Although it isn’t top priority for everyone in the world, taking care of our planet should definitely be among the most important tasks of our generation.
Inheriting a number of issues and problems that need to be solved as soon as possible is reason for many of us working extra hard to ensure our children don’t face the same challenges.
And while the responsibility is being tossed around between angry individuals, uninterested big companies and apologetic world governments, the planet is still waiting for us to do our share.
If each individual - particularly people living in the western world who consume more than their third and developing world counterparts - did their part, we might actually make some sort of difference in reducing the impacts of climate change.
So the best way to help the Earth is by making eco-friendly choices in all aspects of our lives – from eating organically-grown foods to driving energy-efficient electric cars.
But where we think you can definitely reduce your negative impact is how you decorate your home. In this piece we will focus on the process of setting up your own reading nook, and what you can do to decorate it as sustainably as possible.
Eco-friendly home renovation.
Using recycled materials, paying more attention to energy-efficiency and insulation, donating your old appliances instead of throwing away and using low-VOC paints are just some of the ways to renovate your home in an eco-friendly manner.
You can also add more plants, stick to recycled decorations and opt for up-cycled furniture, thus continuing to help your planet every single day. But, how to incorporate all of these eco-friendly elements in small spaces such as reading nooks?
Elements of a reading nook.
The definition of a reading nook is broader than most people imagine simply because not everyone has the same idea about what a place where you read is supposed to look like.
Some are happy with a window bench, others favor a corner of their bedroom, while others require a separate room where they can relax, concentrate and read uninterrupted for as long as they like.
You might want to think outside the box – pick an unusual spot for your nook and set it up under the stairs. Regardless of your preferences, every reading nook includes the following basic elements: comfortable seating, books, book shelves and peaceful setting.
For seating, some of the ideas you could explore include cozy armchairs, huge sofas, nice little benches or a bunch of pillows thrown on the floor.
After selecting your perfect seating arrangement, you might want to add a small table, one or two library shelves and some lighting options.
And to make your reading nook ultra special and eco-friendly, try adding these 'green' touches:
Obtain sustainably-made or locally made furniture, paying close attention to how the materials have been sourced and how it's been made. For example, you can build your own shelves out of certified sustainable wood, pick a bamboo-based table or a recycled armchair, and thus make even part of your reading nook environment-friendly.
You can also add some elegance, class and coziness to your nook by using lots of pillows made from recycled materials or salvaged from your local charity shop or thrift store.
Natural, upcycled or recycled decorations.
Of course, you can’t spend hours reading in an uninspiring space, which is why you must make your reading nook enjoyable and inviting. Incorporating eco-friendliness into your decorating is easy if you're willing to be creative. You can use recycled jars and bottles to display homegrown flowers. You can create wonderful mosaics using colored glass or find interesting decorative pieces at a garage sale or local op-shop. You can even create your own decorations by making macrame wall pieces or adding Polaroid pics and artwork you've created yourself.
Make your reading nook cozier with decorative floor rugs that will add elegance to it and bring some color to the reading space. When color-coordinated with the walls and furniture, rugs can prove to be a much-needed final piece of the puzzle.
Bare in mind when choosing rugs and decorations that you avoid anything made with toxic materials or dangerous chemicals - harsh chemicals and flammability is the antithesis of creating a green and natural reading environment.
If you’re willing to take things to the next 'eco' level, you should consider e-books readers and Kindles. Yes, holding a paperback in your hands is a special feeling that no electronic device can match, but these technical innovations have their benefits when it comes to eco-friendliness. Not only do you create a minimalist interior space, but you rid yourself from the extra work in keeping a book shelf tidy.
Now if this isn't possible because you derive value from physical books, make sure to buy second-hand books on eBay or junkyard sales. And it wouldn't be a green reading nook if you don't have on hand green literature that explores environmental themes – books by Paul McAuley, Octavia Butler and even Dr. Seuss will change the way you perceive our planet. You might also want to hold non-fiction environmental books in your library for reference purposes; books on endangered animal species, climate change and clean energy.
Reading opens your eyes to the world and teaches you things you knew nothing about. But, if you put it in a larger context and see it as a part of your personal battle for the well-being of Earth, literature can do even more. That’s why a green reading nook is something every literature lover and eco-aware person needs.