Google Analytics


Green and Great Looking

Whew...the design is done for the Washington Post House Calls column!  I turned it in Tuesday to the editor and illustrator.  I'm very much looking forward to seeing everything I picked out for the room in a 3D color illustration for the article right down to the pink peonies in the vase.   As you know I was asked to design a guest bedroom.   Many of you liked the bedrooms that were serene and pretty so that's the direction I went in.  I did add some texture with a few pops of color and pattern too.  After all it does have to show up well in newspaper print!

I was recently asked to put my thoughts together for an article on "green" interior design and wanted to share my thoughts with you too.  I am by no means an expert in the area but I have some suggestions you can implement in your home pretty easily.

You may be asking yourself...why should I make my home more green?  Some good reasons include 1) adds value to your home, 2) saves you money in the long run, 3) creates a healthier environment for you and your family, and last but not least 4) helps protect our natural environment and wildlife habitats.

Not all of us have the luxury to build custom state of the art LEED certified homes but we can all make smaller changes that can make a difference.   So here it goes....

1.  Less is more.  You can keep your furniture simple and elegant.  You spend less money and it keeps dust and allergens to a minimum.

2.  Keep toys to a minimum.  Let the kids do more imaginative play!  Chalkboards are great...they can be reused over and over.

3.  Add a window or skylight.  Bring in the natural light and use less electricity.  For existing windows, let the light in and don't cover them up with drapery and shades until you need the privacy.  Your space will be instantly happier and cheerier.

4.  Buy only things you love so you won't throw it out next year.

5.  Invest as much as you can in good quality furniture such as from Lee Industries!  It will last much longer and can be recovered later if needed.

6.  Before you throw out something, get creative and see if it can be repurposed with a little paint, trim, or fabric.  Subscribe to one of my favorite blogs, Design Sponge, to see some great before and after shots and get inspired!

Design Sponge

7.  Organize your recycle area so it will get used to it's fullest.


8.  Reuse wood.  Whether it be for floors, furniture or mantels.  It adds a ton of character to any home no matter the style.  Check out the reclaimed wood table and floors in this picture.

9.  Buy local, especially furniture that doesn't need to be shipped from far away.

10.  Use natural fabrics that don't use chemicals to produce and sustainable fibers such as hemp and bamboo.  Mod Green Pod offers super fun patterns using organic fibers.

Mod Green Pod

11.  Use concrete.

12.  Shop from flea markets, antique stores and yard sales.  Antiques were repurposed and used in this bathroom and kitchen.

13.  Decorate in white.  White reflects light so don't need to use as much electricity.

14.  Use dimmer switches on your lights to use less electricity.

15.  Replace your outdated appliances with energy efficient ones.  Also, bigger isn't always better.   Smaller appliances use less energy.  Know your needs before you purchase.

GE Monogram appliances

16.  Buy multipurpose furniture.  For instance, a bedside table that doubles as a desk or vanity.  Sorry I keep using this picture over and over but I love it!

Southern Living

17.  Use paint with lower VOCs, such as Ben Moore's Aura collection.  I used it my bedroom recently.  It goes on beautifully and very little odor.

18.  Add live plants and herbs to your home.  They clean the air plus make your food taste so good.

Southern Living
Southern Living

19.  Have lots of books?  Create your own lending library for your friends and neighbors!

Habitually Chic Blog

20.  Need to replace a toilet...consider a dual flush.  I have one in my bathroom and it works great!

Melissa McLay Interiors

Photos courtesy of Elle Decor unless otherwise stated.

Here's a cool website that calculates your homes carbon footprint....

Have a great weekend!  I'm off to Highpoint, North Carolina for the spring furniture market.  Can't wait to share my findings!


Anonymous said...

Love the list of simple things to actually DO instead of just being so overwhelmed that we just talk to the kids about it b/c it's a topic at school! GREAT bathroom of YOURS!

Stefanie McLay said...

I want that teddy bear! Great pics Melissa, have a great time with in Highpoint. Can wait to hear about your great finds.