Just about all of us these days are concerned with going “green.” We want healthy lives and a healthier planet too! The bedroom is a natural space to embrace environmental friendliness. After all, sleep is all about replenishing the body and spirit in a peaceful, soothing and hopefully healthy environment. A good night’s sleep is critical to both physical and mental health and can ensure your happiness and productivity throughout the next day. So want to go green in the bedroom? Here’s how:
- Choose an eco-friendly bed. The bed, of course, is the most important element of the bedroom. It’s the place to start if you want to go green. Today, you’ve got options as many beds today are constructed of sustainable materials like bamboo. Check out eco-friendly beds at PlatformBedsOnline. There, in addition to finding natural wood frames of sustainable woods, you can find matresses, bed sheets and blankets out of natural, sustainable materials, like wool or cotton.
- Choose pillows of original organic cotton and wool. Not all pillows are made equally. Some natural materials like goose down can provoke allergies, while other pillows with synthetic filler are not necessarily antimicrobial or may contain chemical traces that are not healthy to sleep on.
- Opt for natural woods. When it comes to going green, don’t stop at choosing a bed of sustainable wood — choose nightstands, and dressers of natural woods too. Aside from using wood from sustainable trees, eco-friendly furniture uses less toxic glue and chemicals
- Add plants. Plants have two benefits. First, they actually help purify the air by absorbing gases through pores on the surface of their leaves. Scientists say that houseplants can absorb a long list of volatile organic compounds, including Benzene found in some plastics, fabrics, pesticides and cigarette smoke, and formaldehyde Second, plants create a natural, outdoorsy feeling. And again, science has shown that people that spend some time in nature each day heal faster than those who don’t.
- Use safe paints. Speaking of volatile organic compounds, you’ll want to avoid toxic paints and wall finishes. Always check before you buy to make sure you are choosing a paint brand with low VOCs.
- Add an air purifier. It will improve the air quality in your bedroom and help you get a better night’s sleep.
- Choose natural-fiber rugs, or don’t use rugs at all. Choosing natural fibers or going rugless ensure that you avoid all those nasty chemicals found in rugs of synthetic fibers.
- Add candles of organic substances. Candles help provide a restful, relaxing and romantic atmosphere. When you add them, choose those made of vegetable wax or beeswax. If you use air fresheners, opt for natural ones.
Finally, as you enjoy your environmentally-friendly bedroom, don’t forget to keep it clean and tidy. Regularly cleaning your bedroom removes dust mites and will help you breathe, and sleep easier!
The wonderful thing about courtyards is that they literally bring the outdoors indoors. Indoor/outdoor living provides an integration and seamless contact with nature — blue sky and greenery. It’s a way to retreat from the demands of daily life without ever leaving home. Contemplation. Communion. An opportunity to take in a little bit of sun. We thought we’d take a look at some of our favorite courtyards to evaluate exactly what it is that makes them so cool.
There are a myriad of styles when it comes to courtyards, but one of the coolest is sleek, Mid-Century style. This one is minimal, calming and functional, incorporating a natural wood flooring and a bit of green with potted plants. Here’s a night view:
The Mediterranean-style courtyard is perhaps the best known style. It usually includes stucco walls, stone or terra cotta pavers, a water feature such as a fountain, and of course, vivid spots of color in the form of geraniums, bougainvillea plants and rose bushes. Above, the Spanish-style courtyard features both a sculpture and a fountain. And the one below includes a fountain and a fireplace:
Here’s another example:
Contemporary courtyards are sleek and minimal. It’s a bit of that “international” style. Decorative and design elements are fewer, and the space is allowed to just exist on its own, without too many distractions.
Here’s a night view:
Below, another courtyard that would fit into the contemporary category. A purple feature wall prevents the space from feeling too cold.
And here, another contemporary courtyard incorporates rusted corrugated metal for a weathered, industrial look.
The Japanese are masters at bringing a bit of nature indoors. Their courtyards often make use of raked gravel, a beautiful sculptural tree or bonsai plants and simple views that are meant to be contemplative and meditative. Below, the gravel in a courtyard is symbolic of water.
And the gravel theme is picked up again below in a courtyard also utilizing bamboo:
The courtyard below includes gravel, a waterfall, and lights in the shape of flowers.
As you can see, there are many courtyard style traditions to draw upon. If you’re lucky enough to have the space to incorporate a courtyard into your home, you can look forward to many years of enjoyment.
When that slow drip turns into a torrential flood, you know it’s time to call the plumber. But while plumbing problems can arise out of the blue, the truth is that many plumbing problems are predictable and even preventable. If you can catch the problem early enough, you can save yourself time, money, and all the aggravation and potential damage caused by a sink or toilet backing up and leaking water all over your beautiful new hardwood floors. Here’s a quick primer on what you can do to help small plumbing problems morphing into severe ones:
- Stay on top of slow drains. One of the most common plumbing problems is a clogged drain. But before it gets to that point, you’ll probably notice slow water drainage. If you do, consider letting a plumbing professional handle it. While many people opt for do-it-yourself repairs not every homeowner has the skill needed to resolve these issues before they become more serious. If you do want to tackle the issue yourself, try a wet/dry vacuum which can beat time-consuming extraction with an auger.
- Be proactive. Sometimes you call in a professional to take care of a small problem, and the plumber identifies a larger problem that needs to be tackled. But perhaps it’s not urgent, and it’s costly, and you opt to put it off. Don’t. Neglecting a critical repair can lead to more expensive repairs in the future.
- Get regular service and maintenance. Smart homeowners put themselves on a regular maintenance schedule to address ongoing issues. For instance, a home experiencing tree roots blocking outdoor drains might arrange to have a plumber clear drains every six months, just to prevent any flooding damage that might occur if blocked drains back-up and overflow into a home.
- Get your plumbing inspected. Sometimes, it’s not so much about actual service as it is simple inspection. Every so often, have a professional plumber assess your entire system to see if its at risk for future issues. For example, depending on the age of your home and the water lines running to it, pipes made from older materials can be major sources for clogs and leaks. Old terra cotta waste lines can become cracked and invaded by roots, and steel pipes are prone to internal rusting that lead to a buildup, eventually bursting or reducing water pressure to unacceptable levels. Having a regular inspection can help you address these sorts of issues before they lead to big headaches.
- Avoid do-it-yourself installations. Many homeowners think they can tackle installing a new sink or replacing an old tub or shower. That is, until they’ve finished the job, only to find that one critical element wasn’t installed properly. Don’t let this be you. When it comes to installing new plumbing fixtures, you’re better off opting to go with a professional who can ensure that all your wonderful new fixtures will function like a charm.
- Plan ahead. Anytime you do a home repair involving opening floors or walls in your bathroom or kitchen, consider making upgrades to older pipes nearing the end of their lifespans.