Design on a Dime's Kahi Lee Talks Eco-Friendly Design & Recycling Tips

Photo by HGTV
Eco-friendly design doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Heck, these days my design budget consists of the loose change I can scrounge in my couch cushions!

Luckily, sometimes what you already have around the house can be repurposed to decorate your home. In celebration of Earth Day, Kahi Lee, green expert and member of HGTV's Design on a Dime design team, is here to share her eco-friendly, budget-friendly design tips.


Q: Kahi, what's the number one eco-friendly bathroom design tip (on a dime)?

A: Ever wonder what to do with your wire hangers you receive from the dry cleaner? One idea I love is to create a vintage-looking wire basket out of them. They sell these in many high-end home stores, but now you can create one at home easily with leftover hangers. Weave the wires together and use it to store bathroom supplies.

Q: How about an eco-friendly kitchen design tip (on a dime)?

A: You spend a lot of time in your kitchen, often at night or in the early morning hours when you need light. To save money and reduce your household energy you use, make sure you have the right lighting installed. Install motion sensors that automatically turn lights on and off as you enter or leave the room, or invest in the more costly LED lighting.

Q: And an eco-friendly bedroom design tip (on a dime)?

A: Sew your own bedding and pillows. Reuse stuffing and purchase new fabrics for new, affordable bedroom accents like pillows or even bedding! Many communities offer sewing classes. It's a good skill to learn and a fun experience to do with friends and family.

Q: What's an eco-friendly kids' room design tip (on a dime)?

A: Now that it's time for spring cleaning, don't just toss your old, scratched CDs or DVDs into the trash. Either recycle them or do a fun project with your kids. Turn your old CDs / DVDs into a sun catcher. Adorn the shiny side of the CD with jewels or paint and hang them in your child's bedroom or playroom for decoration.

Q: How about an eco-friendly design tip (on a dime) for the living room?

A: Refurbish old furniture. Your great aunt's old coffee table may not be the most fashionable style, so why not change it? You can repurpose almost any type of furniture with a little sandpaper, primer and paint. It's so easy. Just make sure you choose an eco-friendly paint and you're good to go!

Q: What are three unique household items that can be recycled/repurposed at home?

A: Pet Food Cans

It's estimated that less than 20 percent of aluminum pet food cans are recycled each year, compared to 54 percent of aluminum beverage cans. You can recycle your pet food cans (one 3 oz Fancy Feast or Friskies aluminum can saves enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for over two hours). In fact, pet owners can visit Together We Can Recycle until May 30 to pledge to recycle their aluminum pet food cans. For every pledge received, $1 will be donated to Keep America Beautiful. Who wouldn't want to do that?

Cereal Boxes

Organize your home office clutter by turning old cereal boxes into attractive magazine or paper holders. Cut off top of cereal box. Halfway across the top of the box, cut at a 45 degree angle down to front of your magazine holder. Lightly sandpaper the outside of the box and paint or upholster the box to match your interior décor.

Wine Corks

Not only can you recycle your wine bottles, but also your wine corks. You can turn them into art. You can paint the corks, or leave them in their natural state and simply glue them to a thick piece of paper. From there, you can get the paper framed and your corks will be preserved behind glass forever. Or you can even create place settings with guest names on the corks for special events and dinner parties.

Now that Kahi has shared her ideas, it's your turn!

What's your best eco-friendly design on a dime tip?

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