10 Simple Hacks For An Eco-Friendly Bedroom

You might wake up every day with good intentions to take care of the planet. But are you an eco-warrior in your sleep? With some sustainable design choices, your sleep space can be healthy both for you and the environment. Here are 10 simple hacks for a more eco-friendly bedroom.

1. Choose organic bedding

bedroom with many plantsCredit: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

Pesticides aren’t just something to avoid on your food. It’s also ideal to look for bedding and other fabrics that are organic and produced in a sustainable manner. “The cotton industry uses one quarter of all the pesticides that are consumed in the world,” Greg Snowden, founder of the Green Fusion Design Center, tells HGTV. “For that reason alone, it’s important to support organic cotton sheets and bedding.” Opting for chemical-free bedding also means you won’t be absorbing toxins into your skin as you sleep. “Be suspect when you see the words ‘repellents’ or ‘proof’ on bedding labels, which indicate the product has been treated with chemicals,” HGTV says.

2. Go green with your mattress

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When it comes to furnishing a bedroom, your mattress is probably the most important choice you’ll make. After all, getting enough quality sleep is vital to your health and well-being. Your mattress should support you through a comfortable night’s sleep — and it shouldn’t have any qualities that adversely affect your health. “Choose a mattress that’s toxin-free and doesn’t contain polyurethane foam and fire-retardants such as PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers),” HGTV says. “… Green options include organic wool- and cotton-filled mattresses that are just as comfortable as a chemical-filled mattress. The greenest option is latex.”

3. Avoid down filling

Although some companies are trying to source down feathers via slightly less horrifying methods (such as not plucking live birds), don’t be fooled into thinking down bedding is friendly to the environment or the animals. Buying a down product might mean you’re supporting “the cruelty of the foie gras and meat industries because many farmers who raise birds for food make an extra profit by selling their feathers as well,” according to PETA. And we know the meat industry is a major contributor to climate change. So choose vegan fillings, such as cotton or buckwheat, for an all around friendlier option.

4. Give old furniture new life

kid's bedroom with a large chest of drawers decorated in pastel trianglesCredit: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

If you’re looking to refresh your bedroom decor, make something old new again. New furniture not only is typically more expensive, but it also takes more resources to produce and ship. So take inventory of what you already have if you’re doing a bedroom redesign. Even if you’re not that handy, there are many easy DIY tactics to give furniture a facelift. Or check local thrift stores and antique shops for pieces that meet your needs. “You can often find old headboards to upholster or paint, giving a singular look to the bed for less,” according to HGTV. “An old door turned on its side and wall mounted is another eco-friendly, and rustic, solution.” And try to keep any large furniture pieces on the neutral side, so you can continue to use them even if your decorating style changes.

5. Use low/no-VOC paints and stains

If you are going the DIY route, make sure any paints, stains and other products you use have little to no volatile organic compounds. VOCs are a major pollutant of indoor air and are found in many household products, including paints, solvents, wood preservatives and adhesives, according to the EPA. They can cause short- and long-term health effects, such as headaches, dizziness, breathing issues and cancer. And many of these products are considered hazardous waste that can pollute water and destroy ecosystems. So buy the greenest products possible for your projects. Use them according to label instructions, and dispose of them safely.

6. Reuse or recycle old fabric

It’s not just old furniture that you can repurpose for your eco-friendly bedroom. You also can take a green approach to your fabric choices. There’s a lot of fabric in bedrooms — sheets, duvet covers, blankets, curtains, etc. And while buying organic bedding is a plus for the environment, don’t forget some other sustainable strategies. “For inexpensive DIY pillows or curtain panels, visit fabric shops and ask for their leftover material scraps,” HGTV says. “Or, repurpose old blankets and sheets for a comforter that’s completely your own.” And if you have old fabric items you’re not going to use, either donate them or bring them to a facility that takes textile recycling.

7. Open windows

For your best sleep, experts suggest your bedroom should be somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Sleep.org. But that doesn’t mean you always have to snooze in a climate-controlled environment. Open windows anytime the weather allows it to take advantage of the cool night air (and to chase out some of those indoor air toxins). If opening windows isn’t an option, opt for a fan in the bedroom. “Buy a stylish ceiling fan to circulate hot and cool air, and save money on energy bills,” HGTV says.

8. Add insulating decor

bedroom with layered rugs and curtainsCredit: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

Speaking of windows, the bedroom is an ideal space to hang thicker, insulating window treatments that can block hot and cold outdoor air — as well as light for those mornings when you want to sleep in. And this kind of insulating, energy-saving decor doesn’t stop at the windows. Adding rugs to the bedroom also can reduce your need for climate control, especially in the colder months. “We all like the feel of soft rugs under our feet, but did you know that putting down layers of rugs will stop heat escaping from a room?” Ikea says. “So turn up the rugs, and you could be turning down the thermostat.”

9. Choose dimmer bulbs

The bedroom probably isn’t a place where you need bright lighting. So an easy way to conserve some energy is by replacing all your bedroom lighting with dimmer LED bulbs. “LED lights last for around 20 years, which significantly cuts down on the number of times you’ll have to change the bulbs,” Ikea says. “Not only that, you’ll be cutting down your electricity bill too, as LED uses 85% less energy than incandescent bulbs.” And if you fall asleep with those LEDs still on, you won’t have to feel so bad about the energy you’ve wasted.

10. Make space to hang clothes

Clothing is a whole other category that impacts the environment. And one way you can make your bedroom more conducive to eco-friendly choices is by setting up an area to hang clothes you don’t want to put in your closet. This can be a spot for air-drying clothes. Or it can be a place to keep clothes that simply need to air out a little, rather than a full wash. “Hang trousers or tops up on hooks overnight and you won’t need to wash them so often, saving water and time spent ironing,” Ikea says. Along those lines, aim to keep your closet decluttered. Know what you have in there, so you can shop your own closet instead of wasting resources on extraneous purchases.

Main image credit: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

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