Some people believe that eco-friendly materials are boring and bland. While this might have been the case years ago, most of these materials are used in modern designs that look amazing. It doesn’t matter which room you are decorating. The right material will make everything look just right. Here are 20 of the best eco-friendly materials that you can choose from that will help both the room and the planet.
Everyone associates cork with wine bottles, but it has recently become a very popular flooring material. This material is good for the environment because it is harvested from the bark of cork oak trees. The trees do not have to be cut down, and the bark will grow back in about three years.
Aside from looking great, cork also has some interesting properties. Not only does it fight microbes, but it’s also fire retardant. Cork is known for reducing home allergens and it can function as a good insect repellant. Since it comes from a tree, cork can be treated and finished with different paints and stains. A good cork floor should last about 10 to 30 years if it is properly maintained.
This is another wood-like material that has become popular over the years. While it might feel like wood, bamboo is really a type of very tall grass. It is both durable and easy to maintain. Unlike trees that can take about 20 years to reach maturity, bamboo will fully mature in about three to five years.
Bamboo is nearly weightless, and it comes in a variety of natural hues that will work in nearly any room. One advantage it has over wood is that bamboo has a special granular pattern that allows you to make interesting customizations. Browse the bamboo flooring selection at Bambooki!
You’re probably surprised by this one. Most people think that linoleum is made from vinyl, which isn’t sustainable or safe. Real linoleum is made from a combination of cork dust, linseed oil, natural resins, limestone and wood flour. It has many of cork’s properties, like being resistant to fire and water.
As a composite material, linoleum is easy to maintain and customize. It comes in a variety of colors, and it’s surprisingly affordable.
Most people send glass bottles to get recycled, but do you know what the glass is being used for? A good percentage of recycled glass is used to create glass tiles. This is a renewable resource because glass is easy to recycle with the proper equipment.
Glass is great for places where spills are inevitable, like a kitchen or bathroom. It doesn’t grow mold or mildew in damp environments. Glass won’t stain, and it’s easy to maintain. One of the best things is that glass comes in a huge assortment of colors and patterns.
Another benefit is that glass is able to reflect light, which will make the room look much brighter.
Concrete is an unlikely material for floors because it’s most commonly known for being used outdoors. Many homes have a sub-floor that is made from concrete, but this material makes an excellent floor if it’s treated properly.
If you want a concrete floor, then it must be tinted and polished. Not only does this make it look great, but it reduces the chance of someone falling and injuring himself or herself. One interesting benefits is that other materials, like glass, can be inlayed to create a unique appearance.
This is definitely one of the most durable flooring materials. Unlike most other eco-friendly options, concrete never has to be replaced.
Carpeting is common in most homes, but the average carpet is made from toxic and volatile materials that aren’t friendly to the environment. Wool carpeting gives you the best of both worlds. This natural resource is easy to obtain from willing sheep that want to be sheered.
Wool is fairly easy to dye, which allows you to get flooring in nearly any color. Wool carpets can last for hundreds of years if they are properly maintained. Another benefit is that they are soft and comfortable to walk on.
Polyester Berber Carpet
This is another carpeting material, but it’s not made from natural ingredients. This flooring is instead made from recycled plastic bottles, which significantly reduces this material’s impact on the environment. Instead of having the bottles in a landfill for thousands of years, they can be used to make carpets.
While polyester carpets are a little rough to walk on and the material can unravel quickly if not properly maintained, there are many benefits if you choose this material. It is inexpensive, easy to dye and resistant to spills.
A rubber floor might seem weird, but it’s more common than you might think. Rubber is commonly used in gyms and local playgrounds, but it’s quickly becoming a home flooring material for kitchens and bathrooms. The rubber usually comes from recycled tires, and it’s turned into small tiles that are easy to install.
Many colors can be added to rubber, but most flooring options have a wooden color and finish. This material is durable and resistant to spills and fires. It also feels very comfortable when you walk on it. The only potential downside is that it has a little give, which some people may not like.
If you are against using animals, then you won’t want a leather floor. Most of the leather used for floors comes from recycled sources. Any new leather comes from the center part of the cow, which provides thicker leather that is durable enough for floors.
Leather is durable, but it wears well when it gets old. Unlike most other materials that look terrible when they are scratched and worn, aged leather gives personality to a room.
This material is perfect for bedrooms and rooms with infrequent walking, but it’s terrible for bathrooms and other rooms with frequent moisture because it is prone to growing mold.
Deforestation is a major problem, but it won’t keep you from getting hardwood floors. There are still many eco-friendly options available to you if you know where to look. The two main options are reclaimed and salvaged wood.
Reclaimed wood comes from trees that were cut down decades ago. Salvaged wood comes from existing flooring in older houses. The only major difference between these two is that different designs will be available based on where the wood comes from. Salvaged wood is a little harder to customize, but you might be able to get a vintage or antique design.
FSC-certified wood is new hardwood, but the wood is sustainably harvested so that you don’t have to worry about the impact on the environment.
This is a fairly new material that is quickly becoming popular. It is made from agave leaves that have been crushed, soaked and then spun into yarn to create a rustic flooring option. This is a versatile material that can be used in nearly any room, but you might want to keep it out of bathrooms and kitchens. It won’t grow mold, but the moisture might cause the fibers to expand and contract.
Sisal comes in a variety of colors, and many homeowners appreciate its unique design.
If you want a tighter knit of sisal, then you might want to try sisool. This is a composite material made from sisal and wool. Since it uses wool, sisool is very flexible and soft, but the sisal ensures that the flooring is durable and resistant to scratches.
Many people consider sisool more comfortable and versatile than sisal, but it doesn’t look quite as unique. If comfort is your main concern, then sisool is better. If you want something that has a unique look, then stick with sisal.
Paper floors are very easy to make, but many homeowners avoid it because they think that the material is weak. This isn’t like printing paper or notebook paper. It’s a thicker material that closely resembles wood pulp in terms of strength and durability. Not only that, but most paper floors have various resins added into them to make them stronger.
Paper is easy to dye, and some types can even be used in the bathroom. Even if the material is resistant to water, it’s still a good idea to avoid standing water.
There are many different types of seagrass, which leads to a number of colors, textures and weaves. This material is usually harvested from paddy fields after they were flooded with seawater. The harvested material is then dried and spun into yarn.
Seagrass only comes in natural colors since it is hard to dye, but there are many natural colors due to the variety of grasses used. It is naturally a waxy material, which makes it resistant to stains and water damage. You can usually use this in bathrooms and moist areas, but ask a representative before doing this just to be on the safe side.
If you want a material that is durable and rustic looking, then coir is perfect. This comes from the hair on coconuts, which is dried and woven to make a type of carpet. Most coir floors are a light brown color, and the material does not work very well with dyes.
Coir shouldn’t be used in moist areas, but it’s great for rooms that have a lot of traffic. If you perform some light maintenance, then you can expect coir to last at least 30 to 50 years.
This material is similar to hemp, but it comes from jute plants that are dried and then turned into yarn. While it doesn’t look like it, jute is very soft and comfortable. This makes jute ideal for floors where comfort is essential. The softness of the yarn allows weavers to easily create a variety of designs.
Jute is often best for bedrooms due to its softness and durability. It shouldn’t be used in bathrooms, and you might want to avoid hallways since the high amount of traffic might wear the material sooner than expected.
Ceramic is made from clay, and it can be surprisingly modern and chic. For example, some manufacturers have found a way to give ceramic a wooden texture that looks amazing while being as eco-friendly as possible. Most ceramic floors are made from 80 percent or more recycled materials, which is even better for the environment.
It’s easy to dye ceramic, so a wide number of colors are available. Maintenance is also easy because very little work is involved.
Terrazzo is one of the most durable materials on this list because it’s made with a combination of concrete, marble and granite. Be careful when buying this material because it may or may not really be sustainable. Ensure that low-VOC sealers are used and that the main materials are from recycled sources.
This material can be used in any room because it resists water, stains, fires and it’s incredibly durable. The only downside is that it can feel uncomfortable after some time because it’s so tough.
Some carpets are made from renewable fibers that are easy to work with. For example, some renewable carpets are made from corn fibers. Much like conventional and wool carpets, these carpets are soft and easy to dye. They also resist stains and are easy to maintain because you can clean them with water.
If you do want a renewable carpet, then ensure that it is LEED certified because carpets without this certification might not be that environmentally friendly.
Local hardwood floors come from nearby trees. This isn’t quite as eco-friendly as recycled or reclaimed wood, but it does have some unique benefits. Since the trees are local, very little transportation is needed. Not only that, but local companies typically cut down fewer trees due to decreased demand.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to help the environment, but most people are worried about choosing an eco-friendly flooring material because they want floors that are durable and aesthetically pleasing. The good news is that these 20 materials are perfect for any home because they are durable, affordable and have unique designs that you are sure to love.