necessarily the only choice to dress your windows.

If you’re looking for better alternatives to traditional curtains, this article lists some other options you need to consider. But, to refresh you, we also define the very reason why you need window treatments in the first place.

How Window Treatments Impact Your Home

Window treatments might be the only thing you need to transform your space. They set the mood and tone of a room, and the absence of them can make the space appear bare and naked.

Further, window treatments not only help manipulate the light that goes into your home, they also add privacy, while also aid with the cooling and insulating of a space. Now, no matter the purpose you want the treatment to serve – with the many options available – you’re sure to find one that fits your needs:

8 Window Treatment Options

1. Drapes

Although many use the terms curtains and drapes interchangeably, they’re actually two different things. But, the key difference is that drapes are typically pleated, heavy, lined and floor-length while curtains, on the other hand, are mostly lightweight, unlined and can differ in length. It is these characteristics that make drapes a more formal option.

2. Shades

Shades are a window treatment option made of continuous fabric that rolls up and down using pulley mechanism. They are often manufactured from light, colored and porous materials that filter and soften the light, instead of completely blocking it. They come in a wide range of shades, colors and materials such as polyester, cotton and linen.

3. Blinds

Instead of fabric like that of shades, blinds have slats or vanes. They are usually made of sturdier materials like wood, aluminum, composite materials or leather, and can come in different lengths, widths and orientation. Because they can be tailored according to one’s preferences, they nearly work well with any interior design.

4. Awnings

Awnings are the additional covering installed on the outside wall, often above the window and in a slanted position. Because of this structure, they offer great sun protection capabilities, without obstructing air circulation. These days, there are retractable awnings available, giving you more stylish options to update your windows.

5. Decorative Screens

A modern take on traditional curtains, decorative screens are great for shading, privacy and ventilation. They are often made from metal or wood, with intricate details engraved using laser-cutting technology. Because of its bold structure, this option allows for sunlight to filter through and cast beautiful shadows on its adjacent surfaces.

6. Shutters

Shutters offer a country-chic look to any interior design that is also functional and efficient. In fact, they’re sturdier than many other options which explains their higher price tag. But, given that you can expect them to last up to 20 years, shutters can actually be a great long-term window treatment that ensures sun-filtering and noise-blocking options.

7. Adhesive Film

When applied to window panes, adhesive films add texture to the interior, while reducing the sunlight that penetrates into your home. They are available in a range of tinted colors as well as patterns and textures so you can find one that complements your home décor. They can also be a cheaper alternative to stained or frosted glasses while providing the same benefits.

8. Vertical Garden

Finally, vertical gardens are a great multi-functional window treatment that works more favorably for those with limited horizontal space – condo owners and apartment renters, for example. Aside from allowing light to filter into the room, plants also add a touch of life and color as well as offer many health benefits for the family. Here are some low-maintenance indoor plants you can start with.

True, there is a wealth of options out there. But, given that window treatments are an investment, you should take time to see the options yourself as no amount of research will inform you how exactly they will look in your home.

Did you find this article informative? Let us know by commenting below!

Green Home Décor Brands You Should Switch To

These days, being eco-friendly is no longer limited to segregating your wastes, going paperless, avoiding plastic, and cutting down on energy consumption. It also means amending your way of shopping so it aligns with your commitment to green living.

The green way to shop, however – particularly for home decor – hasn’t always been black and white. But, until recently, the environmental consciousness of consumers has led interior designers and home décor brands to step up their game to offer an array of sustainable products.

Having placed greater emphasis not only on style but also on the environmental impact of their products, home décor brands have made it easier to be green responsible more than ever. So now, you can shop for sustainable furniture pieces confidently without worrying they’ll compromise your style.

If you’re wondering where to start with your responsible shopping, read on as we list 10 brands to shop for sustainable home décor.

1. Bambeco

Bambeco is a provider of home products crafted from either recycled, reclaimed, natural or raw materials. But, aside from harnessing these resources, the brand aims to further its green efforts by updating its processes to help restore forests, conserve water, provide safe workplaces and ultimately, achieve zero carbon footprint by 2020.

2. BottleCloth

BottleCloth is a sustainable homeware brand that makes graphic tablecloths, placemats and runners made from fabrics sourced from recycled plastic bottles. Using a multi-step process, the plastic bottles are spun into thread and woven into polyester cloth. The end result is a polyester fabric that is highly durable, low maintenance and spill-resistant products.

3. Chairish

Buying second hand is a great form of recycling. It not only avails you vintage finds for half the price but also cuts down on manufacturing demand – and Chairish, an online marketplace, lets you do just that. It has a well-curated list of vintage furniture pieces, art and home accessories, and basically everything that is dedicated to home decorating and design.

4. Cisco Home

You wouldn’t realize it right away, but Cisco Home is a sustainable furniture company that crafts its home goods with natural materials and methods that are friendly to the environment. Each product is made with pride by local artisans in Los Angeles and each of them emanates a distinct style that adds beauty to your home.

5. Colorhouse

Colorhouse is a premium paint brand that is committed to making the world more colorful but without the toxins, chemical solvents and toxic fumes that typically come with commercial paints. It offers 128 zero-VOC (volatile organic compounds), artist-crafted paints in its well-curated palettes to ensure that you have an eco-friendly alternative to your painting needs.

ALSO READ: 18 Low Maintenance Indoor Plants & Trees for Your Home

6. Coyuchi

Coyuchi is a home textile company that offers a range of luxury textiles, beddings and mattress made from organic cotton – and this claim is something more exceptional than you’d think as less than a percent of the world-produced cotton is organic. Further, despite being minimally processed, the fabrics don’t gall shouty on style and grandeur. In fact, they’re some of the softest you’ll ever lay your hands on.

7. Kazi

Kazi is an All Across Africa brand that helps African women support their families by crafting handmade goods. These include baskets and vessels handwoven in Rwanda using sweet grass and sisal sourced in East Africa – and because these plants thrive abundantly in the region, harvesting them has less impact on the environment.

8. One Nine Eight Five

One Nine Eight Five is a London-based homeware brand that focuses on print and interior textiles. It offers contemporary collection of throws, cushions, wall hangings and other accessories using ethically-sourced and eco-friendly materials. Each product celebrates world-recognized British craftsmanship and sustainable UK manufacturing.

9. Re-Found Objects

RE is a homeware brand that started as a mail order service in rural Northumbria. Today, it has grown to become one of the most-sought after home accessories and furniture brands, offering everything unusual, recycled and re-invented such as colander lamp shades, pressed metal decorations, recycled glass soap dishes, weave baskets and so much more.

10. West Elm

Brooklyn-based home design and decor brand West Elm believes in the possibility of manufacturing products through sustainable practices. It is why ever since it launched in 2002, it has committed to using products that are Fair Trade Certified, handcrafted, organic and sustainably sourced. Today, it sources its handcrafted products from more than 35 artisan groups in 15 countries, providing jobs to nearly 5,000 workers.

 

There are a lot of other home décor brands who are committed to sustainability. Whether that means creating something new out of old materials, sourcing products made by independent artisans or using sustainable resources – all their green efforts serve as a catalyst that inspire consumers to be more mindful of their choices.

If you think of any other green home décor brand that should be on this list, let us know by commenting below.

10 Christmas Window Decoration Ideas for 2018

Aiming to envelop your house in the Christmas spirit this year? Aside from putting up the good old tree in the living room and hanging stockings nearby, you need to dress your windows for the season. After all, this is one part of the house that you can see from both the inside and the outside. This means that the right decoration will be able to spread holiday cheer to visitors, neighbors, and carolers all in one go! Understandably, you can’t settle for a half-baked concept for your window decor.

You might think at first that windows will be a bit challenging to decorate. Fortunately, there are countless tried-and-tested ideas to choose from. Here are 10 window decoration ideas for you to try for Christmas 2018!

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ALSO READ: 25 Easy Christmas Decoration Ideas for Your Home

Did you find what you are looking for? Which one do you think will work best as your window display? Let us know in the comments!

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