Deck The Walls

November 25, 2008

When you're moving into a new home or renovating the one you already live in the hard and tedious part is the actual moving or renovating. After that comes the fun stuff-decorating everything, including the walls. In fact, I love this part so much that I actually think about redecorating even when I know we don't have the time, need or money to do it. And with so many eco-friendly options out there, no wonder I'm day dreaming about what shade I could possibly paint the dining room or where I'd put a fabulous mirror I discovered in one of my favorite local shops.

Before pinning up picture frames, art and other random knickknacks, first you start with the walls themselves. So many brands are now offering low and zero VOC paints that you no longer have to trek around town trying to find a single store that makes a decent paint. I recently used the no-VOC Sherwin Williams Harmony line when I painted my hallway because it's fairly inexpensive and doesn't have as many chemicals as regular paint.  Plus they make a low odor primer, which is pretty hard to find.  My second choice for 'mainstream' paint is by Farrow & Ball. Keep in mind there are also tons of options that are much cleaner than these. However, they're harder to use so you sacrifice ease for a little more piece of mind. One I've heard a lot of great things about, but have never tried is Safecoat.

Wallpaper used to be found pretty much everywhere, then it disappeared because it was considered 'old fashioned'. Well it's back, and it's not your grandmother's 'bowl of fruit' patterns either. Today's wallpaper options are gorgeously modern and some are amazingly eco-friendly. Graham and Brown has introduced a line of wallpaper manufactured from 100% FSC sustainable timber sources and water based inks. The roll itself is packaged from compostable materials made from corn. Woodson & Rummerfield  makes amazing options in sleek graphic prints, lush florals and everything in between. I especially love the recyclable Black & White Paisley Wallpaper, made with vegetable dyes. I think it would look great in a bathroom filled with white tile. Just add bright towels and rugs for a pop of color.

When it comes to decorating your walls, I always say go old. Why buy new stuff when there are tons of antiques waiting to be snatched up. And while you'll have a blast scouring antique shops for treasures, the Internet makes it easy to do online. Your best bets are paintings, clocks and picture frames. Even if your style isn't old school, you can take an old piece and make it look completely modern. For example, an ornate frame can be painted a crazy new color and then paired with a modern poster. The Poster List is constantly coming out with new designs that add a fun touch to practically every room. They're printed with 100% vegetable ink on organic acid free paper.

If you're going to go with something new, makes sure it's made from materials that aren't harmful. I really love Alena Hennessy's 'eco wall art'. They're hand screen-printed and made from organic, locally purchased cotton and earth-friendly inks. The designs are warm, but not fussy and work in many different types of rooms. You can just get one or, because they all have a similar feel, buy two or three to be strategically placed. Since Anthropologie is one of my favorite places to look for inspirations (for both my home and my wardrobe), it's no wonder that I adore their Florist Watercolor, Leaf-And-Vine.  Made with recycled paper and placed in a recycled frame, each watercolor is hand painted for a look that's classically elegant without being stuffy. Plus the actual artwork itself will add a touch of whimsy to your room. 

For the nursery or kid's room I love Ink + Wit's A-Z Poster. It's especially great for those who don't want the baby's room to be too cutesy or the toddler's room to be enrobed in Sponge Bob. The soothing palette of grey, warm yellow and light blue is refreshing and new. Plus it works double time as a visual treat and a learning tool.  And although the men in your life may not appreciate any attempts at redecorating, they'll definitely appreciate this little find. The Hybrid Wall Clock  from Eco Artware is simple, aesthetically pleasing and made from a unique mix of a recycled bike sprocket and a recycled computer hard drive. Finally, this may not be the most gorgeous thing you hang on your wall, but it may be the most useful. Ideal for the home office or even in the kitchen The Container Store's Recycled Rubber Bulletin Boards will help keep you organized and are made from 100% recycled rubber. If you hate the bland look of it, simply cover it with some organic cotton cloth to match the décor in your room.