Top 10 Green Design Trends

By Paula Cocozza, GalTime.com

Going into 2011, the green movement is really gathering steam. Most people are at least aware of some of the ways daily life is impacting the environment, and this is true for many homeowners -- and soon-to-be homeowners. I recently had a conversation with my neighbor and realtor Joy Cehovsky, who told me, "Greening your home is not only a responsible thing to do but can also boost your home's value when it comes time to sell!"

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, Joy says there has been an increasingly wide range of products that offer a variety of environmental values but fall short when it comes to style. Now, experts in the field of design, along with companies who are striving to appeal to a green-minded customer base, are finally creating more products that are green, AND beautiful!

Galtime pal Emily Anderson, author of Eco-Chic Home says there is a creative consumer trend, where people now have so much access to information on improving their surroundings, they are creating their living environment using an array of outlets. The trend of repurposing of old items, whether it's refurbishing something you already have or using Craig's List to buy a used item from a neighbor, is a way of recycling that can beautify your home while being green!

Here are the top 10 design trends to look for, according to Joy and Emily:

CARPET. Did you know that one out of every four recycled plastic bottles is made into carpet? That's more than 3 billion bottles each year! Joy says, choose carpet made from renewable or recycled materials… even corn!

PAINT. Create a cozy space by painting an accent wall in a warm earth tone like cocoa or cinnamon. Choose paint that is non-toxic and contains little or no volatile organic compounds. (VOCs)

Related:Eco-Friendly Pest Control

FURNITURE Look for new items made from repurposed materials, like reclaimed wood. Emily says many times not only is this eco-friendly, it can be more affordable too. Then there is always craig's list or ebay... our modern age's answer to the old fashioned yard sale!

FLOORS When choosing hardwood flooring, using reclaimed wood adds a touch of antique, natural beauty to your home.

COUNTERS Look for those made from recycled glass, ceramic or sustainable bamboo. Use them in both your kitchen and your bathroom.

ACCESSORIES Don't just throw away your older items -- breathe new life into vintage pieces instead by pairing them with fresh accessories. Reupholster an old arm chair or add an accent pillow to give it a fresh, new look. Think about how paint can improve an old accessory, with so many finish options out there, the possibilities are endless!

LIGHTING Install dimmable compact fluorescent lights, which can consume up to 75% less electricity and last 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs.

Related: Top Remodeling Trends for 2011

BATHROOMS A new shower curtain can update the entire look of your bathroom. Opt for nylon, which is one of the more eco-friendly materials available.

FAUCETS Look for faucets with the WaterSense label, which can save the average household more than 500 gallons of water each year and hundreds of dollars in utility bills.

BEDROOMS Transform your bedroom with eco-friendly bedding. Duvets, shams and linens are available in organic materials and recycled yarn.

And don't forget about the upkeep of your surroundings, Emily says now most major brands of cleaning supplies offer a green line, which contain more eco-friendly ingredients. For more information about making your living space more green, the internet is a gold-mine for finding eco-friendly solutions around your home! Joy says start small and even the smallest change can make a difference.

We would love to hear from you, our Galtime readers. Let us know what changes you have made around your house to be more green, or what you plan to do in 2011! Email me at pcocozza@galtime.com, we may feature your ideas!

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