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Organic Elegance

Home Decorating with LUXURY ORGANICS

There’s simply no escaping it – from Hollywood to Holland Marsh, the latest trend for home decor is going green. Whether you’re styling a brand-new look for your home or weekend get-away, or just looking to up-date your space, organic simplicity is nouveau chic in home decor.

According to Vincent Gregoire, lifestyle department manager for NellyRodi, a Paris-based trend forecasting company, the major influence on design this year arises from a search for stability and authenticity. Consumers favour natural, eco-inspired furnishings. They’ll consider not only the price of an object, but where it comes from, how it was made, and whether it’s built to last – a quality which may explain, in part, the revived interest in heirloom and custom-built pieces. The pared-down look will be reflected in fabrics, furnishings and walls that feature “pure shades, and saturated colours.”

The popularity of environmentally sustainable products for the home also continues to grow this year. Lauren Millar, assistant brand manager for F.T. Ross Ltd., the Markham-based company that makes NatureClean, says her company has seen a sales increase of 30% each year for the past four years. Her company research has showed that 70 per cent of consumers will pay more for environmentally-friendly products. “People want products with less packaging and they don’t want to worry about whether they are using chemicals around their kids. In that sense, they want simple products.”

And, if you think that all eco-friendly products are tacky and overpriced, it’s time to look again. Elegant, sensuous, visually appealing, luxury organics finally have come of age. There are thousands of ways to incorporate their elegance into your home, and they needn’t be expensive.

Small changes make a big impression. If you’d like to add some accents to your home, reach for organic textiles which are easy to care for while embracing the spirit of environmentalism. Fabrics made of hemp, bamboo and organic cotton are soft, luxurious alternatives to man-made fibers. Think designer, and update some of your treasured older pieces with chic organic designer fabrics available in natural earthy colors like kiwi, cafe and spa.

Showcase throw rugs and window coverings made of natural fibers like organic cotton, bamboo, jute and sisal, while adding ambience to any space. When dressing your windows, look for natural reeds, bamboo, grass and other natural plant fibers free of chemicals, dyes or other harsh processing. You can DIY or have them custom-made.

Consider easy-care furniture made of renewable materials like bamboo and rattan, then add some small versatile pieces like bistro tables that work equally well inside and out. When buying new furniture, look for wood that has been FSC Certified, meaning the wood adheres to the FSC sustainability principles: forest, soil and indigenous species protection, restricted chemical use with limits of genetic engineering.

Be sure to incorporate live plants into your green decor. Bamboo Palm, Aloe Vera, Boston Fern and English Ivy are among the top ten plants that reduce indoor pollution as well as decreasing ‘sick building syndrome,’ according to recent NASA research.

Buying locally is a fantastic way to support your region while reducing your carbon footprint. For new home furnishings, check out Essere Organics, based in Oakville, Ontario. It offers a range of home accessories and furniture collections, and is dedicated to being eco-friendly. The craftsmanship of their furniture is superb, and they also offer a Gift Registry, and products for babies, bed and bath, home decor accessories, cleaning and personal care products.

DownBound is another independently-owned Ontario-based company that specializes in organic hemp and cotton products for every room in your home, as well as for outdoors. Check out their two-person hammock made entirely with organic hemp. And owner Adam Wilson guarantees “100% perfect customer service.”

Since most redecorating projects start with paint, it’s good to know that almost every major retailer now carries at least one line of zero-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) product. You can opt for Dutch Boy’s “Refresh” or Home Depot’s “Fresahaire Choice.”

Clean lines and vintage retro are the biggest furnishing style trends this year. Larger retailers like Lowe’s, with three new sites in the GTA, offer a wide range of high-quality natural products, while IKEA Canada specializes in clean lines and the use of organic textiles. Browsing small local antique boutiques is a sure way to meet new people, get to know your region, and you’re also sure to find some vintage treasure to enhance your new decor.

For refinishing projects, Green Products makes aMAIZEing – a bio-based paint stripper and solvent. Agalia makes plant-based paints that are 100% natural. American Clay natural interior plasters resist mold growth, do not out-gas and are available in twelve earth-inspired colors. Milk (Casein) Paint gives your walls the richly textured look of old plaster, and is completely natural.

When shopping for non-toxic paint, always look for the independent Green Guard Certification symbol. When you’re shopping for eco-friendly products in general, look for those that are Organic Certified – which means they meet international standards that forbid the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, antibiotics, artificial ingredients, genetic engineering, irradiation and sewage sludge. The Green Business Seal also indicates a company that meets internationally recognized ecological standards.


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