Interior Design for a Healthy Home
Quality building design and non-toxic construction are just as important to a healthy indoor living environment as the items that a homeowner chooses to put in their homes following construction. Here are some tips on how to decorate your home in ways that promote a wellness-focused space.
>> WALL DÉCOR
Blinds are a basic necessity for controlling natural light and privacy. Solid hardwood and natural woven mediums such as bamboo and grasses make for beautiful window accents. Metal blinds are also a safe bet and come in a variety of widths and color options. Stay away from mass manufactured ‘wood’ blinds that are made of particle board/MDF or PVC, as these materials tend to off gas VOC’s indefinitely.
Wallpaper is back, but the adhesive used to apply the paper is far from healthy. Moisture tends to trap behind wallpaper overtime creating an ideal breeding ground for mold growth. Porcelain or ceramic tile and stone ledgers are a great way to create dramatic wall accents. Paint stenciling also produces a one-of-a-kind masterpiece on those vertical spaces.
Paintings, drawings and sculptures undoubtedly add character, color and warmth to any living space. Opt for canvas art without lacquers or varnish. Photo frames should be wood, plastic or acrylic. Avoid frames made with particle board or MDF.
>> BED & BATH
There’s a lot of recent hype questioning the safety of mattresses, and rightfully so. Mainstream mattresses are treated with arsenic and other chemical flame retardants. We spend a third of our life sleeping, so a nontoxic mattress is a must. Organic cotton, latex and wool are all materials to look for when purchasing a mattress. Stay away from soy, as it is often blended with polyurethane foam which releases noxious VOC’s. Avocado Green Mattress, Savvy Rest, Naturepedic and Shepherd’s Dream all make excellent organic mattress products that are chemical-free and oh so comfortable.
Cotton and poly are so yesterday when it comes to sheets. Check out super soft linens made from bamboo, modal (beechwood) or Tencel (lyocell). These hypoallergenic materials are sourced from renewable resources and naturally help to regulate body temperature while sleeping.
If glass shower enclosures aren’t within the budget, look for shower curtain liners that are PVC-free. Many cute decorative shower curtains available online are made from natural materials such as hemp and organic cotton.
I can’t tell you how much it breaks my heart to hand over the keys to a proud owner of a beautiful new healthy home - only to find them using 409 and Scrubbing Bubbles to clean the house. Inexpensive healthy DIY alternatives include white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide or baking soda based cleaners. JS2 Partners is excited to announce that we’re currently developing a line of all-natural, chemical free household cleaning products that are safe for the whole family, including baby, pets and the chemically sensitive!
Cookware & Dishware
Nonstick products made with Teflon are never safe, as they leave behind residues on food that continually accumulate cancer promoting toxins within the body. Nonstick ceramic cookware is crafted with minerals and is safe and readily available. Our favorites are Greenpan and Ozeri. Stainless steel pots are also a great option. Look for unglazed dishes and glasses made from lead-free ceramic, porcelain or glass.
>> FURNITURE & HOME ACCENTS
Not All Wood is the Same
Solid hardwood pieces not only last a lifetime but also don’t contain the copious amounts of glues and preservatives found in cheaper particleboard-based furniture. Look for desks, tables, couches, chairs and entertainment centers that are made of solid wood, glass, stone, acrylic or metal. Manufacturers often apply lacquer, paints and stains that will continually pollute indoor air. We order our wood furniture unfinished (raw) and apply our own nontoxic finishes, which makes for a fun weekend project and a one-of-a-kind custom piece!
Leather & Upholstery
Top grain leather makes a gorgeous statement in any home. Ask your custom leather furniture manufacturer if they can source softer hides that are minimally treated. Some leather companies even offer vegetable dyed hides. We recommend forgoing any aftermarket upholstery stain treatments.
Antiques & Reclaimed Wood
Reclaimed wood is often fumigated and/or treated with pesticides. Since it’s impossible to know what has previously been applied to antique pieces, JS2 Partners recommends going with the faux finished antiques. Check out this previous blog post about how to easily mimic the look of reclaimed wood with items already found in your kitchen.
If you’re a fan of indoor plants, skip the soil and go for hydroponic planters. Or better yet, fake silk plants that are formaldehyde-free are another excellent maintenance-free option.
Remember that a chemical free environment is key to creating a stress-free living space!
For more healthy home tips, visit JS2partners.com/blog.