Going Green, Simple and Cheap: Bedrooms
Many people are completely intimidated by the concept of going green. It really feels like if you don’t start using a rain barrel, install solar panels on your roof, eat, drink and breathe 1000% organic, and compost every living thing under the sun, you’re a failure. But I’m here to tell you that simply isn’t true! There are tons of ways to be green simply and cheaply – and I know because as a young mom, I’m forever on a tight budget. So read on to find out my simple ways to go green, room by room.
They tell you that a bedroom should be a sanctuary, a place to get away from it all and relax at the end of your day. To me, that means a bedroom should contain a certain level of luxury as well as functionality (it helps if you can sleep in the room, since it’s where your bed is and all) — and there’s no reason you can’t be green while being plush.
Of course, bedrooms are also one of the spaces to most often go through transformation, whether it be a full-on construction project or just a changing of the accessories. It doesn’t take much for the eye to get bored or a calm place to feel chaotic or dated, so as someone going through a major bedroom overhaul (the picture above is where my son’s nursery now is, and we’re sleeping in the dining room while we build a master suite) here are my tips to make your bedroom as green as the grass after a spring rain.
Nothing is more tempting than new bedroom furniture — whether it’s a bigger bed or new clothes storage or items like dressing tables or standing mirrors, it’s certainly human to want the best in your sleeping quarters. However, repurchasing items for looks is not only pricey, but it creates a huge carbon footprint. My solution? Scour sites like Craigslist, Ebay, and real-life places like garage sales and consignment shops with an eye for design, not decor. Or even better, if you have pieces you like the lines of but not the color or accents, then change them. It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint or stain and some new hardware can do for an old piece of furniture. It’s what we did for my son’s garage-sale cradle when he slept in our bedroom as a newborn. Not only will you be creating something you can be proud of, but you’ll be keeping stuff out of the landfills and keeping your hard earned cash in your pocket.
I love nothing more than climbing into bed at the end of the day into clean, silky sheets. I’m kind of a sheet snob — we have WAY too many sets for our own good, but that’s because I’m picky. However, my favorites are sateen bamboo jersey, made from 100% ethically sourced bamboo. We have three sets and they’re absolute heaven. They make my 600 thread count egyptian cotton sheets feel like sandpaper. We even have the plain bamboo jersey sheets for my son’s twin bed, and he’s still in a crib. (Well, to be fair, when I was breastfeeding him I totally slept up in his room because at 3am, only having to walk 10 feet instead of up a flight of stairs made ALL the difference.) More and more retailers are offering bamboo bedding, and I’m telling you, they’re totally worth trying out. Most of the time, places like Bed Bath & Beyond have some on clearance because like in fashion, colorways change at least twice a year, and last season’s trend could be just the right shade for your getaway. If you’re looking for more of a whole bedding overhaul, just check to see if the materials used are at all sustainable — organic, recycled, and/or ethically sourced. Just little changes in your purchasing habits not only make the world a greener place, but they let manufacturers know that buying green products is important, so hopefully they’ll start changing their practices to meet consumer demand.
I’ve talked about my issue with the fishbowl effect before, and the room I’m most sensitive about it is the bedroom. It’s your private space, and the last thing you want to think about it someone spying on that privacy. But also, you want the room to stay as comfy as possible, and a great way to tackle those two tasks in one fell swoop is to get insulated window coverings. Black-out backing is available fairly cheaply at fabric stores as well as home improvement stores, and there are a variety of curtains and blinds that come already thermally lined. Lined window coverings can work wonders for temperature efficiency, keeping cold drafts and hot sunshine out, which means your heat or A/C won’t have to work as hard (or as often) to keep your space at the temperature you desire. Less effort on your HVAC’s part means less energy used, and fewer dollar signs on your energy bills. And as a bonus, light-blocking window coverings can totally help with creating the perfect sleeping environment, which means your batteries will be more efficiently recharged after a night’s sleep as well.
All it really takes to be greener in the bedroom is to be more aware of the kinds of things you use to build your oasis with, whether it’s construction materials or accent pieces. And won’t you be able to sleep better at night knowing you’ve done your part not only to create your sanctuary, but to make the world a better place as well?
Keep your eyes peeled for the next installment in the series where I’ll tackle the oft-overlooked space in a home — the bathroom.