Green Decorating
The Eco-Way To Style

Green decorating is a way of life for many designers. High style doesn't have to come at a high cost. In fact, there is nothing more gratifying than developing a spectacular room on a budget with incredible one-of-a-kind finds.

Eco Decorating

Green decorating may have different meanings to many people. For me, it is a combination of responsible "recycling" of older, bargain items, purchasing unique decor items that are made from natural, organic materials and using items found free from nature as decorative accents. The recycling portion of the equation encompasses my Restore, Reuse and Reinvent mindset toward design.

  • Restore - bring old pieces back to life or update them
  • Reuse - weave old pieces such as antiques and vintage items into your room
  • Reinvent - repurpose items in clever ways to meet your design needs

Since green decorating is all about SAVING (in so many ways), look for items people are disposing of or selling. They may be purchasing something new, but you are helping the environment by REUSING. Look for furniture, decor, home goods, building materials, appliances, countertops, sinks, etc.

Some excellent sources are:

  • Consignment and Specialty Shops
  • Estate Sales and Auctions
  • Yard Sales
  • Salvation Army and Good Will Stores
  • Online Sources such as Ruby Lane, EBAY and ETSY
  • Craigslist for "Sale" and "Free" items
  • Local Newspaper Classified Sections

Tip Support local artists and artisans by purchasing their crafts, artwork, sculptures, decor, furniture, etc. Many use natural materials for their creations.

Repurposed Decor Examples

I'm sure you've seen the word "repurpose" before, pertaining to decor and interior design. Repurposing and green decorating go hand-in-hand. There are many creative ideas out there for repurposing items to give them new uses. You just may want to incorporate a few of them into your own home.

Vintage Wooden Vise Tool
A vintage, wooden vise makes a unique statement on this coffeetable. A small, vintage glass jar provides similar interest as the perfect accompaniment. In the background, a bowl filled with stones adds a natural touch.
Vise and Jar Total Cost - $6.00

Rustic Flywheel Is Used As Table Decor
A rustic flywheel purchased at an antique tractor show adds some steam punk style to this room.
Flywheel Cost - $10.00

A Contractor's Level Is Used To Create A Table Center Piece
A vintage, contractor's level was purchased for cheap and provides a unique base for glass votive holders in this simple yet unique table centerpiece.
Level with Holders Total Cost - $6.00

Brown Paper Books Coupled With Vintage Door Hardware Create Unique Coffeetable Decor
Second-hand, hard-bound books are wrapped with brown craft paper for some unity. An antique door latch mechanism adds interest.
Books and Latch Total Cost - $6.00

Old Rusty Tin
An old, rusty patina tin can with handles, found at a
yard sale, finds duty as a small stand for magazines.
Tin Can Total Cost - $1.00

Use A Vintage Fish Bowl To Display Decorative Elements
A vintage fish bowl is the perfect size for displaying decorative accents.
Fish Bowl Cost - $3.00

Vintage Canning Jars Contained Within A Wooden Cheese Box Provides A Nice, Decorative Touch
Vintage canning jars with lids were found at a local flea market to fill a free, wooden cheese box in frugal style. Jars with Lids Total Cost - $8.00

Wooden Chest
A rustic, wooden chest provides some vintage style to this living room. An old, wooden bowl is filled with decorative, carved pod accents. Although most of these items were free, you can find similar items at auctions, estate sales and antique dealers. A similar chest could be found for $40.00 or less.


Natural and Organic Decorating Examples

I love using natural and organic materials when decorating as I feel they develop a soothing, relaxing, casual and inviting environment. Using products made from such materials is eco-smart as they often require little if any chemical treatment to be produced, making them healthier for you and the environment.

Eco Tip Choose organic, fabric bedding to reduce allergies and toxins, allowing for healthier, better sleep.

Some materials, fibers and fabrics to use in your green decorating:

  • Wicker
  • Cane
  • Rattan
  • Bamboo
  • Tree Bark
  • Willow
  • Jute
  • Sea Grass
  • Banana Leaf
  • Water Hyacinth (similar to banana leaf)
  • Natural Coir
  • Cork
  • Reed
  • Kapok (a natural fiber used as fill for pillows)
  • Hemp
  • Organic Cotton
  • Organic Wool
  • Silk

Quick Fact: *Wicker, unlike the others listed above, is actually a product
produced from weaving other natural materials such as rattan.

Wicker Chair
Organic cotton pillows provide contrast
against this wicker chair, placed in a kitchen corner.

A Large Piece ff Tree Bark Provides A Unique, Organic Table Display
A large piece of tree bark provides organic style as this table's centerpiece. It is topped with some handmade moss balls which add further nature-inspired appeal.

Springtime Table Display With Driftwood and Moss Spheres
A unique piece of driftwood introduces some easy natural appeal to this springtime inspired tablescape. Homemade moss spheres add a pop of green to welcome the new season.

Woven Willow Planters
Decorative reed planters provide a sense of nature in this family room, relating with the other natural elements and decorative features of the space.

Organic Hemp Curtains
Organic hemp drapes are used as decorative natural shower curtains. Bundles of straight willow branches are tied together with coir roping. Braided strands of jute create organic curtain tie-backs.

Sea Grass Storage Basket
Sea Grass or similar material baskets such as this one, provide stylish storage solutions for belongings.

An easy way to incorporate some natural materials into your green decorating is through the use of rugs and mats. While most of the rugs or mats below are for indoor use, consider using outdoor mats inside as well to introduce texture and more organic styling.

Bamboo Runner Mat

A bamboo floor runner in a kitchen.

Natural Reed Mat

A natural woven reed mat in a bathroom.

Sea Grass Mat

Sea grass mats placed together to create a larger living room "area rug".

Jute Mat

A durable jute mat in an entry way.

Natural Coir Mat

An outdoor natural coir mat in an entry way.

Frugal Decorating Examples

Frugal decorating is achieved by finding ways to create good looks while saving money in the process. Doing so requires some creative ideas, some repurposing of items and some bargain hunting. Many of the examples below incorporate repurposed items to create an overall unique, decorative look.

Column With Vintage Silver-plate Bowls
My Restoration Hardware inspired look at a fraction of the cost. An outdoor garden pillar is topped with nested, silver-plate bowls from a yard sale.
Pillar - $25.00, Nesting Bowls - $5.00

Old Silver-plate Chafing Stand
A reclaimed silver-plate chafing stand from an estate is repurposed as a stand for this decorative urn planter.

Vintage Pottery and Glassware
Vintage decor, McCoy pottery and an old jar filled with pebbles add some frugal good-looks to this built-in display shelf. A mix of old and new pieces mesh seamlessly to create interest and cohesion. Many of these collectible pottery pieces cost less than $10.00.

Vise Book Holder
A wooden vise is repurposed as a book-end of sorts. An old glass decanter filled with wine corks provides a natural accent in this green decorating example.
Vise - $8.00, Glass Decanter - $1.00

Vintage Items Add Rustic Appeal and Interest
Numerous vintage items have been repurposed as decor in this space. Rusty patinas and weathered-wood speak to each other of days past in stylish sophistication.

Old Bowl To Display Soap
A rustic bowl from an estate provides an earthy container for displaying some hand-made soaps.

Frugal Decorating
A creative mix of materials develops interest in this bathroom. A rusty metal bowl holds some organic pods and dried vine, a vintage medicinal bottle demands attention and a rock with coordinating colors introduces some free decor from the earth.

Look for free items from nature while green decorating.

Can Candleholders
Various-sized empty soup cans have been carefully cleaned and inverted to provide a pedestal base for pillar candles. The silver-colored finishes and ribbing of the cans provide a great look for a modern or industrial space. Decorate them further to suit your needs as I did when creating some fall crafts, or add a little paint to create these stunning upcycled tin cans.

Green Decorating Outdoor Ideas

I've mentioned these unique ideas on my outdoor decor page, but they seem quite fitting for green decorating, so here they are again.

Chimney Top Planter
A plastic planter is hidden inside a decorative looking chimney topper, salvaged from a rebuilt chimney.

Inverted Birdbath Pedestal
A salvaged birdbath with a corroded basin is reused as a sturdy pedestal for an outdoor planter. Inverting the birdbath keeps water from filling the basin and allows the planter to drain. Drilling holes through the basin to allow for drainage is another option.

Stacked Rusty Cans Provide Free Outdoor Decor
Reclaimed rusty cans of numerous sizes have been stacked to create a focal display of free outdoor decor. In the background, a large, rust-patina barrel will make an excellent base for a large planter full of trailing annuals, or perhaps a pub-height table for outdoor stools.

For additional ideas on green decorating, please visit
my Natural Decor and Decorative Accents pages.

These Frugal Decorating Ideas bring NATURE INSIDE your home with STYLE!

Please visit the The Frugal Tree Blog for more home ideas.

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