Monday, August 2, 2010

Creating a Healthy Nursery for your Baby (and the Planet!) - Part II

Last week we introduced Claudia Kalur, a European interior decorator and founder of A Room for Frances. Claudia will be our guest writer for 8 Mondays, providing amazing suggestions and tips on designing eco-friendly nurseries and children's rooms.

Flooring - Part II
 Babies spend most of their early years either crawling on the floor, or simply playing on it so you should consider it carefully.
If you have the possibility to start from scratch, your best choice is hardwood or bamboo flooring with a natural, non-chemical, fruit derived finish, like tung oil - it is easy to clean, lasts forever, and honestly, the most attractive. Cork is always a wonderful option as well - very soft under crawling knees (and tumbles) and great for absorbing noise.
Tile floors are also environmentally friendly, long lasting and easily washable but they are, in my opinion, very hard and cold surfaces - unless you have (hydro) radiant heating. Both hardwood floors and tiles can be covered with area rugs, which will cozy up and soften the space.
Flooring is one of the largest surfaces in any space, so rugs make great decor statements! The best options are natural fibers such as untreated wool or cotton, jute, sisal, seagrass or hemp - and if you like the "shaggy" type, there are now bamboo-made versions! Vintage rugs are a very eco-friendly alternative as well and open up to great decorating possibilities. Finally, there are carpet tiles made from recycled materials that can be easily removed for regular cleaning.
Avoid commercial wall-to-wall carpeting at all cost - not only is it hard to clean but, as it is now common knowledge, it releases harmful chemicals and is a hot bed for mold and mites that are known to cause all sorts of allergies. It will also be more difficult (and expensive) to change later on. If you're set on a wall-to-wall option, there are manufacturers offering low VOC wall-to-wall carpeting which is great but it still requires constant vacuuming and shampooing.

Click here to access last week's posting from Claudia, covering "Long Term" concepts.

Stay tuned for coming weeks when Claudia will be discussing sustainable lighting and walls for children's rooms and nurseries.

Claudia Kalur is the founder of A Room for Frances, Nursery and Children's Room Design. She lives in rural Connecticut with her husband, Steven (an architect who specializes in green building systems), their 18-month-old daughter, Margot, and their doggy, Bayou.

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