Decorating your baby’s nursery can be one of the most exciting parts of your pregnancy journey. And now, more than ever, parents are becoming increasingly conscious of what their new arrival’s environment will leave them exposed to. Read our eco-friendly nursery guide for tips on how to choose safe and sustainable paint, décor and more essentials to create the perfect space for your newborn.
Paint – One tip that many parents swear by when decorating their nursery is to stick to zero-VOC paint. VOC stands for ‘Volatile Organic Compounds’, which are the highly toxic elements that cause the pungent paint smell, often leading to eye and nose irritations, headaches, sickness and even co-ordination difficulties. If you struggle to find zero-VOC, there are also ultra-low-VOC options on the market. Remember to always ventilate the room well after painting – even if you’ve used an eco-friendly product – before your baby’s arrival.
Flooring – Wall-to-wall carpet may seem like the cosiest option for your new baby, especially for your late-night feed visits, but it may not be the healthiest choice if you plan to install a new one. Carpets can retain dust mites and allergens that could cause irritation and depending on the material used, they could give off fumes. More sustainable options like bamboo or cork are not only better for the environment, but may be better for your baby. You could also go for wooden flooring, and simply add a machine washable non-toxic rug or play mat for a softer covering.
Lighting – Energy efficient lighting has been commonplace for a while now – don’t forget to check your new night light has an LED or CFL bulb too.
Air – It may not be one of the first thing that comes to mind when planning interior design, as it’s not strictly a visual component, but air quality can be improved with green solutions too – literally! Invest in an indoor plant for your little one’s nursery, and it could work as a natural air purifier.
Try these: Lady Palm, Peace Lily, Boston Fern, Philedendron, Bamboo Palm, Dwarf Date Palm or the Ficus Alli.
Bedding – Organic cotton is much more accessible these days, meaning it’s easier to make your baby’s crib as eco-conscious as can be. You’ll also want to look out for materials with hypoallergenic properties to reduce the risk of allergy triggers.
The Little Green Sheep Organic Knitted Moses Basket is a wonderful option if you’re looking for a natural, chemical free sleeping environment for your baby. This one comes with an organic cotton liner and a palm leaf basket. Plus, the stand (sold separately, here) is made from natural pine wood.
Another thing you can look out for with regards to bedding is the Greenguard Certification, which guarantees low chemical emissions and improved air quality where certified products are used.
NO-NASTIES NAPPY STATION
Reusable nappies – Cloth nappies are certainly the greenest choice – they are 40% better for the environment than their disposable counterparts. If well looked after, they should last you long enough to re-use with your next child too, making them just as economical as they are eco-friendly!
Click here to view our reusable nappies guide.
Disposables - If you must go for disposable nappies at least make sure they’re chlorine, perfume and alcohol free. Some nappies are even made from bamboo fibres these days, which makes them 80% biodegradable. There are many baby wipes on the market today that are made from plant-based materials and can biodegrade in only a couple of weeks once they reach landfill.
IN WITH THE OLD
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Whether it’s blankets, teddy bears or bouncers, try to avoid buying new if you have items in perfectly good condition from your childhood or your baby’s older sibling. It can be tempting when you start shopping around and everything is shiny and new, but do you reeeeally need it? Upcycling has become a big trend this year too; that chest of drawers in the hallway that’s taking up space could be re-painted and used in the nursery!
And don’t forget that once your decorating is done, to dispose of everything correctly. Old paint should be recycled at your local Hazardous Waste Facility, for example.