6 Green Decorating Ideas that Don’t Take Lots of Green

Cheryl Terrace by Cheryl Terrace | December 9th, 2008 | 2 Comments
topic: Eco Decorating, Green Living

We all now have an opportunity (like it or not) to streamline our lives and derive greater joy from the things we already own. These green decorating ideas and resources will help you liven up a room for holiday guests

or create a fresh new look once the holidays are over — all in ways that are kind to the planet.

I have always been in the “less is more” mindset, and I’ve found that there are many wonderful inexpensive ways to infuse new life into a home with eco-friendly decorating ideas and products. For example …



1. Something as simple as painting a drab dresser a beautiful color (with eco-paint of course; try yolocolorhouse.com or afmsafecoat.com) or using an old chair as a plant stand can transform the ho-hum to yum!

2. The haute bohemian sites trashluxe.com and catherinehammertonshop.com take recycling to a high art form. This is recycling at its best. The only requirement is creativity. Key words to look for in decor and furnishings: “Recycled” and “made from recycled materials.”

3. These days, recycle, reduce and reuse are not only conscious choices — they’re all the rage. I draw the line at dumpster diving, but there’s green décor galore at many thrift shops. Housing Works in NYC is one of my absolute favorites. Proceeds go to helping people with HIV/AIDS.

4. I often help my clients rearrange and repurpose their belongings to make their space work better for them. For example, you can easily “brighten” a space by rewiring a lamp, replacing an ugly lampshade, or even making a lamp from something cool. You can even transform old teacups into chic lighting!

5. Setting a table with mismatched dishes can look fabulous if done in the right way. Check out these rehabilitated dishes and the super-talented Jason Miller for more inspiration.

6. Shop Freecycle, an organization that links people who want new-to-them stuff with people who want to get rid of stuff — free! Jump in and keep more stuff from entering landfills. If it’s not resellable or you can’t find a taker, go to Gaiam Life’s Recycling FAQ, Lime’s How to Recycle Everything guide, or Earth911.com for drop-off sites and other brilliant resources to help you practice the three Rs.

What defines a wonderful home is never about the newest, fanciest or most precious objects, but rather a space that reflects the unique personality of the homeowner. A home that supports wellness is more important than ever, and saving lots of money certainly helps!


  1. Great ideas, thanks! Other things that I love to do are to take old hardbacked books–children’s books are especially great and rebind them into journals, which I then give away as christmas gifts. Using old cool bottles for homemade teas and facial masks are also a great way of recycling and making it chic.


    jh | December 9th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  2. We love the re-habilitated dishes idea, very shabby chic!
    We also re-purposed a drab dresser, we actually bought an old wash stand and converted into a buffet / side table with eco paints and distressing, check out the results; (The dresser is at the bottom of the article)

    Green Decorating Ideas | October 17th, 2010 | Comment Permalink

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