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Check out our useful hints and tips articles to help you get the best out of your home interiors projects.

Make your home more eco-friendly

Łagiewniki Forest in autumn. Photograph by Zorro2212

Making your home environmentally friendly might have once sounded like a chore, but by changing just a few things in your home you can really make a difference.

As well as helping the world we live in, making your home more environmentally friendly can also help you save money on your energy bills. Here are a few ideas that can help you save the environment and some money whilst you decorate your home.

Source sustainable materials

The secret to making your home more eco-friendly is making sure the materials you use are from the most sustainable sources possible.

The big DIY retailers like B&Q and Homebase are making this easier to achieve by stocking more products from natural sources.

For example, try and choose wooden door frames rather than those made from UPVC, which is a material made from toxic compounds that can pollute the environment. Whilst sustainable products may be more expensive at first, they will often last longer and be easier to repair.

Also try and choose water-based paints rather than oil-based paints that can use up a lot of natural resources to produce.

Invest in smarter heating

One of the biggest ways to save on your energy bills is to sort out your home's heating.

Whilst you might think all radiators are just the same, there have been some big improvements in their design over the last few years that can help you save on energy wastage.

For example, Verismart Heating has produced a range of different radiators with ceramic cores that continue to warm the room long after the radiator stops drawing power. As well as being energy efficient, they have a wide range of different designs that will improve the look of any room.

Once you've got the heating sorted, make sure the warmth stays in your home by ensuring that your home is well insulated. Most of your home's heat escapes through the ceiling, so by insulating your loft you can save up to £240 every year on your heating bill.

Pick up some preloved furniture bargains

When it comes to filling your home, one of the biggest trends in home design at the moment is to buy second-hand furniture rather than brand new.

Over the last few decades, much of the furniture on sale in the big retailers has been made out of cheap laminated boards rather than real wood. Although they might seem like a good deal at the time, they can easily be damaged and most pieces will end up filling council skips in just a few years.

Now more and more people are picking up second-hand furniture for a similar price at charity and vintage stores rather than the big high-street retailers and supermarkets. Most of these pieces are made out of real wood and built to a better quality, meaning that they can last in your home for at least another decade or two, and probably much longer.

Although such furniture might have a few scuffs and scratches, being made out of real wood provides unique clues to its past and really fits the popular industrial trend at the moment.

Small changes can have a big impact

Once you've designed your eco home then there are a few things to do to make sure it continues to be eco. Swap your light bulbs for more energy-efficient ones, add thicker curtains to your windows to trap the heat, and install water-saving gadgets to your toilets, taps and showers.

Whatever you do, a small change can make a big difference to your environment and your bank account.

Photo credit: Zorro2212

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