Can redecorating be green? Do you necessarily have to consume more stuff to redo your décor? Some people would answer yes - how can you revamp your space without buying stuff?
But as always when we consume goods (as we are bound to do), there is a way to buy wisely and with regard to the environment.
First of all, instead of buying willy-nilly, you can commit to doing research and finding a suitable item that's also a good choice for the environment. You'll find there's a wealth of resources out there featuring recycled, reclaimed or sustainable items. Browse the Internet - there are loads of online stores that carry extremely cool merchandise.
Ottawa-based Arbour Environmental Shoppe, www.arbour.on.ca, has lots of environmentally-friendly items, and the Healthiest Home, www.thehealthiesthome.com, stocks all sorts of sustainable home renovation products. Check out New Hamburg-based Ten Thousand Villages, www.tenthousandvillages.ca, which stocks fair-trade items made from sustainable resources. Toronto's Grass Roots Store, www.grassrootsstore.com, carries home décor items such as candles and the like. Vancouver-based Dear also carries cool goods made of recycled materials - check out the Bovis Bally Transit Chair, made of aluminum highway signs.
In terms of housing construction materials, Woodstock, Ont.-based Revival Flooring, www.revivalflooring.com, carries wide-plank flooring reclaimed from aged structures such as barns, factories and century homes. In Toronto, a company called Urban Tree Salvage, www.urbantreesalvage.com, carries furniture and lumber made of (you guessed it) wood from the city's downed trees and structures.
Post And Beam Reclamation in Toronto carries reclaimed architectural material. Toronto-based Habitat also carries reclaimed items at very reasonable prices from homes that have been taken down.
There are, of course, lots of American websites devoted to environmentally sensitive products, such as Texas-based Anna Sova Luxury Organics, www.annasova.com, which carries environmentally friendly silk draperies and recycled aluminum and bamboo curtain rods, as well as healthy wall paints.
California-based greenfeet.com carries rugs and beanbag chairs made of sustainable and naturally-derived materials. And there are many others.
Or, you can do something even better for yourself and the environment - strap on your canvas limousines and take a walk to the fascinating stores in your community that carry interesting recycled household items.
Some are plain, old antique stores or flea markets. Others actually carry items made of recycled goods. For instance, Forever Interior in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto carries an eclectic mix of furniture made of reclaimed wood and other vintage items, and totally imaginative items made of reclaimed stuff.
Large stores such as Home Depot carry items that are good environmental choices, but you will need to educate yourself, so you know what you are looking for. Staff at big-box stores may be able to offer advice, but don't count on it. As with any décor purchase you make, the main thing is to do your own research on the product, so you can feel good about the choice you make.
Tammy Schnurr and Jeffrey Fisher are hosts of Arresting Design on W Network. Tammy is an interior decorator. Jeffrey designs home furnishings and bedding through his company Jeffrey Fisher Home.
Here are some criteria to keep in mind to help you on your way to environmentally friendly decor shopping: