A fresh coat of paint, new curtains, and perhaps a throw rug or two can make all the difference in the look and feel of a room. If you are planning to redecorate and want to go green, there are several ways that you can both update your space and protect the environment.

Updating your living space with a fresh coat of paint is a quick and easy way to add new interest to your home. But with today’s concerns about the environment, the decision for updating with paint is no longer limited to color choice. Indoor air quality can play a big part in the heath and wellbeing of our family and pets. For those households with small children, pets, and anyone with allergies, choosing low or zero VOC paint is something easy and effective to help improve indoor air quality. Make sure to check the label to make sure that the paint you choose limits the toxins that paint normally puts into the air.

Another option to consider is using natural fiber wallpaper instead of paint. Phillip Jeffries Ltd. has a complete line of handmade natural fiber wall coverings that add a unique twist on the look and feel of your walls. These textured wall treatments are made from materials such as hemp, arrowroot-grass cloth, silk, and linen.

Include recycled or natural materials wherever possible. Bamboo fabric is now available in a variety of products including throw pillows, rugs, sheets, and curtains. Bamboo is a very fast growing grass and makes a silk-like fabric when woven. Abaca is another good choice of material for woven rugs.

Stop by your local flea market or used furniture shop. Used wooden tables, chairs, cabinets, and such are perfect for adapting to your color scheme. It is best to use a mask while sanding your new used furniture just in case there are toxins in the old varnish or paint. Once sanded, you can use a number of environmentally friendly paints, finishes, or stains to complete the project.

Change your light bulbs from incandescent to the more ecologically friendly compact fluorescent light bulbs. Although the fluorescent bulbs are more expensive to purchase, they will last 6 to 10 times longer than the average incandescent bulb and require less electricity to power.

Whichever room you are redoing, plants should have a prominent place. Incorporating plants into your home decor provides a natural way to purify the air by removing toxins and dust and adds some beneficial humidity. Studies conducted in hospitals have shown that plants can improve your mood. The patients who had the “garden view” improved quicker and were calmer than their counterparts who did not. Ferns, spider plants, and fichus are a few of the plants recognized for superior air purifying qualities.

Remember when planning your room makeover, whatever changes you make the most important consideration is that it fits your style and that you have fun doing it.