The A-Z of Interior Design: O is for….


Most modern-day homes are toxic, it's as simple as that. The place where we eat, sleep and relax is a minefield of chemicals and synthetic materials found in food, cosmetics, furniture, mattresses, textiles and sofas, which are linked to serious medical problems, as well as allergies, including asthma and eczema.

Making our homes a sanctuary is not an easy, overnight fix, but there are gradual steps that can be taken towards achieving a more healthy, beautiful home. Thinking about future choices and opting for more natural, organic choices is the wise route to creating a safer sanctuary.

Organise and edit your home.  De-clutter and keep dust at bay.
Credit: Workshop/APD Fotógrafo: Donna Dotan Fonte: Interior Design USA

Encourage natural light to flood into interiors. Remove window coverings, wherever possible. Check the eco-friendliness of textiles and look for organic, unbleached materials such as linen, hessian, wool, cotton or silk.
Photo: Belvedere residence, San Francisco. Green Couch Interior Design

Accessorise the home with natural materials such as driftwood, plants, flowers and pebbles.

Use natural paints on walls and stripped, pared back wood. Check the paint tin for VOC levels (Volatile Organic Compounds). Use eco-products for cleaning your home, bathing, cosmetics and food.

Opt for materials which are in their natural state, or finish with eco-friendly products, such as beeswax. Try to up-cycle with second-hand or salvaged materials which are potentially less chemically-treated than contemporary equivalents.
Photo: Herringbone Wood Floor The New Minimalism | At Home With : Joseph Dirand, Paris

Create a calm environment in your home wherever possible.  

Extreme tiredness, headaches or dizziness could indicate carbon monoxide poisoning.  Check appliances are working correctly and that air vents are clear.  Open windows daily.  

Finally, bring plants into the home to clean the air as well as to make it aesthetically pleasing.

Find out more about eco-living from Friends of the Earth, Eco ConstructionGreenpeace, Healthy Building Network and Healthy Flooring Network.