Give your home an eco-friendly makeover with design that will ensure a healthy and refreshed home.
Your home is where you spend a lot of time, so why not create an eco-friendly design that will not harm your health or the environment? It’s time to throw out synthetics and opt for natural and organic materials for your home décor.
Eco-friendly design places emphasis on improving indoor air quality, and paint, furniture, flooring, and upholstery all have a big impact on indoor air quality. To create a healthy home, think natural products and those with low or zero Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs are elements released into the air when buying, using or installing synthetic products.
1. Wall finishes
Paint is a prime example of how VOCs can affect your health. Paint that has an overpowering smell usually contains a high concentration of VOCs. Think back a few years to when you couldn’t sleep in a freshly painted bedroom, and how this has changed when using today’s paints. Paint manufacturers, such as Prominent Paints, for example, offer a range of low- and zero-VOC products that give off almost no odour.
Alternative, eco-friendly wall coverings include reclaimed wood panels, ceramic tile or cork, while floors can be finished in natural stone, polished concrete, bamboo planks or organic floor coverings. Warmth and texture underfoot is easily added with coir, sisal or cotton rugs or mats, and these natural products have a very low VOC content.
Did you know that wool is naturally fire retardant and captures dust or pollen from the air? The gassing-off of VOCs in synthetic carpets and rugs manufactured from nylon or polyester may cause breathing problems, headaches and dizziness.
2. Furniture that lasts
When choosing furniture to decorate your home, try to opt for natural materials wherever possible. Most standard upholstered furniture is made using synthetic fabrics over polyurethane foam that contains chemicals that can cause health problems, whereas latex foam is an organic by-product that does not gas-off any harmful toxins.
Wood furniture is beautiful in any setting, and while it may cost more upfront, the lifespan of these pieces far exceeds cheaper alternatives. A natural leather sofa or couch, when cared for, can last a lifetime, as opposed to a 10-year life (at a push) for synthetic styles. Plus, there are so many options to make your own wood furniture using reclaimed or salvaged wood or a selection of pine products that you will find at your local Builders store.
3. Dressing up
Home décor accessories get swapped out regularly as seasons and trends change, that’s why it’s important to choose materials that are timeless and lasting, and that reflect your own personality, rather than changing fads. When you select accessories that enhance your interior design and are good for the environment, you will be happier with the end result.
Cotton, glass, ceramic, wicker and wood are natural materials that add a wonderful warmth and texture to any room setting. Recycling dated furniture is a budget-saving way to incorporate larger wood pieces of furniture. Use oil or wax to beautify and protect your wood furniture as opposed to solvent-based polyurethane products. Wood furniture that is treated with a natural finish can breathe and help to improve indoor air quality.
4. Keep it natural
Scientific studies reveal that natural light effects your mood, yet we often place more reliance on artificial lighting. In an eco-friendly home you want to let in as much natural light as possible. Use sheers or blinds to offer privacy without blocking out natural light, and in dark rooms think about installing a skylight. From window tinting and solar shades to a new generation of leak-proof skylights and solar tubes, the options for letting the sun shine in are better than ever.
Walk into a room that is bright and you immediately feel uplifted. A lack of natural light can lead to lack of serotonin in the brain, resulting in tiredness and fatigue. Let in the sunlight and wake up refreshed and full of energy. For an instant mood booster, throw open windows and doors to let fresh air clean out built-up indoor toxins.
5. Refresh with plants
There are many different varieties of plants that filter air and aid in removing harmful toxins, and every home should have some greenery here and there. Studies on houseplants show that certain plants species absorb toxic chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.
You can enquire at your local nursery or garden centre as to plant species that will be suitable for your home. Pot up a small house plant or two, or bring fresh foliage indoors and pop it into a colourful vase.