Did you know your home styling choices could actually be affecting you internally. Poor home design can make indoor air quality over 100 times more polluted than outdoor air? Your home styling choices may even be affecting your mental health, too. Given that Australians spend at least 90% of their time indoors, it's important to make sure your home is a healthy environment. Here are 3 ways your design choices could be contributing to your unhealthy environment and how to fix them.
The Problem: Painted Walls
Did you know that most paints contain harmful chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs)? Given the strong, noxious smell, it may come as no surprise. These compounds can cause a wide range of health problems, from headaches and dizziness to cancer and nervous system damage.
The Australian Paint Approval Society recommends a maximum VOC level of 5g/litre. There are plenty of paints out there with low VOC levels and even some with no VOCs at all. If you're concerned about respiratory hazards during painting, call in a professional who knows how to repaint safely. If you're still worried about indoor air pollution, why not incorporate some air-filtering plants into your décor?
The Problem: Poor Lighting
You've probably heard about how sunlight can be dangerous, but it's not all bad. In fact, good quality lighting in the home is essential for healthy living. Chronobiologist Dr Victoria Revell says that lighting has positive effects on "alertness, mood, productivity, sleep patterns and many aspects of our physiology". A recent study showed that exposure to certain types of light before bedtime can actually increase your risk of getting diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer.
Improve natural lighting in your house by avoiding the use of thick curtains or dark furniture near the windows. Think about using a white window trim to amplify any light coming in. The inclusion of more natural light will help you fight stress and depression, strengthen your bones, and prevent cancer. To minimise the amount of artificial light in your home, why not consider a "mood lighting" system with a dimmer? Dimming the lights before bed will reduce health risks, and create a positive atmosphere.
The Problem: Toxic Flooring
Do you have wall-to-wall carpet in your home? The warm feeling under your toes is great, but carpet is the #1 air polluter in your home. Not only do many carpets contain VOCs, just like paint – they also trap dust and dirt that could be damaging your family's health.
Consider switching to hard flooring. Wooden floors come in a range of colours and styles. They're easier to clean, and can't trap allergens like carpets can. If you miss that cosy feeling, an organic fibre, vegetable-dyed rug will bring it back without polluting your air. Removing your shoes when you come in is also a great way to keep your flooring healthy. Research has shown that shoes can carry up to 9 different species of infectious bacteria. Installing a stylish shoe rack or cabinet by your door is a great, attractive way to keep these bacteria out of your home.