It isn’t just tree hugging hippies who are concerned about the environment and the impact building materials can have in and outside of the home. For those concerned about toxins, over consumption, landfills and air quality – making eco-friendly decisions begins with new home builds or at home renovations. Targeting the most frequented gathering place in the home – the kitchen is often a lofty undertaking for a home renovation and high priority for design in a newly designed house.
We have the top 5 environmentally conscious cabinet choices you can make at home that not only look good but will make you feel great about doing your part to save the planet.
1. Reclaimed Wood – One of the most sustainable options, sourcing reclaimed wood can offer personality and history to your kitchen cabinets that is arguably not possible any other way. Utilizing wood from abandoned old warehouse buildings, docks, barns or wherever else you are lucky to find some, allows for creative interpretations, manipulation and construction. A helpful hint, leave it to the professionals to sand down the old boards. Product standards have considerably changed over the decades and you could be dealing with some harmful chemicals/products depending on where it has been sourced.
2. Salvaged Wood – Different from reclaimed wood in that salvaged wood has yet to be broken down or used in the construction of anything. Ways in which you might source salvaged wood – fallen tree in a wooded area where you know the property owners or a tree removal company that removes dead or badly destroyed trees from their original origin. The potential to find unique trees that are in good condition to use is highly likely…without the guilt of destroying a perfectly healthy, growing tree.
3. Renewable Wood: Bamboo – Building with bamboo has many positives but the most important, its rapid regrowth which makes it an attractive alternative to deforestation of tropical rainforests and animal habitats all around the world. This natural product also creates a beautiful finish product with a wood grain that is unique and distinctive adding to the benefits of using bamboo. Don’t be concerned about durability either, bamboo products are extremely sturdy and strong – you are guaranteed many years of swooning over your new and elegant kitchen cabinets.
4. Biocomposite boards made from wheat, sorghum, rice or sunflowers – Research and development into using a variety of agriculture waste materials in substitute of traditional hardwoods to manufacture cabinets and other furniture has come up with some unique options. Utilizing wheat straw or sunflower hulls to make durable kitchen cabinets is a reality – and mother earth is likely singing some praises. If you are concerned about texture, look or durability don’t be. There is no stylized skimping with these new materials. Create some stir and a few questions as guests in your new kitchen try to decipher what materials you’ve utilized.
Helpful hint: biocomposite materials don’t have to end with the kitchen cabinets – you can create granite or speckled looking breakfast nook tables or dining room tables using sunflower hulls or other biocomposite materials.
5. Incorporating glass, open cupboard design or reinvent existing – For those renovating their kitchen to a more modern and upgraded look, a simple change in cupboard facing might be the trick instead of building all new cupboards. That’s some extra material to keep out of the landfill and some extra dollars to keep in your pocket. Sanding down your existing cupboards and doing a new stain finish, paint colour or lacquered option can drastically change the feel of your kitchen.
For new builds, or renovations where the current kitchen cabinets are not able to be salvaged. creative options like modern glass cabinet doors, or a true minimalists’ dream – shelving instead of hanging cabinets are some stylish alternatives to full wood kitchen cabinets. Certainly not options for everyone but unique ideas to play around with if trying to design or redesign a more eco-friendly space.
Doing your part to research and source materials that are eco-friendly creates demand in the market place for such alternatives. Big or small projects that can avoid any further damage to forests at home or across the ocean are a positive step in helping to save planet earth as well, lessen the impact on our landfills. Creativity and innovation might just bring you the best kitchen design you could have imagined…and the best part, its full of eco-friendly materials you can feel great about.