A big part of designing an eco-friendly space is about being faithful to the old adage: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. But does this mean you have to know how to build a kitchen table using scrap wood from the local lumber yard? Certainly not. (Although if you’ve got the talent for that–swoon!) And let’s face it, the reclaimed look isn’t for everyone.

Don’t worry if the rustic chic look isn’t your thing. These days, you don’t have to sacrifice personal style for the sake of sustainability. With a little bit of effort and research, you can choose the right resources for your home and use them wisely to create an eco-friendly space that you’ll love to spend time in.

Eco-Friendly Eye Candy: Recycled Glass

If you’re looking to design an eco-friendly kitchen, recycled glass is a great place to start. Recycled glass tiles are a nice choice for a kitchen backsplash, especially if you’re looking to reduce your renovation’s carbon footprint. It can also be used to dramatic effect–check out the incredible kitchen below from Southam Design, with its custom glass island bridge and backsplash that changes colors using LED strip lighting. And for countertops, look no further than Brooklyn’s own IceStone, a company that brings new meaning to the word green. Every aspect of the business is devoted to environmental and social consciousness, and their vibrant countertops are made from cement and 100% recycled glass.


source: IceStone | photo credit: Tyler Chartier


source: Vetrazzo

Wood Alternatives: Bamboo and Cork

When it comes to choosing materials, bamboo is the classic green choice. Not only is it a fast-growing, self-renewing resource, but it’s also beautiful, water resistant, and easy to maintain. Bamboo hardwood floors are gaining popularity in kitchen design, particularly because of their classy look and reliable durability.

Cork is a material that might bring wine stoppers to mind, but it’s actually a multipurpose workhorse that you can use in many parts of your home. (Just have a look at Corkway’s products–you’ve never seen cork like this!) This material is buoyant, elastic, and super water resistant, and since its extraction doesn’t harm trees, it’s a favorite for the eco-conscious, ethical home owner.


source: Gardner Mohr Architects LLC | photo credit: Jim Tetro

A Rustic Touch: Reclaimed Wood

But back to those wood tables…If you’re handy with the rotary sander, this might be a great time to try your hand at using reclaimed wood. It’s not as hard as you’d expect; hey, Apartment Therapy’s even got DIY instructions online! Or you can leave it to the pros, and their sublime artistry and skill. Fallen Industry, Miles & May, Nightwood, and Urban Wood Goods are just a few of our favorites. Browse their sites for some truly impressive one-of-a-kind pieces, or look below for more inspiration.


source: Christopher C. Deam, via Dwell | photo credit: Dustin Askland


source: This Old House | photo credit: Eric Roth


source: Postcard from Paris | photo credit: Laurey W. Glenn


source: On Site Management, Inc. | photo credit: Audrey Hall


source: Jane Kim Design | photo credit: Alan Tansey