Building a wellness-focused environment includes everything from construction materials, to furnishings and finishes.
Quality craftsmanship, nontoxic products and conscience building methods are just as important to a healthy indoor living environment as the items you choose to put in your home. Here are some tips on how to decorate your home in ways that promote a relaxed, inviting, wellness-focused space.
wall décor with a purpose >>
Wallpaper is back in style, but the adhesive used to apply the paper is typically far from healthy. Moisture also tends to get trapped behind wallpaper overtime, creating an ideal breeding ground for mold growth. But this doesn’t mean you should shy away from adding wallpaper to those blank walls.
Look for wallpapers made of natural materials like cellulose or plant-based materials. Papers should not have any vinyl coatings. Some manufacturers offer papers with water-based inks. The Healthier Homes online shop recently released a curated collection of woven wallpapers with collections made of reeds, cork, grasses and other fun materials. Just b sure to avoid putting up wallpaper in bathrooms, laundry rooms, or areas prone to humidity.
Porcelain or ceramic tile, sealed bricks and stone ledgers are a great alternative to papers for creating dramatic wall accents. Solid wood shiplap or board and batten paneling painted with an accent color are great ways to bring visual interest to an otherwise boring wall surface. Paint stenciling can also produce a one-of-a-kind masterpiece on those vertical spaces.
Blinds are a necessity for controlling natural light and ensuring privacy. Solid hardwood and natural woven mediums such as bamboo and grasses make for beautiful neutral window accents that compliment a variety of styles and color palettes. Metal blinds are also a safe bet and come in a variety of widths and color options. Also curtains made form Belgian flax linen or organic cotton are a great way to soften a space. Stay away from mass manufactured “wood” blinds that are made of particle board/MDF or PVC, as these materials tend to off-gas VOCs indefinitely, especially during the warmer summer months.
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 and bath recommendations >>
a chemical free mattress
Lots of people are questioning the safety of mattresses, and rightfully so. Mainstream mattresses are often treated with arsenic and other chemical flame retardants and stain repellants.
We spend a third of our lives sleeping. A nontoxic mattress is a must.
Organic cotton, latex, bamboo and wool are all materials to look for when purchasing a mattress. Be mindful about soy, as it is often blended with polyurethane foam to make it more rigid, which can release noxious VOCs. When in doubt, just ask.
non-toxic sheets & towels
Ordinary cotton and poly are so yesterday when it comes to drying off and sleeping under the covers.
Super soft linens made from bamboo, modal (beechwood), silk or Tencel (lyocell) are our #1 favorites for bed and bath. These hypoallergenic materials are sourced from renewable resources and naturally help to regulate body temperature while sleeping.
Although its not as temperature regulating, organic cotton is also a great option that is pesticide free and comes in a variety of textures and colors.
Bamboo and organic cotton towels reign supreme when it comes to softness, wicking up moisture, and durability.
shower curtains that are better for you
If glass shower enclosures aren’t within your budget or impractical for your bathroom, then shower curtains to the rescue! Look for curtain liners that are PVC-free to avoid harmful offgassing from chlorinated plastics (that blow up pool toy smell). Many cute decorative shower curtains available online are made from natural materials such as Belgian flax linen, hemp and organic cotton.
healthy kitchen tips >>
non-toxic cleaning products
We can’t tell you how much it breaks my heart to hand over the keys to the proud owner of a beautiful new healthy home—only to find them using a toxic cleanser to clean the house.
Inexpensive, healthy DIY alternatives include white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda or hypochlorous–based cleaners.
Only use all-natural, chemical-free household cleaning products that are safe for the whole family, including babies and pets! ...Perhaps the best news about healthier cleaning solutions is the items listed above are inexpensive and readily available.
Healthier Clean by Healthier Homes is our go-to all purpose cleaner for spills, heavy duty cleaning, even laundry. (Tip - the formula is concentrated so a little goes a long way when mixed with water in a squirt bottle.)
safe + durable cookware & dishes
Nonstick products made with Teflon are never safe. They leave behind residues on food, which can continually accumulate cancer-promoting toxins within the body. Nonstick ceramic cookware is crafted with minerals and is safe and readily available. Stainless steel pots are also a great option. Look for dishes and glasses made from lead-free ceramic, porcelain, or glass.
healthier home furnishings and accents >>
not all wood is the same
Solid hardwood and hardwood plywood pieces not only last a lifetime but they also don’t contain the copious amounts of glues and preservatives found in cheaper mdf and particleboard-based furniture. Look for desks, tables, couches, chairs, and entertainment centers that are made of solid hardwood, glass, stone, acrylic or metal. Manufacturers often apply lacquers, paints, and stains that will continually pollute indoor air. You can always order your wood furniture unfinished (raw) and apply your own nontoxic finishes, which makes for a fun weekend project and a one-of-a-kind custom piece!
antique and 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, we recommend going with the faux finished “antiques.” There’s also ways to easily mimic the look of reclaimed wood using items you probably already have in your kitchen like tea, vinegar and steel wool.
sourcing 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 or protective treatments.
Leather is important to keep conditioned periodically. Naturally-derived DIY leather conditioner is easy to make at home.
Depending on the type of skin and hide, usually a mixture of refined coconut oil, grapeseed or olive oil (not extra virgin) mixed with organic white vinegar at a 1:1 mixture works perfect for periodic maintenance. Just rub into the grain in one very thin coat.
indoor plant ideas
If you’re a fan of indoor plants, skip the soil and go for hydroponic planters. Or better yet, faux plants that are free from pesticides and other chemical treatments are another excellent, maintenance-free option.
A chemical-free environment is key to creating a stress-free living space!
Feel free to share your home design tips below. We’d love to hear them!