Redesigning Homes: Doing it the ‘green’ way!

Having lived in your home for a few years now, do you now feel that you need to do something to make it feel new and invigorating again? Do you feel that one bright painting on that wall might lift the gloom from your living room or that a fresh coat of polish might make that dining table breathe life into those dinner parties that you host so often? Being an interior designer, I am constantly asked by friends and family for ideas to make their lived-in homes, warmer and may be a tad bit more alive.

Here are some unique and creative solutions that may help you if you face the same conundrum every time you sit back on your favourite couch after a long day at work. All you need to do is get up and make a start, the world is full of inspiration!

WALLS AND PARTITIONS

The first thing that you think of when you want to make your home look new is paints. Coating the walls with a fresh coat of paint has always been our answer. How about stripping the plaster off the walls and going for a rustic exposed brick look? Or maybe get someone to paint caricatures on the wall. Creating a wallpaper with old newspapers could do wonders too! You could also get creative and create partitions or screens by recycling materials like old beer bottles.

Exposed brick wall with old photo frames

Walls with caricature sketches

Newspapers used as wallpaper

Discarded beer bottle partition

CEILING AND LIGHT

Lights play an important role in changing the aesthetic appeal of a space. It is true that the light is more important than the lamp itself but it would do no harm to have a lamp or lamp shade that in itself could become the pièce de résistance. Lamps could be created from discarded tubelights, bulbs, milk cans, etc. Moreover, the day and age of white gypboard false ceilings is long gone. If you look around with a creative eye, something like discarded pet bottles could become interesting ceiling elements.

Pendant lamp created with discarded fluorescent tubes

Cambell’s soup cans reused as suspended lamp shades

Pet bottles with coloured liquid used as ceiling element

Another view of the ceiling element created with pet bottles

FLOORING AND RUGS

It is not always necessary that making a change or improvement to the existing tiled flooring in your home will cost you a lot of money. There are many ways of doing these improvements at a reasonable cost and a lot of these are Eco-friendly solutions which involve recycling or reusing materials that would generally be discarded. Using reclaimed wood planks for wood flooring is a great idea as reclaimed wood has its own patina and adds a lot of warmth to a space. You could even use a bit of paint and use your creativity to add value to the wood by painting motifs onto the floor. Using old carpet tiles of different colours and patterns to create an area rug could be another way of sprucing things up. Similar rugs could also be made with pieces of discarded fabric woven together.

Wooden flooring with reclaimed wood planks

Reclaimed wood flooring with motifs painted onto it

Area rug for dining table created with a combination of bright carpet tiles

FURNITURE AND ACCESSORIES

Reusing or recycling materials or products to create interesting pieces of furniture has limitless possibilities. Old chairs reupholstered with pieces of discarded fabrics, coffee tables made using waste or reclaimed wood, dining chairs created from discarded street signs, the options are infinite. Accessories like photo frames or wall shelves created from reclaimed wood or display units created using old jewellery boxes could all add that zing to your home.

Contemporary urban furniture from recycled road signs by Boris Bally

Discarded skateboards make interesting stools. Designed by Jason Podleski for Deckstool

Chair made with old pipes

Irregular profiles of waste wood combine to form a beautiful coffee table

Antique or old wooden frames have a natural patina that gives them character

Old frames of different sizes and finished create an impact on a white wall

Pieces of old wood fixed to a metal bracket create an interesting wall display unit

PLANTS AND LANDSCAPE

Nothing could possibly breathe life into a space better than plants, literally. Adding plants to an interior space has now become easier than ever. Self-watering planters, recycled pots and similar products are readily available in the market today. Information about the kind of plants that grow in spaces without too much direct natural light and ways of keeping indoor plants from withering are easily accessible on the internet. Having an indoor organic herb garden in your kitchen is now the first step to a healthier lifestyle. Plants in unique and interesting planters or pots have now become the center pieces in homes today.

Inverted planters by Boskke create an interesting kitchen herb garden

Cacti and other plants in interesting wall-hung planters

Moss terrarium in old wine bottle from Uncommon Goods

Inverted planters by Boskke form an interesting suspended landscape

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7 comments
  1. I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical when I saw the title of the post due to how many people throw out “green” design solutions these days, but I have to say some of these are really impressive. I love the reclaimed wood flooring (which looks kind of like wine crates) and the bottle partitions are outstanding. I’m going to have to remember that one.

    • Thank you for sharing your view. I’m happy that you found some bits of the posts interesting. The reclaimed wood flooring does look beautiful with it’s natural patina. The wood used for the floor shown in the photograph is from crates used for packing items (not sure if it’s wine). As you mentioned, wine crates have been used as flooring in many instances and have a very similar look.

      In my posts, I try my best to write about solutions that are truly sustainable while holding their own against the other readily available ‘not-so-green’ or ‘almost green’ products when it comes to aesthetic value. The possibilities of re-use are infinite, the only thing needed is to look beyond the usual!

  2. Dexter Pereira said:

    Nice post Vijay
    Keep them coming

  3. ~mimo~ said:

    cool ideas! Thanks for posting!

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