The way we approach design and consumerism is changing in the 21st century as the green trends of sustainability and energy efficiency are becoming more and more a part of our cultural vocabulary. To touch upon the broader themes of this, here’s writer Micah Moon …
It’s hard to miss the fact that anything labeled as “green” these days takes on a whole new level of popularity. And the design industry is no exception. If something is considered eco-friendly or “green” within the world of home interiors and design, there’s a good chance that favor will sway in their direction.
So what are some of these “green” trends home decorators and remodelers are talking about? Here are a few of the top trends in eco-style currently taking the housing and design industries by storm.
One of the most popular trends in home building and design right now is solar power. Created to harness the power of the sun and transform it into useable home energy, solar power is a great way to minimize your electric bill and save money… eventually. Because the costs to buy and install solar panels on your roof can add up, make sure you estimate your cost to savings ratio. You should subtract these costs to realize your actual savings. For example, if it costs $1,000 to purchase and install solar panels on your roof, but they will save you an estimated $100 a month thereafter, you will begin to realize your energy savings after the first 10 months.
USA Today has dubbed it “urbanism,” and it is a concept that has certainly caught on. Minimalistic spaces and design have been all the rage in European countries like Sweden, where square footage is limited. Home furnishing companies like Swedish-based Ikea have made a name for themselves selling the concept that small spaces can be functional, as well as chic and modern. So whether you have a small loft apartment in New York City or are simply trying to make every square foot of your home count, there is something you can glean from the idea that minimalism can be beautiful and affordable for large or small spaces.
Toxin free environment
Creating healthier homes is a trend that isn’t going anywhere. Homeowners are becoming more aware of the toxins in their home and how to remove and reduce toxic household materials. For example, use low/no VOC paint instead of its more harmful counterparts. Invest in natural fibers and materials such as bamboo and hemp instead of polyester and toxic plastics. This can not only save the planet, but also your wallet.
Whether you’re thinking about using flooring reclaimed from an old building, or furniture found at flea markets, thrifted, vintage and reclaimed items are all the rage in the design world. The mix of old and new, antique and modern and everything in between is on trend, and a way to make your dollar stretch a little further too. For example, if you’re thinking of replacing your kitchen cabinets, consider scouring secondhand shops or Craigslist for cabinets. Doing this could save you thousands of dollars when renovating your kitchen.
Energy efficient appliances
Lucky for you, now the demand for eco-friendly and energy efficient appliances has increased, the price has done just the opposite. Now, as competitively priced as their inefficient counterparts, Energy Star appliances are a great way to invest in the look of your home without sacrificing your energy bill. Everything from energy efficient washing machines and dryers to a new home heating and cooling system could save you thousands of dollars a year in energy costs. For example, you could save over 25 percent of your annual energy bill by upgrading to an energy-efficient water heater. That could mean saving over $300 a year if your electric bill is around $100 a month.
Green ‘trend’ not a trend – it’s a standard
On-trend design is now more affordable than ever and soon the “green” trend won’t be a trend at all – it will be the standard. If you are interested in how you can turn your current home into an eco-friendly haven, now is the perfect time. You can even get approved for a home equity loan or home equity line of credit to help finance the changes and upgrades you have in mind. Now is the time to invest in the value of your home since the “green” trends aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Micah Moon is a writer for one of the top 10 interactive agencies in the U.S. Moon has a degree in English/Creative Writing and is passionate about writing pieces on sustainability and technological trends. Originally from the Midwest, she has also lived abroad in London, England, as well as Tanzania and Uganda in East Africa.