4 Sustainable Decorating Ideas for Your Philly Home


You want your home in Philadelphia to look fantastic. But, you’re also concerned about the environment and about reducing your carbon footprint. Sustainable decorating helps you spruce up your home while being kind to the planet.


Let’s face it, generally speaking, the home decorating and design industry isn’t the most eco-friendly or sustainable. Paint and carpeting are known for having high levels of volatile organic compounds, decorative objects are often made in less than sustainable ways, and the culture of buy, buy, buy isn’t sustainable for the planet or your wallet. But, there are several sustainable decorating options for your home in Philadelphia. Whether you bring home a self-sustaining terrarium or get creative when it comes to reuse, you can add style to your space without hurting the planet.

Thrifted Art

One sustainable decorating idea for your home is to pick up a piece of art from your local thrift store. Not only are you giving an old item new life, you’re also reducing the chance that you’ll have the same print or poster as all of your neighbors or friends. Thrift stores in Philly, such as Retrospect Vintage on South Street, are teeming with works of art, from old oil paintings to vintage stitch samplers.


Back in the Victorian era, terrariums were all the rage. They’re seeing a resurgence now, too, as an easy, self-sustaining way to bring a bit of green to your home. Terrariums replicate the water cycle on a small scale and when they are closed (or sealed), they almost never need to be watered by you. You can find a lot of tutorials for making your own terrarium online, or, if you want a social experience, sign up for a class in Philadelphia. Places such as Fleisher Art Memorial and Urban Jungle offer terrarium making workshops on a regular basis.

Vintage Finds

There’s pretty much no need to buy new decorative items when there are so many existing, vintage pieces in great condition. Whether you’re looking for a space-age mirror, Eames-inspired clock, or decorative vase, the Midcentury Furniture Warehouse can be a great place to find them. The warehouse is open to the public two Sundays a month and is known for its extensive selection of not only mid-century decorative items, but also furniture.

Open sporadically throughout the year, the Franklin Flea is another place to score vintage decorations for your home. Sellers at the Flea offer everything from vintage home goods and luggage to reclaimed craft items.

Creative Reuse

Creatively reusing items is similar to using vintage items for sustainable decorating, but with a twist. Instead of using an old item the way it was intended, such as a mid-century vase as a vase, you use an older item in a new way, to give it a second chance at life. An example might be cutting an old sheet set into a set of cafe curtains for your kitchen window or transforming a wood pallet into a vertical planter or coffee table. Empty jam or jelly jars can be turned into tea light or votive holders; old band T-shirts can be cut up and sewn into a blanket or quilt; and empty beer bottles can turn into vases for single flower stem.

Finding ways to reuse items and to mix up what you’ve got season after season is also a big part of sustainable decorating. You’re reducing your footprint when you reduce the number of new things that go into your home and the number of things that come out of it.


Subscribe to Blue Matter and get the latest updates

Leave a Reply