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4 Questions to Ask Your Interior Designer

When you first decide that your home is in need of a total makeover, you often have a vision in mind for what you want it to look like. The trick is to find an interior designer that can help make that vision come true. But just like any other project, seeing your makeover through from beginning to end will take a lot of communication. To make sure you and your interior designer are on the same page, consider the following four questions.

 

What Can You Do With My Budget?

Before you get started, it’s important to know what your interior designer can do with your budget. This helps give context to the scope of your project. Of course, if at any point during the process you’d like to raise your budget, you’re more than welcome to do that too. Sometimes, a slow design process works better for clients, as it can help to see what additions you might want to make to a room as the project is unraveling. In the meantime, you can grow your budget by using helpful apps that let you save without thinking. Doing so will give you the flexibility to provide your designer with much more creative freedom.

 

How Long Would a Project Like This Take?

As the question implies, this will depend on what you’re looking to do and how quickly you’re looking to go about it. Do you just want to add a few finishing touches? Then the process shouldn’t take a few months. Do you want to completely overhaul a room (or several)? Then this process will require more time. Asking your designer this question will give you an idea of what timeframe you can expect and help make sure you’re not rushing any design decisions. 

 

What Style Do You Specialize In?

If you’ve decided to contact an interior designer, then chances are you went online and liked what you saw. If you haven’t looked yet, check out a portfolio of past work and see if it aligns with your vision of what you’d like to do. If you have some ideas of your own, or if you saw something online or in a magazine that caught your fancy, let your designer know what your vision is and see how they can help you achieve it.

 

Do You Have Any Testimonials?

Pictures are one thing, but actually hearing from past clients is a great way to learn about their experience with the designer and what you can expect during your own. Lots of good reviews are a good sign, but you might also want to consider the review itself, what type of remodel they had done, and who they worked with. You can typically find testimonials on your interior designer’s website, but you might even find reviews on social media channels to be useful as well!

7 Sustainable Textiles to Complete Your Home

You’ve picked out a few favorite green home decor brands and switched out some light fixtures with skylights as part of your move towards sustainable living. You may have even started investing in energy-efficient appliances that bear the EPA’s Energy Star label. However, you might still have non-biodegradable synthetics lying around your house in the form of your sheets, curtains, and upholstery! 

Fortunately, there are now several materials that you can choose from to complete your sustainable home. Check out these 7 sustainable textiles and see which ones you’d like to start using!

 

7 Sustainable Textiles for Your Home

 

1. Linen 

This sustainable textile comes from the stem of the flax plant, which grows on rough terrain that’s unsuitable for food production. Curtains made of linen can allow light into a room. Meanwhile, linen bed sheets tend to become softer and more absorbent after repeated washes. You’ll only really need to clean this low-maintenance textile when it starts to smell dusty.

Look for linen in natural colors ranging from ivory to tan to gray. Pure white linen has gone through intense bleaching–not very sustainable!

2. Cotton

Cotton in general is durable, breathable, highly versatile, and biodegradable. Soft and breathable bed sheets. However, traditionally grown cotton uses up huge amounts of water and pesticides. 

Shop for GOTS cotton, or organic cotton that has been grown with sustainability in mind. You’ll want to check the label for true organic cotton content, too.

3. Wool

If you’d like luxurious upholstery in your living room, you can give wool a try! This sustainable textile is wrinkle-resistant and durable, as well as naturally good at holding dyes in vibrant colors. 

Perhaps the only downside of wool is that it’s an animal product. However, it’s possible to buy ethical wool that adheres to standards for fair treatment of animals. Wool can also replace synthetics and polyester fleeces, which shed microfibers that harm the environment even if the materials themselves are vegan.

4. Hemp

Did you know that humans have been cultivating hemp for over 10,000 years? This time-tested textile comes from the stem of the cannabis plant yet contains negligible amounts of THC (the compound behind marijuana’s psychological effects). As a crop, hemp is naturally resistant to pests and fungus attacks, requires little water, and uses up a relatively small amount of land. It even helps purify soil! Once harvested, pure hemp is similar in texture to linen. 

When shopping for hemp tablecloths or sheets, it pays to research a bit about hemp brands you have in mind. Some companies use chemicals for faster processes and higher yield, greenwashing themselves to seem eco-friendly. Also opt for hemp that has been colored with natural dyes to truly minimize environmental impact.

5. Lyocell and Modal

Both of these textiles come from wood pulp. The production of lyocell and modal does not use harmful solvents. It’s often even closed-loop, with 99% of its chemicals being captured and reused. Just be sure to take a look at where the materials come from! One brand you can try out is Tencel, which gets its lyocell and modal from natural forests and sustainable plantations.

6. Piñatex

Ever heard of leather made from pineapple leaves instead of animal hide? Natural and biodegradable, Piñatex reduces waste from pineapple production and even helps farmers earn more. 

Upholstery made of rich piñatex is currently on the rise. Currently, there are already sofas and car seats covered in piñatex!

7. Silk

This prized textile comes from the cocoon of the silkmoth. Conventional silk is infamous among animal lovers because of how it kills the pupae inside the cocoon during production. However, there is now eco-friendly Ahimsa silk which spares the pupae and only harvests cocoons after the pupa has left.

Sustainable and eco-friendly silk does not use harsh dyes, resulting in a softer texture. Try covering your pillows with cases made of sustainable silk and see how quickly you fall asleep after climbing into bed!

 

Comfort, style, and eco-friendliness can definitely go hand in hand. Remember this list, and you can complete your home with indulgent and sustainable textiles. 

Visit our blog for more tips on living sustainably and with style

Air Plant Care: Help Your Tillandsia Survive

 

Just bought some air plants for your home? Good choice. Also known as tillandsia, these spiky, ball-shaped plants are both charming and incredibly low-maintenance because they can survive without soil! They’re also a lovely addition to any home because of their natural ability to clear air toxins. However, your air plants have to survive in the first place if you want to reap this benefit. For one, air plants actually need more than just air!

Here’s a guide to air plant care, covering everything from lighting to watering to unusual changes in color. Be sure to take note of all the tips for happy air plants in this article!

 

Tillandsia 101: Your Guide to Air Plant Care

 

These quirky plants can sit pretty in open glass balls or seashells. But as hardy as they are, it’s still possible to end up with withered air plants if you don’t know how to care for them. 

How Much Light Does My Air Plant Need?

Air plants basically need to sit in bright, indirect light. Prime locations include windows that face either south or east, the sun shines through most of the day. North-facing windows are also great if they provide unobstructed sunlight. 

On the other hand, western-facing windows can fry your plant because afternoon sunlight can be surprisingly hot.

Lighting Tips for a Happy Air Plant

  • A sunny bathroom is another great place to put an air plant. It naturally takes care of both lighting and watering for you, thanks to sunlight and the humidity from your shower.
  • Generally, a more humid space can help your plant tolerate more light. So if you’re placing your air plant in an especially sunny spot, you’ll need to care for it by misting it more!
  • Want to bring your air plant into your office or basement? Be sure to keep it within 3 feet of a full spectrum (fluorescent) light source so that it can still photosynthesize. Special bulbs like Gro-Lux or Vita-Lite are also suitable here. Also note that your plants will need 12+ hours of light daily.

How Should I Water My Air Plant?

Watering an air plant can admittedly be tricky. Some plant owners even find themselves doing trial-and-error for this aspect of air plant care. But amazingly, your air plant’s leaves can give you hints on the best watering routine!

  • Fuzzy leaves are a sign that your air plant is of the xeric type. These plants can collect and hold a lot of water, as well as tolerate more sun. You’ll only need to water them once or twice a week.
  • Smooth and glossy leaves indicate that your air plant is mesic. That means it’s comfortable with the moisture and shade of a cloud forest. You’ll need to water it a bit more frequently.

After figuring out what kind of air plant you have, you can choose a watering method that works for you and your plants. There are 3 ways to water your air plant, which you can mix and match according to your preferences:

  • Misting – great for plants inside globes or other interesting displays. This method lets you interact a lot with your beloved air plants, too! Depending on the type of air plant you have, you’ll be misting it 3-7 times a week. Try to wet the entire plant.
  • Dunking – ideal for plants that are either freestanding or attached to wood. You can also use this with air plants with dense or curly leaves if you’re having a hard time misting them well. Either briefly dip the whole plant into water or place it under a running faucet. Mesic air plants need to be dunked 2-4 times weekly while xeric plants just need to be dunked once a week.
  • Soaking – best for dry plants that need to be revived after a period of neglect. Submerge the plant in water for 1 to 3 hours. You can do this once a week until the plant is okay again.

Shake out the excess water afterwards and let the plant sit in a well-ventilated place. This ensures that the center of the plant will dry well, preventing rot. 

More Tips for Watering Your Air Plant

  • Water your plants in the morning. This lets your air plants breathe during the evening and dry well in less time.
  • Use room temperature tap water or rainwater on your plants. Do not use softened water, which can hurt your plants with its salt content.
  • Water more frequently if your plant is subject to hot weather, desert climates, air conditioning, or the atmosphere near a heater or fireplace. Water less frequently if you live in cool, cloudy weather.
  • Once a month, you can add a pinch of fertilizer to your water to round out your watering regimen. Use water-soluble fertilizer specified for orchids or tillandsias. Then, either mist or dunk your air plant (soaking it can lead to fertilizer burn). This monthly treat for your air plant can help it blossom and produce pups later on!
  • Thinking of “planting” your tillandsia? Don’t put it in soil or in moss that tends to hold moisture, otherwise it may rot.

Why is My Air Plant Changing Colors?

You may wake up one day and notice that your air plant has begun to take on a different color. It can be worrying at first, because a change of color can easily indicate watering issues. But depending on the color itself, your plant might not be as sick as you thought. Here are a few common colors that air plants can take on:

  • White or Gray. Xeric air plants are naturally whitish or grayish thanks to a coat of trichomes, or little leaf hairs which help your plant retain water. However, if your air plant is supposed to be naturally green, graying can be an early sign of underwatering. This is because its trichomes are becoming more pronounced now that your plant needs water.
  • Yellow. If your air plant’s leaves are yellowing, chances are the plant has been overwatered. Let the air plant dry thoroughly to help it recover. 
  • Brown. This either indicates underwatering or overwatering based on the appearance of the plant’s leaves.
    • Brown and curled: Underwatered
    • Brown and soggy: Overwatered
  • Black. Unfortunately, a black base is a sure indicator of air plant rot.
  • Red, Pink, Violet. If your air plant is taking on these interesting colors, you’ve done a great job! These happy colors indicate a maturing air plant. You may soon see a few vibrant flowers and even little pups or baby plants growing on the sides.

Wait, Air Plants Produce Pups?

That’s right, a mature air plant will produce little pups sooner or later! These baby plants start out tiny but eventually grow into mother plants as well. 

If your air plant is putting out pups, you can safely pull them off the mother plant if they’re ⅓-½ its size. They should come off easily, without too much force. Otherwise it may still be to early for the pups to be removed! It’s also perfectly fine to let the pup mature while still attached to its mother plant, creating an adorable clump.

Keep this guide on hand, and you’ll get the hang of air plant care in no time. You might even end up with a whole bunch of air plants if you’re able to take good care of the pups as well! Enjoy having greener living spaces with the help of these hardy but beautiful plants.

Looking for more indoor plants that you can easily take care of? Take a look at these 18 low maintenance plants and trees for your home.

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

Finding the Right Wall Sconces: Your Complete Buying Guide

 

Have you just given your home a makeover with the help of a renowned interior designer? You might be looking for a finishing touch that provides light at the same time. A set of lovely wall sconces may be just what you need!

In essence, a wall sconce consists of a light source affixed to a wall. However, there is a huge variety of wall sconces to match your desired aesthetic. If you want to find the sconces that can complete your home, you’ll need a guide to help you weigh your options.

Here’s an infographic that will surely come in handy. This complete buying guide lists down your options for types, designs, power sources, and lighting configurations for wall sconces. You can have a clearer idea of what kind of wall sconce you’ll be looking for!

 

Finding the Right Wall Sconces

Your Complete Buying Guide for Wall Sconces

From Hard-Wired to Solar: 5 Power Sources for Your Wall Sconces

Where do you plan to place your sconces? Your answer will directly affect your choice of power source. This also works in reverse–the power source can affect the location of your sconces. Read up about the available power sources to prevent any inconvenience down the line!

1. Hard-Wired

These sconces are connected to your home’s internal electrical wiring. They can simply be turned on and off with a light switch. 

Since their wires are hidden inside the wall, hard-wired sconces have a clean look to them. However, this also limits where you can place them.

2. Plug-In

As their name implies, plug-in sconces are powered through outlets instead of being connected directly to internal wiring. This gives them a wider range of possible locations, although you still need to place them near power outlets. They may also look slightly less clean because of their visible wires.

3. Battery Operated

Because they run on batteries, these sconces can be placed virtually anywhere! All you have to do is replace the batteries every now and then. 

Battery operated sconces tend to be cheaper than their hard-wired and plug-in counterparts.

4. Candle

Sconces which use real candles can be placed wherever you want. You just need to switch out the candles whenever they run low. In return, you’ll get a welcoming ambiance for your home.

Some homeowners opt for battery-operated candles, which don’t have to be replaced as much.

5. Solar-Powered

Some outdoor sconces are solar-powered. Aside from adding flexibility to your sconces’ placement, solar power also serves as a renewable source of energy.

 

Up or Down? 3 Essential Lighting Configurations of Wall Sconces

Wall sconces will direct light in a given direction to achieve a certain effect. Because of this, they can be grouped into three different lighting configurations.

    1. Up-Light

  • Directs light upwards
  • Can help make a small room look more spacious
  • Suitable for entryways, living rooms, and hallways

    2. Down-Light

  • Directs light downwards
  • Adds coziness and warmth to expansive spaces
  • Great for bedrooms and large living rooms

    3. All-Around Light

  • Directs light both upwards and downwards
  • Creates a feeling of balance
  • Generally provides more light

 

8 Basic Types of Wall Sconces for Your Home

There are so many ways that home décor brands can interpret “a light affixed to a wall.” This has resulted in different types of sconces, which build off the basic concept for a variety of interesting structures!

1. Armed Sconce

In an armed sconce, the light is attached to an arm which extends from a plate on the wall. Some of these sconces are fixed, while others are foldable and adjustable. Armed sconces are great for offices, bedrooms, and reading nooks.

2. Spotlight Sconce

This specific type of armed sconce directs its light to highlight an object or area. Spotlight sconces often have down-light configurations. There are further subtypes of spotlight sconces, including:

    • Picture Lights. With a long, slender light source, this sconce is specifically used to illuminate artwork on display in your home. 
    • Sign Lights. These armed sconces light up wider areas, like signs or murals. 

3. Flush Mount Sconce

This sconce is directly mounted flush with the wall, seemingly washing it with light. Flush mount sconces have a compact, low-profile look to them. They are ideal for accent lighting.

4. Half-Moon Sconce

This specific kind of flush mount sconce features a light source surrounded by a half-bowl. Look hard enough and you’ll find half-moon sconces that are as minimalist or as ornate as you wish.

5. Wallchiere

A blend of the “wall lamp” and “torchiere,” the wallchiere is tall and slender with unique decorative elements. They direct light upward like torchieres while conserving floor spaces. Wallchieres are a prime choice for opulent displays.

6. Recessed Sconce

These sconces seem to radiate light from within the wall! All recessed sconces are hard-wired, which means homeowners may need to be creative about their placement.

7. Corner Wall Sconces

Corner wall sconces are designed to fit into the corners of a room. Aside from that, they can cross over with any of the previous types.

8. Candle Sconce

These sconces can either be wall-mounted candle holders or electric/battery-powered light sources that look like candle holders. The bulbs of imitation candles may take more time to replace, but they’re still relatively easy to find at hardware stores near you.

Candle sconces have been around for centuries, way before gas lamps and electric lighting were invented. 

TIP: The location of your wall sconces should also influence the type of sconce you choose. For example, a spotlight sconce may cast undesirable shadows if installed beside a vanity mirror. Flush mount or recessed sconces are more suitable in this case.

 

5 Types of Outdoor Wall Sconces to Light Up Your Yard

Think your porch, garden, or backyard could use some decorative lighting as well? It’s a good thing there are wall sconces designed specifically for the outdoors! Here are 5 common types for you to choose from.

1. Lantern-Style Sconce

Welcome your visitors with a pair of these sconces mounted beside your front door! You’ll usually find them in traditional or rustic designs.

2. Barn Light Sconce

These are a bit more casual than lantern-style sconces. You can find green, white, and even bright red barn light sconces for a pop of color.

3. Floodlight-Style Sconce

Thanks to their broad and focused beams, floodlights are great for providing ample outdoor lighting. In addition, many of them use long-lasting, eco-friendly, and energy-efficient LED light bulbs.

4. Bulkhead Sconce

The durable geometric design of bulkhead sconces builds more on function than form. However, these lights can still add some nautical charm to your home!

5. Motion Sensor Sconce

These sconces only light up when they sense someone nearby, which can help you save on energy. They’re often built in floodlight-style designs for ample lighting. Motion sensor sconces can also offer security by alerting you to movement in a particular area of your property. 

 

5 Different Kinds of Wall Sconce Designs for Any Aesthetic

If you look hard enough, you can find wall sconces that perfectly match the look and feel of your home. It still helps to know the general design that you’re looking for, however! Here are the 5 common designs you’ll encounter while browsing or window shopping for wall sconces.

    1. Contemporary

  • Showcases a sleek, contemporary look
  • Mostly flush mounted or armed, though you can definitely find other types of sconces with a contemporary design as well
  • Usually features silver tones and may even be made of stainless steel

    2. Traditional

  • More ornate and formal with more ornamental details
  • Can add a touch of luxury to your home
  • Great for houses that have a traditional or antique feel

    3. Transitional

  • Sits comfortably between contemporary and traditional
  • Combines minimalist details with contemporary shapes
  • Can match almost any other type of décor

    4. Cottage Style

  • Features homey design elements
  • Often come in light neutral or pastel hues
  • Great for homes with a warm country look

    5. Rustic

  • Dark colors and animal motifs
  • Perfect for a log cabin aesthetic
  • Can add character to any home

The right wall sconces are a surefire way to provide perfect lighting and extra flair. Bookmark this buying guide, and you can have an easier time finding the best wall sconces for your home!

Think you’ll find this buying guide helpful? Visit our blog for even more useful tips on interior design.

12 Zero-Waste Essentials for Your Modern Kitchen

 

While it’s important to take steps to avoid food wastage, food is far from the only waste your kitchen can produce. Look back on every time you crumpled up some cling wrap, tossed a wad of paper napkins into the trash, or threw out a plastic bag. Now, try to imagine how much waste that has built up to after a full year. Not a small amount, is it?

Fortunately, it’s not too late to make the necessary changes if you really want to achieve a zero-waste kitchen. Just take note of the 12 zero-waste essentials listed below!

 

12 Essentials to Complete Your Zero-Waste Kitchen

 

1. Cloth Napkins

Did you know that the average American uses up 2,200 paper napkins a year? Cloth napkins might seem more expensive at first, but they’ll help you cut costs in the long run. You just have to wash them when they get soiled, and they’re good to go. Aim for cloth napkins that don’t come in plastic packaging!

TIP: Go for dark-colored napkins and patterns. The colors and prints draw attention away from the stains that your napkins will eventually accumulate.

2. Dish Brushes

Disposable commercial sponges come in plastic packaging, accumulate bacteria, and gradually become discolored and smelly. Instead of buying sponge after sponge, switch to bristled brushes to scrub your dishes clean.

It helps to find wooden brushes that you can compost once they’re past their usable life span. Some brushes, like this one from the Package Free Shop, have replaceable and compostable heads.

3. Glass Spray Bottles

DIY cleaning solutions will be right at home inside a glass spray bottle. Some zero-waste homeowners keep two bottles around, one for homemade cleaner and the other for tap water.

4. Mason Jars

They’re functional, they’re portable, and they’re a charming sight on modern kitchen shelves. No wonder mason jars are so popular among zero-waste homeowners. Some people fill them with juices and smoothies while others use them for soups and oatmeal on the go.

Looking for some variety or a bit of European charm? Weck jars are Europe’s answer to the mason jar, and they’re just as stylish and practical.

5. Stainless Steel Funnels

Funnels make it much easier to transfer food from bulk containers to jars or small tubs without any messes. After all, a zero-waste lifestyle ought to be a zero-spill lifestyle as well. As a bonus, stainless steel funnels won’t crack or break like their plastic counterparts.

6. Beeswax Wrap

Did you know that traditional cling wrap can leach Bisphenol-A and other toxic chemicals onto your food? Reusable beeswax wrap is far safer and better for the environment. Just remember to wash it with biodegradable soap in cold water so that the wax doesn’t melt off.

Some brands such as Bee’s Wrap offer different sizes for all your zero-waste kitchen wrapping needs. It even supplies specialty beeswax wraps for bread and cheese!

7. Organic Cotton Coffee Filters

Say goodbye to plastic-wrapped disposable coffee filters! Reusable filters made of organic cotton are surprisingly easy to wash, and they’re perfectly compostable.

To start you off, a pack of CoffeeSocks can replace 500 disposable filters. There are varieties for hot brew and cold brew, as well as commercial-sized filters for shops!

8. Reusable Cloth Bags

Cloth bags are as versatile as they are varied. Use them to store food in pantries, pack for picnics, or opt out of plastic bags when doing groceries. They also come in a wide range of eye-catching prints and designs.

9. Eco-Friendly Sandwich Bags

There will come a time when you need to throw together a sandwich and eat it on the go. If you used to stock your kitchen with plastic sandwich bags, switch them out for pouches made of quick-drying cloth or silicon. These can be washed and reused, even if you’ve gotten mayonnaise all over the inside!

You can also opt for disposable bags made of unwaxed paper, which can be recycled or composted. Lunchskins’ paper sandwich bags stand out for being sealable and featuring simple but colorful designs.

10. Bandanas and Rags

Bandanas and rags are a great zero-waste swap for traditional paper towels. Use them to dry your hands, wipe up messes, or wrap up food without having to deal with a disposable wad of soiled paper afterwards.

11. Sustainable Kitchenware

Buying zero-waste kitchenware made from wood or bamboo can be more than a stylistic choice. These materials are far better for the environment than plastic, especially when the source material is harvested responsibly. You might also be surprised at how flexible wood and bamboo can be. Bambu’s selection of kitchen essentials ranges from spatulas to tongs to cutting boards and condiment cups.

12. Reusable Coffee Cups

You want to take your morning coffee with you, but you don’t want it to leak onto the inside of your bag. Reusable coffee cups are the answer you’re looking for. The best ones combine style, durability, insulation, and resistance to leaks.

The benefits of reusable coffee cups extend beyond the kitchen, too! As an eco-friendly plus, some coffee shops offer discounts to customers who have their drinks poured into their reusable cups.

A sustainable set of zero-waste essentials is the perfect finishing touch for a modern kitchen. Remember these 12 essentials, and you’ll be on your way to a kitchen that is both stylish and sustainable.

Visit our blog regularly for more posts about zero-waste kitchens and sustainable living.

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!

Liked this article? Visit our blog regularly for more posts about interior design and sustainable living.

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.

7 Trends for Sustainable Living in 2019

With more homeowners learning about carbon footprints and trying out all-natural DIY cleaners, sustainable living will continue to trend in 2019. You might also be thinking of shifting toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Whether you choose to make step-by-step changes or go for an all-out renovation to welcome 2019, you’ll want to take note of the 7 sustainable living trends listed below.

 

7 Sustainable Living Trends for 2019

 

1. Eco-Friendly Lights

Shopping for new lamps or light bulbs? Go for fixtures fitted with LEDs, which use up 85% less energy than their incandescent or halogen counterparts. Another option is to go for natural lighting wherever you can.

2. Water-Saving Fixtures and Appliances

If you want to adapt an eco-friendly lifestyle in 2019, you’ll need to mind your water usage. Consider installing grey water systems, which can collect rainwater from roofs and gutters and repurpose them for indoor plumbing and garden irrigation. You can also invest in timed sprinklers that only run as long as needed, low-flow toilets, and showerheads and faucets designed to save water.

3. The 3 R’s

Yes, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is still very relevant for sustainable living in 2019. Instead of spending on brand-new versions of the same product, try upcycling what you already have. Old items such as clothing and containers can easily be given a second life. Worn-out furniture in particular can lend a vintage feel to your living room or your backyard.

4. Sustainable Materials

Wood, bamboo, and cotton are all more eco-friendly than synthetic materials, which sometimes even leach harmful chemicals into the environment. Glass and metal are welcome choices of material, too. Get ready to see more organic textiles and rugs, earth-friendly tiles, and bamboo floors and cabinets in 2019. Not only are these better for the environment, but they also look great!

You should especially consider getting eco-friendly area rugs. Synthetic rugs often emit harmful chemicals, which can manifest as odd smells that refuse to go away for a while. Carpets made of more eco-friendly materials such as jute or sisal won’t give off the same chemicals and odors.

5. Low-VOC Paint

Thinking of repainting a room or two at the start of the year? Use paint that contains minimal volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which seep out and contribute to air pollution. Sure, VOCs are responsible for the familiar smell of a newly-painted room, but that’s easy to let go of once you learn about how many VOCs are classified as carcinogenic.

You’ll also want to keep an eye out for VOCs in the scented candles you burn or the furniture you buy. One indicator of a sustainable purchase is the Rainforest Alliance’s little green frog, found only on certified eco-friendly products.

6. Green Spaces

Urban vegetation and green spaces are certainly eco-friendly, but they’re good for your physical and mental health, too. There are many ways to create your own green space at home. Bring a few low-maintenance plants indoors to freshen up the air, or lay out your interior so that you can easily access your backyard. Also, try installing retractable roofs and awnings over windows that open into the house. This way, you can harness shade to regulate temperature minus the heating or cooling bills.

7. Working With Nature

Have some extra room in your yard? Set up your own garden. Most common vegetables and edible herbs are surprisingly easy to grow. A raised garden bed of homegrown crops can give personality to outdoor spaces. Berries and other fruits can also add a splash of color as they ripen. Top off your garden with a bird feeder to welcome the natural fauna!

Greet the new year by updating your home with these 7 sustainable living trends. They’re not just stylish and eco-conscious, but they’re good for you and your family, too. Here’s to an eco-friendly 2019!Found this post informative? Visit our blog regularly for more tips on sustainable living and interior design.

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.

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