Have you ever considered how toxic your home decoration and furniture choices are?
Worldwide lockdowns during 2020/21 have meant that many of us are spending more time at home than ever before. We’ve had months of staring at the same walls, floors and furnishings! It’s no surprise that 3 in 5 people in the UK have been inspired to start a home renovation or design project during the pandemic, according to a study by Houzz.
If you’re one of the many planning a home improvement project, stop right there! Step away from the paintbrush. As professional, holistic interior designers, we want to share something super interesting (and potentially lifesaving) about the impact of toxic home furnishings on your health.
How a toxic home can affect our immune system
With wellness very much at the forefront of our minds during Covid-19, it’s essential that we all do our bit to look after our health.
Keeping our immune systems strong to help battle these viruses often requires a few lifestyle changes – most of us know that. We don’t need to tell you about the health benefits of a balanced diet, more exercise and less of the bad stuff (stress, alcohol, smoking, etc.).
But did you know that making a few healthy home décor choices can boost your health too?
What is healthy interior design?
Healthy interior design is about choosing finishes and furnishings that don’t damage your health but support it.
For example, when it comes to paint, many traditional brands contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These chemicals are used in solvent-based products to improve the transfer and flow of the paint or varnish.
However, some VOCs have been found to cause nervous system and organ damage, according to the American Lung Association. Inhaling the fumes from VOCs can also cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat as well as headaches, nausea, breathing difficulties and dizziness.
Toxic furnishings and covid risks
And then there’s stain resistance in carpets and curtains (and many other household items), which contain fluorinated chemicals known as PFAs. PFA exposure (in just small doses) has been linked to birth defects, hormone disruption, liver damage, cancer and damage to the immune system. Recent studies have also found that PFAs can increase a person’s likelihood of developing severe Covid-19, and PFAs can reduce the effectiveness of a vaccine!
Another big one is flame retardant chemicals. Often used in mattresses, fire resistant chemicals contain boric acid, antimony and halogenated flame retardants, which have been linked to issues with brain development and nerve function in children, and cancer and infertility in adults.
Mattresses need to meet strict fire health and safety regulations in the UK, but this doesn’t mean they have to contain these chemicals (and the many others that affect our health, including formaldehyde). In fact, there are non-toxic materials that are naturally fire resistant like wool. Read this excellent article to learn more about the chemicals we breathe in when we sleep.
These headline chemicals only scratch the surface of how your home décor can affect your health. However, it’s not as difficult as you may think to avoid these common culprits.
Fortunately, throughout the world, non-toxic furniture and paint suppliers are now easy to find. You just need to look a little bit deeper in Google, beyond page 1 and the big brand stores.
Non-toxic home brands
We’re putting together a list of incredible non-toxic furniture and DIY brands in our highly coveted source book. Everyone who attends our Healthy Interior Design courses will receive a copy for free – but we will issue a limited-run public edition in the future.
If you don’t want to miss out, make sure you sign-up for our newsletter. We don’t send them too often, don’t worry (we’re too busy transforming homes into healthy ones!).
We’ve been fully immersed in the health benefits of conscious interior design for years so none of this is news to us, but we are delighted to see that awareness is spreading to the masses. Healthy homes are now an interior trend we can wholeheartedly back.
Our final word: educate yourself and investigate how your furniture, wall coverings, carpets and bedding are made. Making conscious choices with healthy interiors can help you sleep better, feel better and even look better!