Monday, August 9, 2010

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

We've been having very insightful discussions with Claudia Kalur, a European interior decorator and founder of A Room for Frances, about eco-friendly nurseries and children's rooms. This week Claudia is discussing Wall Treatments. You can ask questions using the comments field here or on our Facebook page.

Wall Treatments - Part III
Walls are the largest element in any room and, from a design stand point, there are several options that will help you define the look you want for your nursery or child's bedroom: painting, wallpapering, wood trims and wainscoting, for instance.

Let us start with the easiest - wall color: easy to wash and easy to change. There are now endless options on the market for Zero-VOC paints. Volatile organic compounds are chemicals that are known to have detrimental affects on our health and the environment - when we say that it "smells of fresh paint" - those are actually the VOCs that you're inhaling. We personally swear by Natura, by Benjamin Moore but there are plenty of other good brands on the market like Mythic Paint, the Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company and Health Spec by Sherwin Williams, among many. If you insist on using normal paint, do your best to avoid going in the room for at least 24 hours and let is air out before using it - especially if you are pregnant!

Regular wallpaper is one of the least eco-friendly products you can ever have, but there are now several alternatives made of paper from sustainable forests and without the off-gassing elements. The only issue when it comes to little one's rooms is that is not washable - what makes a wallpaper washable is the very toxic PVC coating. However, if you are using wallpaper in a room for an older child (6 year old or older), there are great "colour me" options like the Tick-Tock, from Minimoderns, or the Frames Wallpaper, from Land of Nod - even if you use it on just one wall, it is great to release the artist in your child - and you! 

Wainscoting is also a beautiful option - it makes a room cozier and warmer, both in appearance and in temperature, and there is now the green alternative, High Definition Polymer System (HDPS) wainscoting. The downside once again is that those crayon marks are not that easy to clean or re-paint! 

Whatever you decide to do on the walls of your nursery, there certainly are now several environmentally friendly and beautiful options, whether you are aiming for a modern and more traditional look. 

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

Stay tuned for coming weeks when Claudia will be discussing sustainable lighting  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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