We checked in with Samantha Pynn, host of HGTV's "Pure Design", to find out about how to look for eco-friendly products, the Canadian retailers who sell them and the best ways to incorporate them into your home's decor.
CanadianLiving.com: What do you look for when doing some eco-friendly shopping?
Samantha Pynn: It depends on what you're in the market for. I love shopping secondhand, and when I'm doing so I look for pieces that have great lines, and are well made. I usually modify secondhand pieces with new upholstery, a coat of paint and/or new hardware. If I'm buying something new, I look for items that are made locally, or items that are shipped in a responsible way. And of course, I look for products that are made without harmful chemicals, with sustainable resources and that are well crafted, so they last a long time.
CL.com: Why is eco-friendly decor so important to you?
SP: I think it's important that we fill our homes with products that not only consider the Earth's resources and the health of people manufacturing the product, but also improve our indoor air quality. It's comforting to know that you won't get a headache, skin rashes or allergies from chemicals that have been used to finish furniture or fabrics.
CL.com: What are some of your favourite Canadian retailers that sell environmentally responsible products?
SP: Dean at Lamp Cage in Toronto sells the most exquisite light fixtures made from recycled scrap metal. There is a mattress company called Keetsa, which packs a queen-size mattress into a 1 1/2- by 3-foot box, which makes it easy to transport. Plus, their mattresses are covered in certified organic cotton, filled with naturally fire-retardant certified organic wool and treated with cedar oil and green tea extract, which repels dust mites and inhibits bacteria growth.
In Flame Fireplaces in Toronto's Liberty Village sell inserts that are genius and ideal for anyone who has a non-working or faux fireplace. The faux logs use ethanol gel canisters, which burn cleanly and give off plenty of heat.
Last, Homestead House Paints is a Canadian paint company that produces milk paint - a type of paint that has been around for 250 years. Many antiques were painted with milk paint and still have the same finish in great condition. The paint is naturally organic, and is made from milk, clay and limestone, with the pigment tinted using ingredients such as berries and coal. It comes in 50 different colours, but they can custom tint paint to match any colour.
CL.com: Is it more expensive to furnish your home with eco-friendly products?
SP: That's a tough question to answer. If you are looking for a quick and cheap fix, you can find that on the market, but chances are it won't last long. If you want furniture that is classic, that will last a long time, then you need to invest, particularly for a brand-new piece. On the other hand, secondhand furniture costs less than new pieces, and is usually very good quality. Sometimes you have to invest in having a piece reupholstered, or painted, but sometimes you get lucky and it's perfect just the way you found it.
Check out 10 amazing eco-friendly decor items we love.
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Natalie Bahadur is the Senior Editor of styleathome.com and is a regular contributor to CanadianLiving.com