Ensuring your kitchen is environmentally friendly does not mean you have to sacrifice its stylishness. There is a widely held misconception among some homeowners that one cannot have both an elegant, chic and modern kitchen as well as embracing eco-friendliness.
However, these things are not mutually exclusive. Eco-friendly products can not only protect the environment and save money around the household; they can also improve your home by giving it a fresh, unique aesthetic. Here are some of the best ways you can make your kitchen sustainable whilst remaining environmentally friendly.
Investing in stainless steel
Homeowners looking to invest in some new products to renovate their kitchen should keep stainless steel in mind. Cabinets, shelving, worktops, sinks – most of the main items one might need for their kitchen can be purchased in stainless steel. Most stainless steel available is made from up to 70% recycled material and therefore are a great choice for those keen to reduce their carbon footprint. Equally important, however, is that fact that a stainless steel kitchen is incredibly stylish. It can create an industrial chic aesthetic that is trendy in contemporary homes.
Shopping tip: You can find some amazing used, unwanted and discounted stainless steel kitchen counter tops, benches and even appliances by browsing through Craigslist, Gumtree and even business auctions.
Salvaging recycled products
While stainless steel requires some financial investment, some of the finest eco-friendly products for your kitchen are far less affordable – even to the point that they barely cost anything at all. Many homes have managed to successfully attain a stylish look by using items salvaged from scrap yards. From using truck springs as bar stools to repurposing discarded wood planks as cabinets, many people have used these items to create a vintage kitchen that is both cheap and eco-friendly.
Shopping tip: Scour local newspapers or local Facebook groups and you might be able to pick up some salvaged railway sleeper and other bits and pieces people no longer want. By being resourceful and upcycling scraps, your kitchen will also come with its own unique story.
Choosing the right kind of flooring
With careful research, it is easy to ensure your home has sufficient eco-friendly flooring. For instance, vinyl flooring is often made from up to 75% recycled material and, when you want to replace it, is 100% recyclable after use. The soft, warm style of vinyl flooring, furthermore, ensures that you do not have to lose any of your kitchen’s comfort or quality.
The other great option is bamboo flooring which is becoming increasingly popular given the eco-credentials of the bamboo plant. Other eco-friendly types of flooring include linoleum and cork. However, these are considerably less fashionable.
Shopping tip: Before purchasing flooring, it's best to verify the materials to determine exactly how 'eco' it actually is. This means asking where the floors are made, whether the timber is FSC certified and whether the flooring was treated with harsh synthetic chemicals.
Light the room with LED bulbs
LED lighting, some of the most eco-friendly lighting one can find with its ability to save up to 90% of energy compared to conventional bulbs, might not necessarily be stylish in itself. There are, however, lots of creative ways that you can use LED lighting around a kitchen. Perhaps the simplest yet most attractive way is to install them under cabinets instead of in the ceiling to achieve a post-modern atmosphere even in the most traditional of kitchens.
Related Post: 11 Ways to Keep Your Carbon Footprint Down Everyday
Many paints can be hazardous to the environment as they contain solvents and Volatile Organic Compounds. However, to complete your eco-friendly kitchen, you should look into using paints made from natural ingredients. Water-based paint is possibly the most popular but all-natural milk paint is also available, as are those made from minerals such as chalk and linseed oil deriving from plants. There is little noticeable difference between these using eco-friendly paints compared to traditional paint. A variety of colours and hues are available for whatever style your kitchen requires.
Shopping tip: You can find some wonderful low-VOC or VOC-free paint at your local hardware store or paint shop. Just make sure to do you research before hand on the different brands and if upon arrival you're still unsure, make sure to ask the store assistant who may be able to provide you with further information.
Related Post: Top 10 Eco-Friendly Ways to Renovate Your Home
Shop for low-energy appliances
Appliances are an intrinsic part of any kitchen’s aesthetic and a significant amount of planning should be taken to guarantee you are getting the right ones to match your room’s aesthetic. The look of an appliance is just one of many things to consider though. You should also focus on shopping for dishwashers, fridges and ovens that promise energy efficiency. These will conserve the amount you are using by up to 20% and lower your carbon footprint. Furthermore, as well as the environmental benefits, homeowners will save money by investing in these appliances, shaving as much as $40 from their annual electricity bills.
Shopping tip: Make sure to check the energy ratings of each appliance you are considering by doing a quick online search. We also encourage you to ask for recommendations from your trusted network of family and friends and read online reviews to help you make more informed purchasing decisions.
Kitchens are the most decorative room in the home. They are one of the places we most commonly frequent in the house and therefore a great deal of time and money is often invested in making it look chic and stylish. The aforementioned products and advice ensure you are able to do this whilst minimising the harm your home is doing to the environment. They provide the perfect balance between style and sustainability.