ECODIVA'S GUIDE TO ETHICAL HOME DECOR
When it comes to decorating and filling our homes with furniture, we usually go for the practical and the tasteful. We like designs that offer comfort, an attractive price tag and simply what catches our eye. To fill all those needs, we often take a trip to the big box store nearby. But when you unload those items into your home, it’s likely that you’re bringing in toxins with them—yikes! What’s more, we don’t know where the products are coming from, and whether they’ve been created with ethical working conditions in mind, or with sustainable materials. When your furniture is coming boxed in enough cardboard and plastic to fill a room, there’s a good chance it doesn’t fulfill these qualities.
So, what should an EcoDiva look for when decorating the place she calls home? A few key terms we'd love to decipher together: organic, fair-trade and local. And yes, it is oh so possible to find items that offer these qualities without skimping on chic décor, or comfort! Read on for our top picks.
This term is thrown around a lot in the categories of food and beauty. But it’s just as relevant when it comes to the home, especially bedding—which deserves an extra focus. It’s crazy to think that the place we go to rest and rejuvenate can be loaded with chemicals! Mattresses are a main source of this issue, as they’re often made up of toxic plastics or vinyls, along with flame-resistant chemicals. These toxic combos release VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which are definitely something we’d rather not have floating around our bedrooms.
Luckily, there are natural options out there to help us avoid this issue. Look for mattresses that are made with ingredients such organic cotton, wool, linen and natural latex. The same considerations should go for sheets and comforters—go for eco-friendly choices, such as organic cotton, or flannel for the cold winter months! For duvet fillings, certified organic wool is your best bet.
Where to find it:
- A great place to check out is The Mattress & Sleep Co., who specialize in natural and organic bedding options. Even better – they’re based out of Edmonton and Calgary, and will ship Canada-wide!
- Glo Organics is another great online option, where they specialize in organic linens, towels, throws—you name it.
- We also love Coyuchi for organic bedding, towels and more (like cushy robes)!
I love the idea of fair-trade items! Not only do the organizations involved promote a safe, ethical work situation for many talented artisans around the world, the items created are all unique and so beautiful. Fair-trade companies also look out for the care of the environment, making a purchase of a product that much better. Look for a certified fair-trade label to be sure that the homeware was made with these fabulous qualities in mind.
Where to find it:
- A great place to find fair-trade items across Canada is Ten Thousand Villages—I never leave empty handed!
- For other fabulous homeware options available online, along with Canadian shipping availability, check out Organic Lifestyle and Real Style Organic Living.
Just as important as knowing what a piece of furniture is made of, is where it’s coming from—the shorter the trek it is to get to you, the less harm is being done to the environment. For local furniture, think farmers markets or Canadian-made homeware. An even better option—find recycled materials or old furniture and create your own piece of unique furniture. How fun is it to have something in your home that you personally made? Another great option for unique furniture and crafty goods are found on Etsy—many of the products you’ll find on this site are re-salvaged and handmade by artisans across North America.
Where to find it:
One of our favorite Canadian sites is Amélie & Max, a boutique that is carefully curated with the discerning modern family in mind. They specialize in sustainable beauty, décor, gear and fashion for children and their moms. You can enjoy peace of mind knowing that the products they sell are made with the safest ingredients and materials.
Two of EcoDiva's top picks from Amélie & Max
Designed by Eva Newton, the Piña Colada lamp proudly boasts the tiny imperfect details of the pineapple, emblem of welcome and hospitality, in all its splendour. It will fit in any decor, whether minimalist or retro, at home or in a café, with its warm glowing light it will bring a splash of fresh natural beauty, a hint of kitsch nostalgia though nonetheless contemporary. In a nursery it will be an unexpected element of design, revealing nature’s beauty to the very young.
The Cactus Lamp brings an exotic retro botanical feel to any space. Its’ inspiration was taken from the Nopal Cactus, whose vivid flowers and colourful form break up even the dustiest plains of Mexico. Producing a warming desert glow, its beautiful design makes for a striking decorative object in any room of your home.
When it comes to purchasing a rug, the most important things to consider are style and durability. Lorena Canals washable rugs are an elegant touch to a nursery, boy’s or girl’s bedroom and the quality is undeniably superb. The brand is well known for their quality in every aspect of production, from the fine straw materials to socially responsible labor practices. By purchasing one of these rugs you will help send a child in northern India to school and give him or her an opportunity for a better life. Plus, it's eco-friendly, made using natural dyes and raw materials, so you can sleep soundly knowing your child is playing on a non-toxic, all-natural rug. We're especially fond of this Rose and Lavender variation.
The short? When you buy ethical, not only can you feel good about giving back to the environment, along with supporting all the goodness that surrounds fair-trade practices, but you will also create a home filled one-of-a-kind items in a non-toxic atmosphere. And there’s nothing better than coming home to a place where you can put your feet up, feeling good about the environment you’ve created.