Owl Interior Design | How to make your home more healthy
Space for positive living

How to make your home more healthy

Have you ever considered whether your home is ‘healthy’?

In addition to having a visually beautiful home that works in harmony with your lifestyle, what happens beyond what you can see is just as (if not more) important.

Here are 10 things to consider when selecting products for your interior project:

1. Choose Low VOC Paints

VOC stands for ‘volatile organic compounds’, which are chemicals that can easily become vapours or gases, contributing to indoor air pollution. VOCs are unfortunately found in many traditional paints, but there are other options. Low VOC paints emit fewer pollutants, reducing the risk of respiratory problems, headaches, and other health issues.

Image from Little Green

When selecting your paint, look for labels indicating low or zero VOC content (and also ensure proper ventilation during and after painting). Here’s a couple of our favourites.

Graphenstone Paints

Graphenstone Paints are made from natural ingredients and free from harmful chemicals – designed to improve indoor air quality by absorbing CO2 and other toxins. Their paints are independently certified for their environmental benefits.

Little Greene

Little Greene focuses on using environmentally responsible materials, including water-based paints with low VOC content.

Both brands are committed to sustainability and offer products that are safer for both your health and the environment – as well as creating beautiful paint colours.

2. Natural Fabrics and Dyes

Natural fabrics like cotton, linen, wool, and silk are free from synthetic chemicals. Natural dyes are derived from plants, minerals, and other natural sources. Opt for organic textiles and look for certifications like GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) to ensure the authenticity of natural fabrics and dyes.

3. Natural Materials Such as Wood Over Plastics

Natural materials you could choose for your home include wood, stone, bamboo, and cork, which are minimally processed and free from harmful chemicals found in many plastics.

These materials are sustainable and typically do not emit toxins, improving indoor air quality and reducing your environmental impact at the same time. Choose furniture and decor made from solid wood and other natural materials, avoiding those made from particleboard or plastic.

Bespoke joinery and plants in our Mews Townhouse project. Photo © Veerle Evens

4. Air Purifiers

Air purifiers help reduce allergens, dust, smoke, pet hair, and other pollutants from the air in your home. Select air purifiers with HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters for the best performance in capturing tiny particles.

5. Pollution Filtering Curtains

Did you know that you can choose curtains designed with special materials or coatings that can trap and neutralise air pollutants from entering your home? They provide an additional layer of air purification, particularly useful in cities and areas with high pollution levels.

Look for curtains specifically sold for their air-purifying properties, such as GUNRID from Ikea (below).

6. Water Filters

Ensuring clean drinking water reduces exposure to contaminants like chlorine, lead, bacteria, and other harmful substances. Choose a water filter system based on your specific needs, such as activated carbon filters, reverse osmosis systems, or whole-house filters.

Choose WRAS approved products as ‘products which comply with WRAS ensure that they do not contaminate water in any way. Tests are carried out to ensure the products won’t affect the taste or smell of drinking water and do not promote the growth of microorganisms’.

7. Black-out Blinds

Black out blinds help improve sleep quality by creating a completely dark environment, which is important for maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm. Install blackout blinds in bedrooms to ensure better sleep, particularly if you live in an area with significant light pollution.

8. Smart Bulbs

Did you know that you can choose light bulbs that can be programmed to change colour and intensity throughout the day to mimic natural light patterns? Supporting circadian rhythms helps regulate sleep-wake cycles, mood, and overall well-being. Use smart bulbs to gradually brighten in the morning and dim in the evening, promoting a natural sleep cycle.

9. Biophilic Artwork and Design Features

Biophilic design incorporates natural elements into the built environment to enhance human connection with nature.

By bringing elements of nature indoors, you can actually reduce stress, improve mood, and increase overall well-being.

Use artwork depicting natural scenes, install green walls, or incorporate water features to create a calming and rejuvenating environment.

A green moss wall at our West London Terrace project. Photo © Veerle Evens

10. Views of Sky and Nature if Possible… Lots of Indoor Plants if Not

Exposure to nature, even indoors, has been shown to reduce stress, enhance mood, and improve mental health.

Tip: Position your furniture to maximise outdoor views. If outdoor views are limited, fill your home with a variety of indoor plants to create a lush, natural atmosphere.

The bedroom of our Upminster Loft project. Photo © Veerle Evens.
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