dresser, plant pot, picture frames

Reduce, reuse, recycle: 10 ways to renovate your home the eco-friendly way

Designing and decorating your home can be really hard, especially when you’re trying to be environmentally conscious. But using the mantra of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’, it’s surprisingly easy to renovate and redecorate. You only need some modern apps, a bit of patience and some thriftiness.

Whether you’ve recently moved home or you’re simply looking to reduce your carbon footprint and save money, read on to learn ten of the most best sustainable decorating ideas.

Buy second-hand furniture

Modern spending habits mean there is always a glut of second-hand furniture in the UK. Just imagine: you never need to buy new furniture again! Take a look at Craigslist, Gumtree, Shpock, eBay or Depop and you’re sure to find some decent second-hand furniture. And with a bit of patience you’re bound to find a range of beautiful and interesting furniture for your home.

Swap with others

Why not see what’s available to trade with like-minded bargain hunters in your local area? If you’ve got a load of unwanted items and are not sure what to do with them, rather than throw them away, consider bartering them with people nearby.

Try the BUNZ app. BUNZ connects you to local people that are looking to reduce, reuse, recycle. Simply download the app, create an account, and get swapping. And when it comes to sustainable decor ideas, you can’t do better than that. 

shabby chic armchair
Furniture doesn’t have to be new to be chic. Image by Danny Feng on Unsplash

Upcycle old items

If you have second-hand treasures or an old piece of furniture that needs a bit of a revamp, try upcycling it yourself. Pinterest and YouTube have infinite upcycling ideas ranging from giving an old chair a fresh lick of paint to transforming pieces into completely different objects.


Many of the paints we use consist of chemicals that are harmful to us and our environment. So to prevent these horrible toxins from infiltrating your home, look out for eco-paints with plant or water-based constituents. Avoid those containing titanium oxide. Brands such as Auro and Biofa are good places to start when it comes to sustainably decorating your home. 

Support small, local businesses

Of course, it isn’t a sin to want something completely new once in a while. And small businesses depend on people giving into their whims. So treat yourself by investing in some lovely, hand-crafted items. Even in these times of social distancing, it’s possible to support local artists. Check out UK Artists Online for some inspiration. 

Surround yourself with plants

When you think of a green home, you probably think of plants. Plants are important when it comes to sustainable home decor. After all, having them in your home is linked to improved mental health, stronger immune system, and increased productivity. Bring the garden into your home by purchasing your favourite plants at a local nursery. Or try collecting clippings from your family and friends to create a home that is full of life. 

Recycle rainwater

The mantra, reduce, reuse, recycle isn’t just for the home. If you have a garden, you can collect rainwater and use it to look after your new plants! Harvest the rain by attaching a low-cost water butt to a gutter pipe. This will divert the rainwater into a barrel for you to use as you please, helping you, your plants, and the planet all at the same time. This is a must-do activity when it comes to having a sustainable home.

small compost bin
Recycle your food waste into soil. Image by Patricia Valério on Unsplash

Composting food waste

Composting your food scraps means they don’t go to landfill. This, in turn, helps to fight climate change. In the UK, many local authorities already supply food collection bins. But if your area doesn’t, contact your local councillors. Alternatively, keep the compost in a bin in your garden. Or try Bokashi, a Japanese method suited to small spaces that ferments food waste in a sealed box with some bacteria. 

Reduce plastic waste

We live in a disposable society, where plastics are used once and thrown away. But they can remain in landfill for up to 1000 years. Shockingly, our plastic waste is often transported to poorer countries and burnt, releasing dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere and creating a myriad of public health problems. 

For a more sustainable home, minimise the amount of plastic you throw away. Buy fewer packaged products and keep the plastic you do end up with for future use. You can reuse containers and bags to lengthen their purpose. Of course, this won’t prevent you from having to throw them away eventually, but at least it delays the process and gives you a more sustainable home.

Use soy candles

If you’re the kind of person who likes to light a few candles in the evening, this one’s for you. The fumes that regular candles give off can actually be bad for your health and the environment. So next time you’re shopping online, look for candles made from soybeans which burn much cleaner. Beeswax candles are another great natural alternative.

OPOH recommends

Following these tips is a good way to introduce yourself to a more sustainable way of living whilst also making your living space into a gorgeous home, suited to your taste. But try not to be overwhelmed with all the information out there. The best way to approach sustainability is by taking gradual steps, adapting naturally to a greener life. And the most important thing is that you have fun getting creative!