There are many benefits for your baby and the environment from using sustainable furniture. Learn how to style eco-friendly furniture in your child’s nursery.
Decorating Your Nursery With Eco-Friendly Furniture and Décor
If you are expecting your first baby, you've probably already spent time thinking about safety considerations, such as car seats and lockable kitchen cupboards! But have you considered eco-friendly furniture?
Perhaps not. Many parenting and baby articles don't mention how our immediate environment can negatively impact our baby's health.
Startling statistics from the UK government show that Europe produced over 20,000 hazardous chemicals, over 80 million tonnes. The problem is growing; fast, cheap manufacturing fills our homes with toxic, plastic products.
If this is all new to you, we've put together this guide to help you understand the main toxic risks in a home. We've also put together some tips on buying eco-friendly products for your nursery.
Toxins in Your Home
The average home is full of potential hazards for you and your family.
Those toxins are even more problematic for a baby or young toddler who has yet to build up plenty of natural immunity. Here's a quick look at the types of toxins you might have in your home.
Asbestos: Asbestos is one of the most well-known and dangerous toxins in homes built before the 1990s. If you have concerns about asbestos in your home, the UK government provides support via local councils in identifying or removing it.
Lead: Lead used to be in paint, and old homes might still contain leaded paint on walls. Lead stays in the body and can even damage brain cells. Children are especially vulnerable.
BPA and phthalates: Chemicals found in plastics like bottles and food packaging. That contributes to plastic waste in the environment. Scientists have also linked it to the brain, prostate gland and behavioural issues.
PVC: PVC contains chemicals that will release into the atmosphere over time. The longer you leave PVC products in a child's nursery, the more your child will become exposed to toxins in the air.
VOC: VOC is a name for the toxic gases that leak from solid objects over time. They can damage the lungs, and scientists have linked them to cancers.
Flame-Retardants: These products are ones that manufacturers tend to add to furniture. Scientists have linked these chemicals to problems in the body, including the reproductive system and the brain.
To avoid harmful toxins in your home (and specifically, in a nursery), follow three simple rules.
Buy new, know what material you are buying, and stick to natural materials. Here are some suggestions on what toxin-free products are fantastic options for your nursery.
Walls and Floors
Before choosing your walls and flooring, find out what to look for in the product description to ensure you are buying a toxin-free option. Here's a quick overview:
Paint: If you intend to paint the nursery, look for manufacturers who label their paint non-toxic or VOCfree. You might also see them sold in stores as eco-friendly paints. Frenchic Paint is a great example.
Wallpaper: You'll find some eco-friendly wallpaper recommendations on our site. The most toxin-free wallpaper use organic printing ink, so check out the manufacturer's details before purchasing. You can find a great variety of eco-friendly wallpaper at bobbibeck.com.
Carpet: Carpets contain fire retardant material and are a breeding ground for dust mites, which will trigger allergies. Try and avoid having carpets in a nursery. Choose a rug if you want soft flooring for your child to sit on.
Flooring: Your best flooring options are cork, sustainable wood or bamboo. All three are environmentally friendly and free from toxic chemicals.
Eco-Friendly Nursery Furniture
Before buying furniture for the nursery, find out what materials produce the most toxins in a room. If in doubt, always opt for hardwood furniture. It will be free of chemicals, and it's a longer-lasting furniture choice.
Here's some information on the most popular nursery furniture items and our eco-friendly nursery furniture recommendations.
Cribs and cots: Look for VOC-free furniture labels when buying cribs or cots, and don't buy vintage furniture as these might include lead-based paint. Choose furniture made with natural, high-quality hard or softwood.
Get the bed on Etsy.
Mattresses and protectors: Choose latex, cotton, wool or chemical-free organic material when buying a crib mattress and protector. You'll also find that organic material is kinder to your baby's delicate skin.
Shop Eco Friendly nursery mattress at Woolroom.
Made from supreme certified organic Bamboo and Cotton. Get the mattress protector at naturalcollection.com.
Drawers and wardrobes: Opt for well made furniture for your nursery. Search for small and independent brands with focus on sustainability. Also, check the quality of the paint when buying your favourite brand to ensure they use VOC-free paint.
Shop eco-friendly wardrobe on Etsy.
Recliner or rocking chair: A relaxing chair looks beautiful in any nursery and is a perfect way to cradle your newborn. Wood is best, but if you prefer upholstered chairs, look for eco-friendly natural fibres free from chemicals.
This handmade natural wood rocking chair from Etsy is the perfect example.
Eco Friendly Nursery Decor
Naturally, you'll want to create a beautiful ambience in your baby's nursery. And there are some fantastic accessories and decorations on the market. Here's what to look for when decorating eco-friendly nursery.
Toys: Avoid hand-me-down toys for your child if painted or made from metal. These traditional painted toys might contain lead. Instead, choose products made from natural materials such as sustainable wood, organic cotton, hemp, bamboo or wool.