Feb '08 Go Green!

Nature's Nest:
Easy ways to create an eco-friendly and mind-calming home

By Elissa Scott

Ever wonder how to make your home a haven from the outside world? It’s easy to transform your home into the healthy, happy retreat from the current concerns that can affect your family. From trepidations on the environment to superior organizational ease, we all want to improve our sacred space: Our homes.

A nourishing retreat starts with an encouraging environment in which to grow. I have been heard many times saying my mantra: “Just as a plant requires fertile soil to flourish, people need a positive atmosphere in which to prosper.” Whether you use ‘virtuous energy’ principals, the psychology of color along with improvements to indoor air quality, these are just the beginning of an endless array of best choices.

You may be thinking, “Great! More work, more changes, more money spent!” However, any small changes you put into practice can alter your home for the better. When you are ready to make those steps, having the alternative options and knowledge under your belt can be rewarding.

Get Eco-chic
When ready to paint your home during a renovation or new construction, opt for ‘Eco-spec’ paint with low VOCs [volatile organic compounds] to eliminate odors and toxic fumes wafting through your freshly painted home. A great product for kids rooms, anyone with allergies or sensitive noses, these paints are available in many brands…just ask!

Replacing your floors? By using flooring that can give you environmental peace of mind along with health benefits, will be your safest bet. Opt for hard surfaces, rather than dust collecting carpets, saving the landfill and your health. (Not to mention the off gassing of many of these petrol products!) If necessary for comfort and warmth, wool carpet is an intelligent, environmental and energy efficient choice. Hardwood floors from local, reclaimed or ‘Forest-Certified’ labels, also contribute to a better world.

Organize, don’t agonize
Creative minds may be rarely tidy, but we’ve all heard the quote, “We act the way we dress. Neglected and untidy clothes reflect a neglected and untidy mind.” Organize the clutter of the home to ease the clutter in your mind. A clean visual space can be achieved through donating or selling those items that no longer serve you, but benefit others in the end. Purge closets and drawers to harmonize peace back into your home. When struggling with a dilemma, cleaning a closet can be therapeutic!

Another funny anonymous quote I heard, “Don’t spend two dollars to dry clean a shirt. Donate it to the Salvation Army instead. They’ll clean it and put it on a hanger. Next morning buy it back for seventy-five cents.”

Color matters
Whether one wears a ribbon to support a cause, buys a new car, or paints their home, color significance has an emotional response for us all. Red may boost the appetite in a dining room, but will also increase a two year old’s energy when trying to nap in a red walled bedroom. Yellow is bright and cheery when selling your home, but people fight and babies cry more when in yellow rooms for extended periods of time.

Research the psychology of colors, used in large doses in your home. For commitment colors such as tiles or couches, select neutrals that will stand the test of time. They will most likely stay in style longer. (Visit http://www.colormatters.com/ for more interesting topics on the subject of color.)

Balance energy
One can remove barriers to energy flow by incorporating Eastern principals into your own home. With origins from India and China, there is a rich history over 8,000 years old, and what is called the 'Mother of Civilization'. Many practices have been in effect for centuries, and we can delve into the study of what can help us today in our own little sanctuary. Methods from ‘Feng Shui’ to ‘Vastu Shastra’, improve living environments in harmony with physical and unseen metaphysical forces. Even small touches like decorative elements of nature can bring serenity to a home. Seashells or rocks from your summer vacation can also bring back a relaxed feeling as a souvenir.

Transform your home by renewing your space; transform yourself, along with your mind, spirit and health at the same time!

Elissa Scott is a Home Design Expert, Staging Professional, Columnist and Speaker, and dedicated Ashtanga practitioner. To learn more and to contact Elissa, please visit her website at www.gruuvyroomz.com or call: (780) 484-6880.

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