Andrew Harmon



Sustainable Living
For the Home 2012

by Glynis Tart, Verden Interior
Design Studios

The holidays have come and passed, the New Year has begun and resolutions are written in a diary or on the refrigerator. Resolutions normally come and go, but we strive to make our lives better each and every day. Why not start with the home?
Making minor changes in the home can improve ones physical, emotional and mental well- being. It does not take a major kitchen and bathroom renovation, but only small or moderate changes.

Get Rid of the Old and Bring in the New!
Vision exactly what you want to remove from your life and what you want to add in your environment.

What do you want this year? Greater focus on personal/professional goals and finances? Get rid of any clutter in the home. Whatever you do not need, give it away, sell it on ebay or donate it. How is your furniture placed in your rooms? Are your walkway paths clear? Or do you have to zig zag, maneuver and twist yourself around a sofa, chair or table just to move from one area to another? Reposition your furniture so your walkways are clear. This allows the energy of your house to circulate and removes negative blockings from your space. If you are unsure about repositioning your furniture, contact an interior designer for a brief consultation service.

Do you have items and accessories that are old and outdated? Give them away if they serve no purpose; especially if they cause bad memories. Any item in your house which reminds you of negative events blocks positive events from happening in your life.

Make sure there is adequate lighting in each of your rooms. There should be no space in your residence which is too dark. Take advantage of natural sunlight from the windows during the day and in the afternoon. Good light, especially natural sunlight, enhances one’s mood. Air quality in the room should be important. Invest in a good air purifier unit if you have allergies, children and pets. This will minimize illnesses.

Do you want to entertain more friends at home? Look at the colors on your walls. Are the walls in your living room, dining room and kitchen cold and drab? Consider painting the walls with warmer colors such as as soft yellows, warm beiges and taupes, tangerines, reds and browns. These are stimulating, inviting, action, and conversation colors. You can also use certain shades of green. Again, it is best to consult an interior designer, who is a color expert, so the selections work perfectly with your furniture, lighting, artwork and accessories. Have multipurpose furniture as storage/seating ottomans. If you need new furniture, and your space permits, purchase a sectional seating unit. These options also provide additional seating for guests.

Choose works of art and accessories that are personal; that make you happy and make a statement. Use them as conversation pieces. Obtaining good artwork does not have to be expensive. Order framed artwork from internet stores or have a struggling, fine artist college student create a one-of-a-kind canvas for your space.

Is It Love That You Seek Or Do You Want To Spice Up Your Current Love Life? Follow the first command to eliminate clutter and make sure your walkways are clear and easy to pass. For the singles, if seeking to attract a woman, or man, make sure the space is comfortable; the sofa should not be too fluffy or too deep, but cozy enough to snuggle. Seating fabric color can be neutral (beige, grey, brown or black), but add accent pillows with reds, oranges, burgundies. These are warm, romantic and stimulating colors. Include a faux fur throw on the sofa during fall and winter months. Add a few red vases in the dining room and in the bedroom. Make sure the room lighting is not too bright, but not very dark. Add dimmer switches in the living room and in the bedroom.

Designing on a Dollar:
Last but not least, here are some ways you can change your environment “on the cheap”:

1. If your sofa and chairs are in good condition, consider purchasing quality upholstery fabric and having the items re-upholstered. You’ll be helping the environment by not throwing out a good product while giving a local upholstery company work….while receiving a totally new look with a new, beautiful fabric. Try to select fabric made of cotton, cotton velvets and wools. These are natural fibers which allow the seating to breathe. Silk fabric is another option, but I would only use this on seating which will not have a lot of use! Good silk is expensive.. Stained silk is difficult to clean. Microfibers are practical; most are made of synthetic material, but they are very durable for moderate to high residential use and can be treated with stain-resistant solutions.

2. If your good quality tables, cabinets and china closets are natural/real wood, give them a new look by stripping the wood and changing the stain or by painting the table a totally different color. Paint existing handles a different color or purchase new, funky handles from a local home improvement store.

3. Try purchasing furniture and accessories from reputable consignment shops. Make sure the pieces are of good quality, heavy and sturdy. Do not worry if the style appears to be out of date. New paint and hardware creates a unique look for any piece.

4. Purchase good quality drapes from stores such as Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware; or invest in a good sewing machine, take sewing lessons and make your own custom drapes and panels. This goes for pillows, throws and shams, too.
I hope these tips will bring a sense of happiness and well-being into your home. If you have further questions or seek a consultation, please contact Glynis Tart of Verden Interior Design Studio at 215-360-6722.



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