6 Ways to Make Your Home Soothing, Healthy and Sustainable

Your home should be a pleasing, green and sustainable place that makes you feel safe and peaceful whenever you walk through the door. It should be a space where you can rest, recharge and get inspired. Our homes are our sanctuaries, they are the one place we can take charge and create them to help us flourish, not just exist. A home that feels peaceful, healthy, rejuvenating, and inspiring will help you live a more soulful, compassionate and productive life.

Below are six proven green and sustainable interior design concepts that will help to enhance your home:

1. De-clutter

Peaceful feeling spaces are always clean, organized, minimal, and open, giving the eye and spirit a place to rest. Keep clutter under control. Precycle before considering purchasing anything new, organized and seek out low-profile storage solutions, and give spaces visual breathing room. Rearrange furniture to create a better flow of space.

2. Lighting

Lighting is an important element that has a big impact on you emotionally. It can make a space feel inviting and cheerful or gloomy and dreary. Use natural daylight as much as possible. Change your home’s light fixtures to convey a new personality to various rooms. Install dimmers to overhead fixture to adjust the light levels for various needs and moods. Use table lamps to add warmth, and task lights to reduce eyestrain for reading and work at the computer. Go energy efficient and switch from incandescent lighting to LEDs. LEDs also work on compatible dimmable fixtures. LED lights are worth the investment, as they have a lifespan of about twenty years before needing replacement.

3. Views to the Outside

Incorporate a connection between your indoor spaces and the outdoor environment. Views of nature help us to relax. Improve your access to natural daylight and indoor-outdoor connections by washing windows and screens, placing the drapes to the sides. If you have windows that face private areas, consider removing drapes and blinds for a clean and contemporary appearance.

4. Materials

EPA studies have indicated that indoor pollutant levels can be two to five time higher inside the home than outside, partly because of the chemicals used in synthetic home finishes and furniture.

Use natural fabrics and fibers because they are breathable, comfortable, nontoxic, and often have a longer life cycle.

It’s safest to stay away from using carpet when possible, particularly wall-to-wall carpet. The majority of inexpensive carpets are made from nylon olefin which are toxic petrochemicals derived from petroleum. These carpets contain formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene, which are toxic to the nervous system. They off-gas fumes for many years. When they are disposed of, they usually end up in the landfills along with the padding and leach chemicals into the earth. If you must use wall-to-wall carpet, make sure the company has a recycling program.

Wool carpet is best and is better for the environment, but is known to be pricey for many budgets. There are many different qualities of wool carpets. The better made wool carpets will off-gas less than other carpets because of the dying process used and backing applied. Be aware, the backing of many wool carpets are loaded with highly reactive compounds and noxious glues, and the padding is usually made from urethane and foamed with hydrocarbons such as methyl or bonded urethanes. Avoid carpets with stain protectors and other finishes. Check the Green Guard Certified Product Guide/UL Environment before purchasing new carpets and area rugs, so you can learn where to purchase certified products that release the fewest possible pollutants.

If you have carpets, use a HEPA (high efficiency particle air) vacuum cleaner to ensure better air quality. Damp mopping can readily clean hard surface flooring, like wood, tile or cork.

5. Color

To cultivate a feeling of calm to a room, use a soft palette of white, pastels and neutrals. Soft whites, pastels and neutrals can help to make a room feel more open and airy. To add punch to a room, accessorize with accent colors on pillows, window treatments, and area rugs. Color accents are the easiest way to change a room’s look and feeling from fall/winter to spring/summer.

6. Noise

The furniture and finishes you select have an impact on your home’s noise levels. Harwood floors, for all their many beautiful and good qualities can be noisy and will send sound reverberating through a house. Blank walls and plain wood furniture will do the same. Great rooms connect everything to the kitchen, but can become the loudest room in a home. To minimize noise, make sure that at least 25 per cent of every room contains absorbent materials such as area rugs, drapes, wood blinds or shutters, fabric wall hangings or canvas paintings. Upholstered furniture and book-filled bookcases will also help in absorbing sound. A great option for adding sound absorption to walls is the use of Homasote Board. This is a fiberboard made from recycled paper, and can be covered with raw silk, nubby hemp or rustic burlap. Cork flooring is another terrific option.

Your home is the one place you can control the quality of your lifestyle. Lynn Hoffman Design is here to help you do that. We are available per project or on a consulting basis. We customize our services according to the scope of work that is to be provided for each project. Contact us today at site@lynnhoffmandesign.com or at 203.984.4695.

Image by istockphoto.com/CreativaStudio

Lynn Hoffman

203.984.4695 | lynn@lynnhoffmandesign.com