Tuesday, 25 August 2009

the eco home...

There are many ways to a green home. Some are a great deal easier than others, some are quick, some take patience, but all combine to create a space that is as green as the grass outside.

But, when faced with a redecoration project, where do you start to ensure that you are being as green as possible?

This little series of introductory postings will look at different elements of the ‘eco’ home, how and why should and where you can get things from.

This first post will look at…….wallpaper.

Now very much in vogue, the statement wall and the mix of patterns is back. The ‘white box effect’ is long gone, and over the past few years, we have been reacquainting ourselves with the wallpaper section of our local DIY stores.

But regular wallpapers are not particularly inspiring on the eco front – most use virgin wood fibres, chemical inks and plastic wrappers to tempt us. Textured blown vinyls are another beast of the wallpaper world, and should never be considered for the green home. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) are rife with the use of solvents as well. Plus, there are the adhesives…

But if you are looking for good eco alternative to the regular wallpaper on offer, fortunately there are many to choose from, and they are not heard to find. Some are probably sitting right next door to the usual suspects above.

Things to spot include recycled paper content, FSC approved sources, water based and vegetable based inks and compostable packaging.

And wallpaper also comes in guises outside of the large DIY sheds – many young craftspeople are now coming to the fore with beautiful hand printed papers, also bearing FSC marks and using vegetable inks.

Of course, patterns, taste and price will pay a great influence on your final choices, but expect to pay anything from £7.99 to £45 a roll from the DIY stores and specialist decoration centres up to £100 or more a length for a hand printed covering.

Remember to use a water-based adhesive, and you are well on your way to creating a green papered wall…

Have a look at these for some ideas…
Focus DIY - FSC and recycled content - reasonable and good, solid colour range
B&Q – FSC paper, water based inks and biodegradable packaging - nice patterns with an expanding range at a good price.
EcoCentric – machine and hand printed - great pattern range and ticks the eco boxes.
Biome Lifestyle – wonderful patterns using water based inks, so no VOC's.
Graham and Brown - plains and patterns - all responsible with water based inks, compostable packaging and FSC content.

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