Sacrifice Style No More: 3 Designs that Mate Form and Function

Designs of the 21st century have made it possible to live in an aesthetically beautiful space while simultaneously doing our part for the environment. It wasn’t that long ago when living an environmentally friendly lifestyle meant foregoing style and taste. Big, bulky rooftop solar panels matched with a turf front lawn in an effort to save on energy and water would make even the most well-designed house the neighborhood eyesore. But that’s not how design is done anymore.

It’s a commonly held belief that eco-friendly design is unattractive. “Conventional wisdom portrays green as not just occasionally but inevitably unattractive, as if beauty and sustainability were incompatible,” writes architect Lance Hosey. The truth of the matter is, “aesthetic attraction is not a superficial concern—it’s an environmental imperative. Beauty could save the planet.” Designers have recognized that in order to create a functional, eco-friendly design that would sell in a buyer’s market, they needed to make it as aesthetically alluring as it was environmentally friendly.

Here are three designs that have mated form and function to create a perfect blend of style and green performance.

Use Multi-Storage Furniture Pieces

How many of your current furniture pieces double as additional storage spaces? One? Two? None? One way to cut down on buying more storage bins, shoe racks and having to eventually rent a storage unit is by investing in furniture pieces that double as storage space. Consider the coffee table. Instead of purchasing a coffee table with a simple surface and four legs, invest in a table with drawers and locking wheels. You can tuck books, magazines and remotes into the drawers and easily move the coffee table around during the weekly vacuuming.

Use Ceiling Fans to Double as a Cooling and Lighting Agent

According to the Energy Department, air conditioners make up for close to 6 percent of the electricity used in the United States. Not only that, but cost of running said air conditioners costs Americans an average of $29 billion a year. As if that weren’t enough, about 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide are released into the air of year as a direct result of air conditioning usage.

In effect, air conditioners are hurting our environment. To combat climate change but remain comfortable in your home during the summer, replace some of your overhead light fixtures with ceiling fans with lights. Living Direct reports that using a ceiling fan and keeping your AC at 78 degrees can trim electricity bills by as much as eight percent! And if you’re thinking ceiling fans are an eyesore, think again. Retailers like Lumens specialize in selling ceiling fans with lights that are expertly designed in the modern aesthetic. With straight-edged blades available in a variety of finishes and green energy light bulbs, ceiling fans with lights are a triple threat: they’re sculptural, functional and environmentally friendly.

Buy Greenguard Certified Furniture

When you purchase a piece of furniture and bring it into your home, it’s doing more than sitting in a corner looking pretty. Your furniture is off-gassing: discharging substances in the air that you are then breathing in. TreeHugger notes that this is not in itself a bad thing unless your furniture is made with synthetic materials and then treated with synthetic substances—this synthetic cocktail results in off-gassing toxic chemicals that you and your family are breathing in every day.

To avoid buying furniture pieces that will pollute your home, look for its Greenguard certification. A Greenguard certified furniture piece will have low chemical off-gassing and keep you and your family sitting comfortably and breathing peacefully. Furniture brands that specialize in selling Greenguard certified furniture include Knoll and Herman Miller; the best in modern design.

Equipped with the knowledge on how to green your home without compromising style, go forth and conquer the design space!

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