5 ways to help make your home more energy efficient

green leaf with save energy sticker for 5 ways to help your home be more energy efficient blog

green leaf with save energy sticker

Whilst we love getting cosy with the best of them, the closer we get to the colder months of the year when the nights are longer and we spend more times inside our homes, we can’t help but worry about the amount of energy in the home we’re going to be using. With even higher energy bills predicted to come, it’s wise to start looking now at how we can make our bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms more energy efficient to save power and money. Here, we offer some tips and tricks to improving the energy efficiency in your home.

1. Start with the heating

Turning the heating on this winter may be scary for many people, but higher bills doesn’t mean turning off the heating altogether. Simply dialing down the thermostat by just one or two degrees equals an instant reduction in your fuel bill. The Energy Saving Trust believes you could see a 10% saving for every degree you turn down. A smart thermostat, controlled through a phone app, is a great way to help energy efficiency as you can adjust it to only heat the rooms being used.

If it’s not feasible to turn down the heating, consider investing in thermal curtains to retain heat, and for the ultimate in cosiness, keep warm blankets in a wooden blanket box in the living room for an extra layer of warmth whilst sat on the sofa on colder nights. Try making your home as heat-retentive as possible in other ways. For example, choosing environmentally sustainable reclaimed wood furniture or a large solid rustic sideboard to help plug gaps in floorboards and keep drafts out could help keep a room warm.

Thick rugs or carpets are also a great way to help retain heat in a room, and the addition of a stylish industrial coffee table as well as a large rug will instantly elevate the look of the room, as well as the warmth.

brown leather chesterfield sofa with rustic coffee table and blue rug

2. Switch to LED light bulbs

With nights getting longer, we are going to be switching on the lights earlier. Nobody wants to spend the winter sitting in the dark, so consider swapping to LED bulbs, which are more efficient and long-lasting than the old-style incandescent bulbs or the newer fluorescent bulbs. They are easy to fit, don’t need replacing very often and can be used as spotlights or in dimmable lamps. Replace the bulbs in your table lamps on your wooden display cabinet or rustic sideboard for instant, money-saving impact.

industrial sideboard with two cupboards and four drawers

3. Switch off!

It may sound obvious, but get into the habit of turning off lights and appliances that aren’t in use. TV’s, game consoles and computers or laptops all use energy even when in sleep mode, so try to remember to shut down and switch off!

girl turning off light switch for 5 ways to help make your home energy efficient

4. Insulate, insulate, insulate

Any heat-saving measures will be lost if you don’t take steps to insulate as much of your home as possible. Start with the loft and cavity walls. Whatever the age of your house, any original insulation material may well have deteriorated, so have an insulation specialist check yours out. Proper insulation can help to reduce your home’s carbon emissions as well as save money on your energy bills. Check here to see if you qualify for a home insulation grant from the government.

Other insulation best practices is to look around all the windows and doors and fill any gaps where possible using a caulk seal or for larger gaps, expanding foam may be a better choice. A simple way to plug under-door gaps is by using a draft excluder, whilst double-glazed or triple-glazed windows will trap more heat inside the home than single-glazed windows and could save you around £175 per year.

person insulation a loft for 5 ways to help make your home energy efficient

5. Consider a new boiler

A new boiler may be expensive depending on the size of your home, but it will be a good investment as you could save around £300 per year on heating and hot water with an A-rated boiler. Swapping your old appliances for new A+ rated one will help save money in the long run.

We hope all these tips will help you save some energy and keep your home cosy and warm as we head into the cooler months. For more handy tips and home interior ideas, sign-up for our weekly newsletter below.

6 tips to help you create a more eco-friendly bedroom

6 tips to help you create a more eco friendly bedroom

white bed with hanging green plants

We all want to try and make eco-friendly choices in our day-to-day living, from the household goods we buy, what car we drive and where our groceries come from, but with climate change a real problem, we want to take this further and instill more eco-friendly elements into every aspect of our lives, including the home we live in. With this in mind, looking long-term, we really should be moving away from our easy come easy go, throw-away society. Purchasing new rustic furniture for your home should be a long-term investment rather than a quick swap and quality furniture with heaps of character that will stand the test of time is a great environmentally-friendly choice.

In this blog, we look at how you can create an eco-friendly bedroom – so you can rest and relax with a completely clear conscience.

1. Choose reclaimed wood furniture

We know we would say that, but it’s true! Sustainable furniture is a great way to get the eco-ball rolling. There are so many options now, from a reclaimed solid wood bed frame to mango wood furniture. One of our top bedroom furniture picks is the British made Beam collection, handcrafted from reclaimed wood right here in the UK – it’s hugely popular with our eco-conscious customers. 

dark bedroom with mango wood chest of drawers

2. Embrace eco paints

Opting for eco-friendly paints in the bedroom is also a great swap you can make. Many paints contain toxins that you really don’t want in your bedroom anyway, so choose low, or no, VOC paints. These are very readily available now from companies like Earthborn, Little Greene Paint Company and Cornish Milk Mineral Paint Co to name just a few. Another bonus is that using these paints is good for the planet as they are also produced with as little impact on the environment as possible.

small paint pots with blue paint and brush

3. Toxin-Free bedding and mattress

Did you know fabrics and mattresses can contain all sorts of toxins? To avoid falling into the toxin-trap, look for organic and fairtrade cotton bed linen which is sustainable and ethically made. There is also a vast choice of eco-friendly options when it comes to which mattress you choose, from a hemp, bamboo or cotton mattress to curl up on. We spend around 33 years of our lives sleeping so it’s important to make the right choice, right?

4. Electrics

For a better night’s sleep, many of us are aware of the benefits of keeping electrics in the bedroom to a minimum, especially phones and TVs. But if you prefer to keep them nearby, we can at least think sensibly and reduce the environmental impact they have by not leaving the TV on standby and unplugging any phone chargers when not in use. It’s also a good idea to switch to energy-saving bulbs as well, not only for the environment but you’ll be doing your pockets a big favour too.

5. Eco-friendly window dressings

Look online for companies that offer eco-friendly window blinds like Greenscreen Sea Tex who actually collect rubbish that washes up on the shoreline and turn it into stylish blinds. As with bedding textiles, look for organic curtains made from cotton, linen and hemp.

sheer curtain with shadow of plant for 6 tips to help you create an eco friendly bedroom

6. Bring in plants

We are great believers in having houseplants in every room!! So you should definitely have some in the bedroom – not only are they good for the air but they will lift your spirits too. Studies have shown that house plants can reduce depression, improve your mood and reduce stress levels. Place one on your nightstand so it’s one of the first things you see in the morning….much better for you than a mobile phone!

Share your ideas

Will you be using any of these eco tips in your bedroom? Share your ideas in the comment box below or join the conversation @modishliving.

Our top 5 reclaimed wood furniture picks

close up of reclaimed wood dining table

With tonnes of character, warmth and not forgetting the eco-friendly benefits, reclaimed wood furniture is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s not just used to make the classic farmhouse dining table anymore. FSC certified salvaged wood is used to make the most gorgeous and striking pieces of furniture that will blend into any style of home be it modern, minimalist or retro. Being solid wood and hand-finished these are investment pieces that you will want to keep in your home for many years to come.

Most of our best-selling pieces are those crafted from reclaimed and repurposed wood. Here, we’ve pulled together our top 5 favourite collections to tempt you….

1. The Standford Collection

industrial dining table with matching wooden dining bench

This top pick of our customers combines reclaimed wood with industrial style for a timeless collection of classic industrial furniture. You can transform any room in a home and give it a modern industrial or rustic look with this best-selling range. Whether you’re looking to introduce a few industrial elements or to turn and entire room over to this loft-living style, the Stanford collection has something for the bedroom, living room, dining room and hallway.

What we love most: the nail holes and marks of its previous use clearly visible in the wood, along with the distressed finish to the black steel legs.

2. The Farringdon Collection

reclaimed wood dining table with matching wooden dining bench

Forever popular, this really is one for the modern country home. The Farringdon collection has everything a space desires, from a sturdy extendable table to a rustic TV stand. Crafted from wood salvaged from old factories which is then crafted into glorious everyday pieces of furniture, the variations in wood colour, the natural undulations give a glimpse into the history of the wood, ensuring each and every item is genuinely unique and one-of-a-kind.

What we love most: the light lacquer finish that adds a contemporary grey hue to the wood.

3. The Dorset Collection

white reclaimed wood dining table with wooden sideboard

Reclaimed wood furniture doesn’t have to be all about dark wood as the Dorset shows us. Still crafted out of 100% solid reclaimed wood, this collection is part finished in distressed white paint to bring a light and airy feel to each piece. For the dining space there is a range of dining tables, including the popular trestle style table, solid wood sideboards as well as a complete range of living room furniture, helping you to bring in reclaimed furniture without it dominating the whole room.

What we love most: the distressed white finish and natural imperfections ensure the wood gets better with age.

4. The Luxe Kensington collection

reclaimed wood dining table with grey velvet dining chairs

This exquisite furniture collection combines rustic reclaimed wood with industrial, but this time the industrial features are in polished stainless steel that elevates the collection to something far more glamorous. The Kensington sideboard, for example, would catch the eye of anyone who walks into your dining room or living room, whilst the best-selling reclaimed wood dining table with protective glass top makes this diva of a dining table suitable in a family home as well as a minimalist contemporary space.

What we love the most: the rustic finish of the wood is achieved by first sandblasting then cleaning old reclaimed railway sleepers – how cool is that?

5. The Beam collection

solid wood bed with reclaimed wood bedside table

When it comes to beautiful bedroom furniture then the Beam collection definitely deserves a mention. A solid wood bed is a firm favourite in the bedroom, and if you’re choosing a forever bed, the Beam collection is handcrafted to last for years and years. Expertly made from solid reclaimed beams, Beam is made to order guaranteeing you are buying an authentically unique piece of furniture and not an off-the-peg item. With bedside tables and a wooden chest of drawers you can furnish your bedroom using sustainable furniture and in the knowledge that it will last a lifetime. The collection also includes a range of industrial dining tables and wooden benches, along with a collection of solid wood living furniture, such as wooden sideboard and rustic TV stand.

What we love the most: it’s made right here in the UK and is made to order.

Find out more about reclaimed wood and why it’s the eco-friendly, not to mention stylish, choice or visit Modish Living to shop our favourites.

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What is sustainable wood and why is it important?

wooden logs for what is sustainable wood and why is it important blog

We constantly hear the terms eco-friendly, environmentally friendly, recycled and sustainable when it comes to home interiors, but you’re not alone if you’re not clear what makes wood sustainable? Here, we look at everything you need to know about sustainable timber.

For many hundreds of years when people wanted to build something, they would go into the forest or woods and chop down the trees they needed for the job. Of course, after 1000’s of years of people just helping themselves and with the huge increases in population across the world, the forested areas were starting to get a bit sparse. After the first world war, the forested areas in the UK was at an all-time low and so the Forestry Commission was formed to replant and manage forest areas in the UK.

close up of logs of wood

What actually is sustainable wood?

Sustainable wood is timber that can be used for building, furniture production etc. without having a detrimental effect on the environment. It generally comes from a renewable source where trees can be felled and replanted with little knock-on effect to local wildlife, eco-systems and the environment in general. The felling of trees is responsibly managed by organisations whose main concern is the long term well-being of the environment.

Why buy sustainable wood?

It makes perfect sense to buy wood from a sustainable source as opposed to other sources. Sadly, still much of the wood sold around the world is not from a sustainable source, even in Europe. The impact of deforestation, even rain forests 1,000’s of miles away, affects us all. There is a human element to deforestation too – tribes people are forced out of their homes and local farmers are often subject to exploitation if the felling of trees is not regulated correctly. All of these reasons point to why sourcing sustainable wood for our rustic furniture is the responsible choice.

reclaimed wooden bed frame with pink covers

Types of sustainable wood

There are many types of sustainable wood you can choose from – mango wood is a fast-growing hardwood that is a by-product of mango farms, so this is ideal to produce sustainable furniture from. Other materials, such as, rattan, Douglas fir, certified oak and ashwood are also sustainable. Of course, the best wood to use is reclaimed wood – this can be used to craft the most gorgeous reclaimed furniture such as a full of character farmhouse table, a sturdy and solid wood bed frame or a decorative rustic sideboard.

How can you identify sustainable wood?

rustic sideboard with mosaic pattern

You can easily check if unprocessed timber or a piece of reclaimed wood furniture is crafted from a sustainable source by looking out for the internationally recognised FSC certification.

Which woods should be avoided?

When it comes to choosing wood furniture or timber for construction then there are some woods that should be avoided….unless of course, you are satisfied it has the correct FSC certification. These include teak in general, Mahogany, Ebony and Sapelee. Many of these tree species are endangered and frequently felled and exported illegally even though they are vital to the people, the wildlife and ecosystems that surround them.

If you want some ideas on how to furnish your home in a sustainable way, we’ve created some top tips, or read our blog on creating an eco-friendly interior design.

Top tips to furnish your home in a sustainable way

reclaimed wood dining table with rattan dining chairs

We are constantly hearing the term “sustainably sourced” or “sustainably produced”, but what does it actually mean and how can we ensure that the rustic furniture we put in our homes meet the sustainable criteria?

Anything that is described as “sustainable” is basically eco-friendly, for example, it has been sourced and produced in an environmentally friendly way. This will mean that the seller or the producer will have minimised any environmental impact before selling to the end-user. When items are described as sustainable you know that the way the item has been produced, the raw materials used and transportation have all been done in as friendly a way to the environment as possible. Rattan is a prime example of a sustainable raw material – it is a vine tree that grows fast, much faster than wood, it needs very little processing and at the end of its life, it is biodegradable. Other materials include reclaimed wood furniture and mango wood furniture. Let’s find out more….

reclaimed wood dining table with rattan dining chairs

Reclaimed wood furniture

We all know what reclaimed furniture is these days – the wood used to produce a reclaimed wood dining table, for instance, will have been salvaged and skillfully repurposed after already “living” one life as part of a building, boat or as a railway sleeper. This solid and strong old wood is full of character so it goes on to become a beautiful piece of furniture. If you are looking to invest in a new rustic dining table, choose considerately and opt for a reclaimed wood one.

white painted reclaimed wood dining table with wooden dining chairs

Mango wood furniture

Mango wood is the perfect wood from which to produce sustainable furniture. Mango wood is actually a by-product of mango farms, mango trees grow very quickly and once they grow too tall or too old to produce a full harvest they are felled and a new tree planted in its place – it’s at this point the wood can be sold to furniture manufacturers for a new life. Although it grows quickly, mango wood is a hardwood which means it can go on to be crafted into long-lasting quality furniture. 

mango wood dining table with grey velvet dining chairs

Investment pieces

A sofa is a prime example of a piece of furniture you invest in. You should only really need to buy a sofa every 5 to 10 years, the average age a sofa starts to sag and lose its comfort is considered to be around seven years. When it comes to buying a sofa, be it a fabric sofa or leather couch quality matters, buying a poor quality sofa will be a false economy, not to mention worse for the environment. To ensure it blends in with new decor schemes over time, pick a classic shape and refresh it with modern throws and cushions. A good sofa can also be re-covered or re-upholstered if it does need a revamp after time.

Reuse furniture

We are trying to stop furniture from being used for a short while and then being disposed of in landfill sites. If you are having a change around and reorganising your home then try to reuse furniture items in other parts of your home, garden shed or garage. An old wooden dining table can be used as a desk in a home office, old shelving can be used for storage in the garage, a wooden sideboard you once used in the living room can be moved to the dining room, a hallway or even a bedroom. If you really can’t use it then try to sell it or give it away – all these options are better than simply disposing of old furniture.

Top tips to create an eco-friendly interior design

Top tips to create an eco-friendly interior design

modern living room with wooden tv stand and large green plant

Many of us will have welcomed the new year with a reassessment of our impact on the planet. The pandemic and pressing climate change focus has encouraged us to look at our homes and interior design from a different perspective. If you’re planning any renovation projects this year, take a quick look at our tips on ways you can create an eco-friendly home and space that benefits your life and the environment.

Reuse what you can

Now that we are all so much more aware of the climate issues, we are looking at our living spaces and looking for ways to live more sustainably. One easy change to making your home more eco-friendly is to avoid throwing old furniture pieces out when you can give it a stamp of individuality and a new lease of life by upcycling. That old rustic wardrobe can be brightly painted and used in a child’s bedroom or even in the garage for storage! Reusing and repurposing what you can, when you can will help create less waste and energy. If you want to buy new items, invest in good quality pieces that will last or look for reclaimed wood furniture, such as a reclaimed dining table, that has been crafted from wood previously used for other purposes.

energy efficiency table for top tips to create an eco-friendly interior design

Be energy efficient

Talking of less energy, if you are replacing your fridge freezer, oven or washer/dryer in the January sales, then pay special attention to its energy consumption. Yes, the more energy-efficient appliances do cost a little more upfront but with energy prices showing no signs of decreasing anytime soon, you will get this money back many times over in ongoing usage costs, not to mention the wider benefit to the environment.

green plants surrounding wooden trestle table for top tips of how to create an eco-friendly interior design blog

Introduce plenty of greenery

Leave some space in your renovation plans for plants and greenery. During the lockdowns we all realised how much we need to connect with nature so make sure you can bring a little (or a lot) of it into your homes where you can. Plants are good for your mental wellbeing as well as simply looking good in the room. Do some research and pick easy to care for varieties to start with. Industrial wall shelves can be softened by displaying some greenery on them, you can put a house plant on an industrial sideboard in your dining room or on a rustic console table in the hallway to bring a sense of the outdoors into the home.

mango wood coffee table with dark brown leather sofa

Natural materials

Think about filling your room with natural materials – a rug made out of jute, a stone floor or a leather couch – look out for the words eco and sustainable when shopping around for accessories or furniture. Mango wood furniture is completely sustainable; it’s a solid hardwood that is easy to work with and has a lovely rich honey colour and features stunning wood grain patterning. Find out more about mango wood and why its the sustainable furniture of choice here.

Get smart

Try to use smart technology where possible to help you run your home in a more eco-efficient way as well as save you money on your household bills. Things like intuitive heating systems, smart strips and power adaptors which stop electricity travelling to idle appliances or chargers, automated lighting and smart irrigating systems for the garden.

If this has inspired you to make some eco-friendly changes in your home see our other blogs for more tips and ideas…

Create an interior that’s good for you and the planet

3 reasons why reclaimed wood is the eco-friendly choice

Simple ways to reduce plastic in the home