When Going Green is Classy
I’m all for doing my ecological part, but sometimes the Earthy- crunchy look is just not what I’m going for. While developing my recent post on having a green holiday, I got thinking . . . when can going green be classy? Following is a list of times, suggestions and situations where the green choice is definitely the classier choice.
1. Real china: Instead of paper plates for a dinner party, real dishes add not only an element of class, but require an initial one time purchase only. So not only do you have a more elegant looking table, you are saving money was well.
2. Stemware. Even the most inexpensive wine glasses are far more elegant than the plastic and Styrofoam varieties. Unless you break them, they don’t go into the landfill, and as with the china mentioned above, they only require the initial purchase with occasional replacement efforts. Not only does stemware fall clearly into the “re-use” category, you can find it at tag sales for around 25-50 cents a stem. Granted, you aren’t as likely to get a full service for twelve, but it is not unusual to find sets of two, four and six matching stems. A couple of different kinds of four stems each, and you’ve got a great mix and match system going. Recently, I found some fabulous stainless steel martini glasses at an overstock store. No worries about these getting broken!
3. Real flatware. It doesn’t necessarily have to be real silver. Just skip the plastic. It’s much classier, doesn’t get tossed in the trash, and again, only requires an initial up front purchase. This is another item you can pick up inexpensively at restaurant supply stores, yard sales, thrift stores and clearance shelves.
4. Fabric table linens. This is another item I touched on in the green holiday article. I think it needs to be included here however, because dinner parties are basically a year round event. Going with cloth, or even a flannel backed vinyl cloth for super casual outdoor events is a way to save money, go green, and re-use what you have. And, I may be old fashioned here, but I think having a vintage or jewel toned patterned cloth provides a smashing backdrop for even the humblest china service. Ditto for the family silver in a damask napkin. Even basic restaurant supply flatware wrapped in a bandana napkin can add style if you are going for a rustic themed casual dining buffet.
5. Home grown herbs and veggies. Using your own compost system to have fresh available herbs and veggies for soups, salad toppers and homemade pizzas is definitely a green strategy with major kitchen pizzazz.
6. Oh, it’s organic! You have to admit, in this society, green is rapidly turning into its own form of status symbol. Some items that’ll get attention and stimulate conversation at a party? Organic wines, coffees, chocolates, candles, soaps and more.
7. Hand made, recycled paper. Specialty stationary screams luxury. Try whipping up a batch of your own using a blender and a little imagination. Use it for invitations, greeting cards, party menus and more. When you’re done, compost it!
8. Candles. The bees wax variety in particular has (in my opinion) such a warm cozy glow and add elements of both the modern and historical. I love the rolled kind paired with reproduction antique advertising art prints in colonial colors.
9. Tablescapes and centerpieces. Whether you go with a simple display of river rocks and soy candles, a winter display of greenery, birch logs and holly berries, a dried autumn bouquet, or a vase of cut wild flowers, natural elements are dramatic, luxurious and compostable.
10. Loft style decorating. While I touched on the affordability and financially beneficial elements in The Loft Look for Lots Less, I think it’s important to revisit this design choice for the green benefits as well. Salvage pieces and recycled building materials work great with this look, and are definitely Earth friendly in nature.
11. Gift giving. There are some really fabulous green gift giving ideas out there, both retail and DIY in nature. Incorporating green consciousness into your gifting choices, even the most frugal ones, demonstrates an extra level of thoughtfulness both for the recipient and the gift’s creator. I’m actually working on a green gifts post. Look for it in the coming months.
12. Fireplace inserts. Biomass products and alternative fuels enable homeowners and innkeepers alike to incorporate a fireplace element in rooms where it might otherwise not be possible. I think most people would agree a fireplace adds such a feeling of decadence, comfort, mood and style to any room or event.
13. Solariums, sun rooms and conservatories. These things scream class. Bonus issues? Passive solar heating, an easy spot to grow your own herbs and flowers year round, and a place to fully enjoy the natural world outside are included in your purchase.
Well, there you are. My contribution to the world of living green with style. I would LOVE to know of any other great resources out there, and have a few ideas for book reviews on the subject. Please post away, as usual.