Interior Design is often heavily reliant on fabrics and textures, in the aim to create a certain ambience that define what the designer or homemaker is aiming to procure.
However, often overlooked is what health implications certain materials can have on our well-being and other luxurious materials and furnishings we can use for a healthy alternative.
We love a good carpet here in the UK, however a pioneering study conducted by NIHR Southampton Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit concluded that by exposing dust mite extracts to babies reduced their risk of developing allergies. Dust mites are the most prevalent allergy- triggering substance inducing reactions of asthma in a high proportion of children.
In addition to fabrics that attract dust mites the additional cause of concern are VOC’S (Volatile Organic Compounds). Conventional carpets that consist of nylon fibres with a plastic backing along with the adhesives that can contain benzene and Toluene result in a brew of VOC’S. The smell of a new carpet is the chemicals that can take months to eventually evaporate called off gassing.
The alternatives are ‘conscientious carpets’ an ethical alternative. These can range from 100% Wool, which are biodegradable, fire retardant and help to purify the room. Wool absorbs contaminates that are airborne such as formaldehyde and binds them in. Other alternatives are Cashmere goat-hair carpet and Bamboo Carpets.
When buying a bed consider a cot or a bed made from natural materials. Synthetic bedding can expose babies and children to solvents and formaldehyde. Companies like Naturalmat or The Little Green Sheep sell baby mattresses that are organic or made from very soft lambswool. Additionally consider bed linen made from untreated natural fibres, such as hemp, bamboo or organic cotton from retailers such as Green Fibres.
Wall coverings such as wallpaper or paint contains VOC’S. Wallpaper that is Vinyl may contain Phtalates which are hormone disrupting and so far better to choose papers made from cotton or wood and papers that are printed with nontoxic water based ink. Likewise when choosing paints choose from suppliers that specialise in natural paint and not the paints that contain chemicals like toluene, which increase the risk of neurological problems triggering headaches or depression. Suppliers such as Little Green have a wide range of both.
Applying nature principles to your interior is called Biophillic Design. The principle to improve health and well being. This is now being adopted by giants such as Apple, Google and Amazon in their new campus buildings and offices. The use of natural colours, materials, geometries, light, plants, space and fresh air awards direct and indirect experience with nature. The reason why you feel so good walking through the forest or large outdoor spaces.
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