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Monday, November 16, 2009

What’s New In Eco-Friendly Interior Design?

The color “green” is red-hot these days, as environmental awareness spreads and more and more industries incorporate Earth-friendly principles. Going green not only helps the environment, but also helps consumers save money on utility bills.

Incorporating eco-friendly principles into your home may also improve your health, says Hilary Sopata, a Park Ridge, Ill. designer, by eliminating volatile organic compounds (VOCs) often found in paint and other products.

Sopata, currently writing a book called “Get Green With Style,” is seeing the following trends in eco-friendly home design:

New Countertop Materials. “Countertops have come a long way from where they were even three years ago,” Sopata says. Granite has been popular for years, but keep an eye out for compressed paper counters as well as those made from recycled glass bottles.

Natural Fiber Carpets. Wool, cotton, jute and hemp rugs are becoming increasingly popular. These are great for households with pets or small children, Sopata says, who spend time on the carpet and won’t be exposed to the chemicals given off by man-made carpet products.

Automatic lights. These are easy and inexpensive to install, but can save a significant amount of energy.

Natural Window Coverings. Natural window coverings are made out of grasscloth, sisal or other woven plant material. They can be dressed up with a fabric edge trim and are available with a lining for privacy.

Antiques. Using antique or vintage furniture saves them from landfills. Reupholstering or refinishing an antique can cost as much as buying new, but it is much better for the environment.

Eco-Resin. Eco-resin is a translucent material (with 40% recycled content) that lets light flow through to otherwise dark spaces. Used as part of a wall or in place of a door, it may eliminate the need for artificial lighting.

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