Low-VOC paint, ‘Energy Star’ ceiling fan, lights and windows, a direct vent fireplace and ‘green’ carpeting (made from recycled food and drink containers) are featured in an eco-friendly bedroom. photo courtesy of Hibbs Homes

Being an interior designer means being one step ahead of the latest looks, trends and innovations for the home. That explains why design professionals know so much about green products and building techniques. As the experts below point out, you don’t need an entire home renovation to move in the right direction.


Newton & Kerr Associates

• Begin with details first; decorating is secondary. With window treatments, for example, I like sunscreen shades, which come in roller or Roman shades. They’re heat grabbers, especially the darker shades, and a great investment even if you have insulated windows.

• Use natural fibers such as cotton, silk and wool for upholstery, rugs and drapery. With flooring, use non-endangered wood, stone and recycled materials. Low-energy, heated floors are also an option.


June Roesslein Interiors

• Hard surface flooring (wood or cork) is the best option for longevity. Make sure the glues, adhesives and finishes are water-based and non-toxic, and use low-VOC or no-VOC paint for walls.

• Reusing furniture is always best: Just change or alter it by repainting or restaining. Check your products to make sure the toxin content is as low as possible. A client of mine wanted to reuse an existing bedroom set, but the nightstand had a water ring on it. We changed the top to a Cambria (natural quartz) surface, and it’s more usable, plus, no more coasters!

• Natural daylight is best—take advantage of windows and skylights and their heating and cooling properties, depending on which direction your home faces. A southwest exposure, for example, can take in natural heat during the day and moonlight in the evening.


DOTI (Designs of the Interior)

• Use and buy local whenever possible. Not only are gas prices high, but emissions from transporting materials pollute the environment. So don’t buy countertop marble that comes from Japan. Also, many people don’t know that St. Louis is the brick capital of the U.S., and much clay material, timber and stone are from Missouri. Look for lumber that’s indigenous to the area when building.

• Buy furniture that lasts—that’s being energy-conscious.

• As designers, it’s our role to help guide people to be responsible for the environment. Being green is something that people need to adjust to now. We’re way overdue.

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