Eco friendly bathrooms are a current design trend, which is fantastic from the point of view of sustainability – as well as design!

A bright bathroom with various rustic decor items.These days, a modern eco friendly bathroom is about so much more than just the tiles and fixtures you choose.

It’s about going beyond the materials and bringing a mindset of sustainability into every aspect of the space. From the products you use to wash and brush, to the towel you dry off with, an eco bathroom is about making conscious choices at every step.

Quite often when you come across a blog post or article about eco friendly bathrooms they’re either from the design standpoint or from the products and lifestyle side of things. 

But this post contains eco friendly bathroom ideas from the moment you start to build or renovate, how to decorate sustainably, and includes all things you can do  daily to make your bathroom time a whole lot greener.

So what are we waiting for? Let’s get started!

A big thank you to BareLuxe for sponsoring this post. Please know that I strive to only feature companies and brands that value sustainability as much as I do. Note that Of Houses and Trees also contains affiliate links, meaning if you click on a link and make a purchase a small percentage of the sale goes to yours truly. Thank you for your support!

Create an Eco Friendly Bathroom Design

Whether building a new home, or just upgrading your existing one, an eco bathroom starts with its bones. Meaning its flooring, paint, fixtures and more. Start at the beginning and work your way through the design process making conscious choices at every stage. Like recycled tile, no-VOC paint and – my favourite – reclaimed materials.

Use recycled tiles on your walls and floors

Nowadays, it’s not too difficult to find tiles for your bathroom that are made out of recycled content. The materials used to make tile such as glass and porcelain are easy to recycle and reuse, meaning you can purchase new tiles made from partially recycled –  up to 100% recycled – materials.

A bright bathroom with blue shower tile.
Recycled glass tile is just one of many sustainable tile options. (Image Credit: Homes to Love)

Say no to paint containing VOCs

VOCs are gases that are emitted from certain solids and liquids, with interior paint being just one of many.  The VOCs emitted from paint have been shown to have negative side effects, ranging from headaches to an increased risk of cancer, and also are linked to greenhouses gases and to climate change. Thankfully, no-VOC paints are readily available at most home improvement stores.

A bright, white bathroom.
Not only are no-VOC paints better for the environment, they’re also better for your health.(Image Credit: Architecture AU)

Incorporate reclaimed materials

From installing an antique clawfoot tub, to creating a reclaimed wood feature wall, to incorporating vintage lighting, there are so many ways to give your bathroom both character and a reduced footprint. Even if you don’t want to go the whole rustic vibe, you can refinish and paint most reclaimed items so they look like new. And only you would know they’re not!

A rustic bathroom filled with reclaimed building materials.
Fully embrace the rustic look by leaving things as is, or refinish and repaint for a bathroom that looks lke it’s filled with new materials. (Image Credit: Country Living via Casa Com Br)

More green bathroom remodel ideas

The above ideas are just a starting point for your sustainable bathroom design. Here are six more!

  • Consider adding a bathroom skylight, which will allow the sun to provide natural light during the day and reduce the need for artificial lighting.
  • Speaking of lighting, make sure to install energy-efficient lighting and use LED lightbulbs whenever you can.
  • For water conservation, a low-flow showerhead and water-saving faucet are a must. If you have older fixtures, you can install aerators, which will control the amount you use.
  • Go a step further and put in a motion-sensing faucet, meaning you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to turn off the tap again.
  • Don’t let mold ruin the excellent air quality you’ve achieved by using non-toxic, eco friendly materials and finishes. Make sure to install a high-quality ventilation fan. 
  • Last up, an Energy Star water heater will help to reduce your energy use, especially if you pair it with underfloor heating that’s powered by an alternative source like solar. (We have solar-powered in-floor heating in our basement bathroom and we love it!)
A bright bathroom with with vintage art and woven baskets.
Although our upstairs bathroom doesn’t have in-floor heating, it does have a reclaimed vanity, vintage art and items found in nature.

Need help choosing eco-conscious furniture and decor for your home? That’s what I’m here for!

Shop for Sustainable Bathroom Decor

There’s no point in carefully designing a green bathroom remodel and then filling it with unsustainable decor items. From plants, to thrifted finds, to beautiful touches like eco-friendly wallpaper, the green oasis you’ve been dreaming of is definitely in reach.

Bring in plants and other items from nature

Decorating with nature is about as sustainable as design gets. Bring plants into you bathroom. Place some twigs in an old glass jar. Collect rocks from the river. Buy handmade art featuring things like leaves and trees. 

Plants and woven baskets on a bathroom shelf.
Plants in a bathroom just feel right, don’t you think? And with all the moisture, they must love it! (Image Credit: Melanie Jade Design)

Incorporate thrifted and vintage items

I know I just said bringing things in from nature is the most sustainable way to decorate your bathroom, but there’s also decorating with thrifted and vintage pieces. (Don’t make me choose which is my favourite!) Before buying anything new, head to your local secondhand shop and see what you can find. Keep an open mind and consider using older items in interesting ways.

A bathroom filled with vintage art.
 Using old mason jars in the bathroom isn’t a new concept, but I’ve never seen them lining a shelf near the ceiling before. So cool!  (Image Credit: Life at Cloverhill)

Add a little something extra with eco-friendly wallpaper

I love wallpaper and have been planning on adding it to my bathroom since day one. (Day one was years ago and I still haven’t put wallpaper up, but that’s how it works when you practice slow design.) Eco-conscious doesn’t have to mean bare, blank walls. It just has to mean that the things you choose were made as sustainably as possible, so choose toxic-free wallpaper made of recycled or natural materials.

A bright bathroom with white panelling and wallpaper.
 The wallpaper, the wainscoting, the penny tile…. stunning. Just stunning. (Image Credit: The Lily Pad Cottage)

More decorating ideas for sustainable bathrooms

You might think environmentally friendly bathroom decor just means the little added extras like artwork and knick knacks. Yet, functional items like towels and shower curtains also double as decor. Here’s how to do them – and other related items – sustainably.

  • Buy a shower curtain made from linen, which doesn’t need a plastic liner because it is resistant to mold.
  • There are plenty of brands that sell eco friendly bath towels, just make sure you check that they backup their green claims with certifications and transparency about their contributions to environmental organizations.
  • As above, an eco friendly bath mat should be made of natural materials that are resistant to mold an made by a company that takes sustainability seriously. But remember, you don’t have to necessarily use a bath mat, you can also use a plain old rug or even the good ol’ towel on the floor trick.
Beige bath towels on a wooden shelf.
 Aside from buying towels from sustainable brands, you can keep an eye out at the thrift store. Sometimes people give towels away that look brand new! (Image Credit: New Darlings)

Look for Eco Friendly Bathroom Products

It’s not enough to have an eco friendly bathroom vanity or recycled tile shower, the products you use when you’re in your bathroom have an environmental impact and should also be chosen carefully. My advice? Search for brands that have the same values as you do.

Buy your personal care items from sustainable brands

Finding companies that truly care about their environmental impact used to be quite the task. But not anymore! There are now hundreds of companies just in the beauty and personal care world that use sustainable ingredients and eco-conscious manufacturing and shipping.

Closeup of personal care items and flowers in a bathroom.

One of my current favourites is Canadian skincare brand BareLuxe because they donate a significant portion of their revenue to environmental causes. They’re also very honest and transparent about their ingredients and about current – and future – sustainability goals. (Plus, they’re Canadian like me!)

Reduce plastic waste whenever you can

Why does everything need to come wrapped in plastic when in so many cases paper will do? Reduce your plastic waste by switching over to things like environmentally friendly toilet paper packaged in paper. Also look for things like locally handmade soaps and shampoos and zero waste razors.

A stack of zero waste toilet paper on a bathroom cabinet.
Don’t you hate when things come wrapped in unnecessary plastic? Thankfully there are quite a few companies packaging their toilet paper in – you guessed it – paper! (Image Credit: Zero Waste Nest)

Switch to eco friendly bathroom cleaning supplies

Guess what I use to clean my own two eco friendly bathrooms? Vinegar, baking soda and tea tree oil. That’s it. If you prefer your cleaning supplies to be a little less DIY, there are so many sustainable cleaning products out there. Including ones that come as tablets you then mix with water and go. Fun!

A glass bottle next to a pink vase and a blue background.
Buying cleaning supplies that come in refillable containers is a great way to reduce your impact. (Image Credit: Blueland via Design Milk)

More eco bathroom product ideas

If you can think of a bathroom product, you can bet there’s a sustainable swap for it. Here are just a few more green bathroom ideas.

  • Switch to biodegradable hygiene products like pads and tampons that contain no plastic and are made from non-toxic materials. Or better yet, make your period zero waste with washable fabric pads and a menstrual cup.
  • Skip the chemical-filled aerosol sprays and eliminate bathroom odors with your own homemade spritz containing water and a few drops of your favourite essential oil.
  • A lot of people already compost in the kitchen, but what about in the bathroom? Place a mini compost bin in your bathroom for things like toenail clippings, stray hairs and cotton swabs.
Various zero waste bathroom products on a white-grey background.
Nowadays, there’s pretty much a sustainable swap for everything! (Image Credit: Pinterest)

There you go! Hopefully my tips on designing, decorating and choosing bathroom products sustainably were helpful. If you’d like to learn more about making sustainable and zero waste swaps, read my post about reducing your waste at home.

And don’t forget to check out BareLuxe for your sustainable skin care needs!

 

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Posted on August 22, 2022

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Eco Friendly Bathrooms Are on Trend – Here’s How to Create Your Very Own Green Retreat

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