We live in a culture of immediate gratification. We are addicted to social media sites that allow us to view events in the lives of others as soon as the happen (and in some cases, before). Many of us prefer fast-food over a home-cooked meal. So it’s only natural for the same attitude to translate to the way we decorate our homes.
I’ve always coveted a modern, stainless steel fireplace. Not that traditional brick and stacked stone fireplaces aren’t beautiful. They’re just not me. So if and when I ever decide to get one, I’m happy to hear from the team over at Alternative Consumer that EcoSmart fireplaces now qualify for federal tax credits for energy efficiency. Any consumer in the U.S. who purchases (or has purchased) an EcoSmart fireplace between 1/1/2009 and 12/31/2010 can receive a tax credit of 30% of the purchase price up to $1500. Sounds like a win/win situation to me! You get a beautiful, energy-efficient, clean-burning fireplace, and you get a decent chunk of your money back. Learn more about the tax credit here, and be sure to remember that when you file your income taxes.
Spring is a rough season for me. In addition to the annual spring cleaning (which is actually the easy part), I get the unshakable desire to change everything around me. I want to strip the beds and replace the linens with something fresh and lively and slap a new coat of paint on the walls. But because our budget and our living situation don’t warrant any major changes, I have had to be creative about finding ways to refresh our space without spending much money. A simple solution: Find an inexpensive vase, or make one from an empty glass bottle, and add flowers.
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about simple ways to help my readers save money, and I started by thinking about the things we’ve implemented to save energy and other resources. One of the things we do is very simple. There are 2 light fixtures in the kitchen: a single-bulb fixture and a five-arm chandelier over the dining table.
We rarely, if ever, use the chandelier, because it takes a lot more electricity to power five chandelier bulbs than it takes to power one compact fluorescent lightbulb. So that got me thinking. Why not just replace the chandelier with a more modern, updated fixture that requires only one bulb, preferably a CFL?
As the green culture grows and becomes more desirable, more retailers and manufacturers are adding eco-friendly products to their offerings. However, there are a few companies that stand out from the crowd — some because they started with a green foundation, and others because they offer sustainable products with the same zest and prominence as their more traditional offerings. Here are my picks for the top 10 online retailers for eco-friendly home decor: