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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

The Great American Interior Designers

One fact of life is that while you cannot be great in all career fields, you can be successful in one–this is what the 5 greatest interior designers of all time have proven.

The most recognized or highest-paid professionals in the interior design industry are inspired by the greatest. If you want to know them,  this article brings you America’s best interior designers of all time –those whose works have set a high-standard in the profession and whose names everyone in the industry recognize.

The Best Interior Designers in the US History

1. Elsie de Wolfe

1865 – 1950

Born in New York City, Elsie de Wolfe is revered as one of the first interior designers in history. Her style is best distinguished by her distaste for the overstated and formal Victorian architecture. Thus, her approach to designing is all about decluttering so it results to a spacious, streamlined look we all love today. Among her most noteworthy works include designing a host of elite social clubs, Hollywood mansions and spaces for names like Condé Nast, Cole Porter, Paul-Louis Weiller and more.

“A house should be a synthesis of comfort, practicality and tradition.”

2. Albert Hadley

1920 – 2012

Tennessee-born, Albert Hadley is celebrated as the dean of American decorators. He has mastered the modern design approach, in which he deftly pieced together a mix of styles to create a harmonious space. High-society names such as Rockefeller, Getty and much more make up his portfolio but, despite the influence, he remains firm in his principle to create liveable spaces that balance functionality and flair. Later in his career, Hadley has collaborated with Sister Parish, another icon mentioned in this list.

“The essence of interior design will always be about people and how they live.”

3. Sister Parish

1910 – 1994

The other half of the Parish-Hadley Associates, Sister Parish was a designer and socialite regarded as the mother of American Country aesthetic. She had a taste for classic European furniture that adds a dose of inviting elegance and character to every interior she touched. Along with Hadley, she was tapped to decorate the family quarters of the Kennedy White House. She is remembered for pushing a tea cart around a room, taking out things she deemed unnecessary, before starting.

“Innovation is often the ability to reach into the past and bring back what is good, what is beautiful, what is useful, what is lasting.”

4. Billy Baldwin

1903 – 1983

Billy Baldwin is probably the only interior design icon who resents being called an interior designer. He championed in the classic and modern American aesthetic at once, favoring the clean-cut instead of baroque. But, what truly sets him apart is his insistence on working with pieces his clients already owned, believing that Even when they are far from perfect, loved possessions add personality.” He was responsible for late columnist Diana Vreeland’s garden in hell blood red drawing room.

“Be faithful to your own taste, because nothing you really like is ever out of style.

5. Dorothy Draper

1889 – 1969

Dorothy Draper is an interior decorator who opened what is considered the first and most acclaimed design firm in the US. She has a taste for an elegant modern baroque aesthetic that extends to many establishments including the Fairmont and Mark Hopkins hotels in San Francisco and the cafeteria at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. But, her most celebrated work is her impressive renovation of the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia that now showcases a wild mash-up of colors.

“I always put in one controversial item, it makes people talk.”

 

Although it has been a long time since these interior designers passed away, they remain an icon to this day. No one can deny it, they have done more for the American interior design industry than anyone.  

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Home Staging 101: Resources, Tips, & Tricks

To anyone getting ready to sell their home, the idea of staging can be an intimidating thought that conjures ideas about feng shui or concepts of interior design. But this need not be a complicated task, and when done correctly staging the home can help give it a much-needed advantage in a difficult marketplace.

The idea of staging is to clean and arrange the home in a way that makes it most attractive to buyers. While there are countless websites or books that can help with this topic, at its heart it is simple—turning the home into a blank slate of sorts, a place potential buyers can imagine their own details. The first step is to take a thorough examination of the home, looking in every room and try to see it as a buyer would. If it helps, bring in a friend or family member to give you a fresh perspective, someone who wouldn’t be afraid to make difficult suggestions to you.

Home Staging ChicagoWhen it comes time to start the staging, address the basics first. The house needs to be clean and free of clutter. Potential buyers want to be able to imagine themselves living in the home, but if all they see are the dirty dishes in the sink and piles of laundry, they might not even finish the visit. Eliminating the mess also makes the house seem larger, more open.

Once you have cleaned, it is time to get rid of all the clutter as well. For those who have lived in a home for a long time, this can mean addressing years or even decades of accumulated things that are no longer used and this alone can be stressful. So keep it simple and don’t try to get rid of everything at once. Take a room-by-room look at clothing or boxes, and use the general rule that de-clutter experts suggest—if you haven’t used it or worn it in the past year, get rid of it. Separate things into piles for the garbage, for donation and the last for a garage sale. Don’t think you can just throw everything into a box and shove it in a closet, because potential buyers will want to see what kind of storage space your house has as well. If you have a spare room or other space that is being used as a storage space for all this clutter, move it out and give the room a new purpose like a sitting room or library for your extra books. If it helps keep you motivated, think of the move ahead and how much easier it would be without having to move all the junk you don’t use anyway.

Now that it’s time to stage the house, keep in mind that you want it as a blank slate for the buyer to fill in with details. Remove bulk furniture, big pictures and the other things that might be taking up space. If you have unused space, try to fill it creatively with plants or bookshelves—if you can use something from another, more cluttered room, that’s an even bigger bonus. Some people think that placing all the furniture against the wall will showcase the size of a room, but staging experts say that placing them together in small groupings makes the space seem friendlier to users. Finally, be sure everything is clean, freshly vacuumed and neatly arranged.

Try to keep the rooms simple as well. If your choices of paint color are too bold or personalized, change to a neutral paint. Take a careful look at lighting as well, replacing light bulbs with tints that seem most attractive or adding new blinds that let in more natural light.

Megan Gates is an active blogger who provides written work to the blogosphere pertaining to Nassau Rental Properties, Hamptons Real Estate, home improvement and the latest architecture, design and fashion. Follow her on twitter @MEGatesDesign.

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