Monday, August 30, 2010

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

Continuing with our discussions with Claudia Kalur, a European interior decorator and founder of a Room for Frances, this week we are talking about Soft Furniture. Great tips and suggestions! Feel free to ask questions using the comments field here or on our Facebook page.

Soft Furnishings - Part VI

An upholstered chair will be, along with the crib, one of the biggest investments you will make when putting a nursery together for your baby. It costs just as much if not more than a crib but, if well chosen, it will also last a lot longer.
Regardless of the style you choose, more traditional or more modern, a rocker or a plain upholstered chair, there are a couple of things you should have in mind: firstly, make sure you sit on it and that it feels comfortable - remember, you will spend many hours on it, be it feeding or rocking your baby, or simply resting; secondly, pick a chair that has been built as closest to home as possible (the choices for USA-made furniture are endless thanks to the many factories in, for instance, North Carolina and California) and that is made from sustainably harvested wood; thirdly, prefer if possible a chair that is filled with latex foam; and lastly, that is covered in a natural material such as cotton or linen.
Thankfully, the options exist out there - and remember, you do not have to get a chair from a children's furniture place or catalogue (although Land of Nod has great options). There are companies like Cisco Brothers, Lee Industries and Mitchell Gold that make beautiful chairs that can go later in a living room, or even your teenage child's bedroom - and the look can always be changed with a slipcover (ever so useful and easier to clean!). The slipcover is also a great option if you are giving a new life to a chair that you already own!
The same principle of natural, preferably un-dyed or organic fabrics applies to window treatments, especially if you are using floor length curtains. Natural fabrics such as linen or cotton have a much more beautiful drape and are, of course, healthier.
Finally, and certainly no less relevant, try to purchase organic crib bedding. I always suggest to my design clients that they do not buy bedding sets, which usually come with either crib blankets or covers that you cannot use until the baby is much older. If you buy a set of 3 or 4 fitted sheets and one or two crib bumpers that match all these, you will save money and you will be able to alternate the look of the room. If you prefer to buy non-organic, then I would recommend that you buy 100% cotton bedding, wash it a couple of times before use and let it air. 

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

Stay tuned for coming weeks when Claudia will be discussing more topics about eco-friendly 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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