It is no longer a secret that many furniture, decorative objects and floor and wall coverings are made up of toxic substances (solvents, chemical glues and various additives) that spread in our interiors and emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that are toxic to our health and pollutants to the environment. Babies and young children are all the more sensitive to it. It is therefore preferable to be more vigilant when it comes to greenwashing to arrange and decorate an organic and non-toxic baby room.
Looking for inspiration? See you at the bottom of the article for a selection of slow, ecological and healthy products ↓
Opt for organic and non-toxic wall coverings
Since 2013, all construction products, floor coverings, paints and varnishes must indicate their VOC emission rate on their packaging (rating from A+ to C). However, the requirements are relatively low in terms of rating.
A wall painting rated A+ emits a significant amount of VOCs, especially for children. Acrylic paints should be banned because their fumes represent a real danger to your child’s health and yours. We recommend that you look to the deeply eco-responsible wall paint brands that have been flourishing recently, or to natural lime paints. For babies, the paints of the brands of the big brands (Leroy Merlin, Castorama,…) are generally not healthy enough for your child.
⇢ To learn more about ecological and healthy paints, I invite you to read the article “A healthy and sustainable paint”
Vinyl wallpapers and some non-woven fabrics are covered with a thin layer of PVC that emits Volatile Organic Compounds. The printing inks used are also full of chemicals, unless your wallpapers have the Imprim’Vert label (which means that they have been printed in an environmentally friendly printing house). Once you have found a non-toxic wallpaper, be sure to use a solvent-free glue.
⇢ To learn more about ecological and healthy wallpapers, I invite you to read the article “A healthy and ecological wallpaper”
To find all the brands of non-toxic and ecological wall coverings, go to the directory:
Are you short of ideas to decorate the walls of your baby’s room?
Colours have an impact on our unconscious, and therefore even more so for babies. Care should be taken to choose a soothing colour such as green, blue or purple. We will opt for soft pastel tones rather than saturated hues that could harm falling asleep. We avoid falling into a total blue look for the boy, and pink for the girl, to stop perpetuating gender stereotypes. Turn to soft colours that inspire you, or opt for timeless white and prefer wall decoration objects to evolve as it grows and becomes a child.
Choose healthy and ecological floor coverings
The most favourable option is to keep your current soil in good condition to avoid the addition of new pollutants and compounds that are toxic to your baby’s health.
It is essential to avoid carpets that carry dust, dust mites and bacteria, which are difficult to clean thoroughly.
If the floor seems to be a good option, care should be taken to ensure that it is not treated with a varnish or other chemical coating. Unless you find some second-hand, in which case it will be VOC-free. If you buy it new, you will have to oil it with natural products.
⇢ To learn more about wood in decoration, I invite you to read the article “Design and decorate with sustainable wood”
Tiling is a healthy, but cold and unwelcoming option for a newborn baby.
Real linoleum (made of linseed oil, natural resin and wood powder) is a solution that also has its advantages. On the other hand, linoleum or balatum (composed of PVC, thus from petrochemistry) which releases endocrine disrupting phthalates.
One trend that combines many advantages is the use of cork slabs. The material is both soft for your baby’s first falls, cocooning by its color and texture. In addition, cork insulates the sound of your footsteps when you escape discreetly once your baby is asleep and it has no allergens, while being easy to clean.
Healthy and ecological furniture (but not too expensive)
New furniture made of chipboard, plywood and plastic is banned – no more the ease of Ikea furniture. If you are still hesitating, let me tell you that many of them have allergies to their Ikea furniture (plates, respiratory problems…). Adults, so imagine your baby taking a load of them from his nostrils and lungs as soon as he arrived on Earth. These pieces of furniture are filled with glues with solvents, varnishes and toxic paints that emit many Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and often formaldehyde. At a minimum, make sure you buy furniture with the NF Environnement or European Ecolabel label, although their requirements are relatively low.
It is preferable to opt for solid wood or second-hand furniture, the majority of VOCs of which have been distributed during their previous life. Choosing second-hand furniture is an economical solution because there is a wide choice of products per expensive in second-hand networks (online, flea markets, Emmaus, resourceries / recycling…). And it also responds to an ecological approach since it is necessary to regularly change the furniture as baby becomes a child. It is then easy to buy and resell to buy back.
Whatever the material, if you choose to buy new, be careful with the patinas, varnishes and paints used, which generally emit toxic Volatile Organic Compounds. Ideally, buy raw or second-hand wooden furniture that you will paint yourself (not recommended for pregnant women) with ecological and healthy paints several months before your baby’s arrival in order to let it air.
As for the bed, an ecological solution can be the purchase of a convertible bed, or a second-hand bed (many of them can be found on second-hand sites). However, it will be necessary to acquire a new mattress. A baby sleeps between 18 and 20 hours a day, so this is where he will spend most of his time. However, the majority of commercial mattresses are made of foams and glues that release VOCs and other harmful formaldehydes. Then choose mattresses made of natural materials (local wool, organic cotton, natural latex, Tencel (made from eucalyptus fibre), coconut fibre…).
Discover our selection of furniture, mattresses and bedding for babies and children on the eshop:
Natural and non-toxic decoration to welcome baby in a cocooning and slow atmosphere
Even if we like to cover a newborn child with plush toys and wake-up toys to surround and warmly welcome him, it is preferable to avoid plush toys and any other toy made of synthetic materials, which are nothing other than petroleum products, and which emit VOCs. They also often contain flame retardants that are particularly harmful to their health. It is better for your baby to fall asleep alongside funny animals made of natural fabrics and labelled organic and/or Oeko-Tex.
The same applies to his bed linen (and any other textiles in the room such as curtains, carpets, cushions, mats…). We prefer 100% natural and organic fabric products and/or Oeko-Tex which ensure a minimal composition in terms of chemical residues related to the cultivation or dyeing of the raw material.
⇢ To learn more about healthy and ecological household linens, and about the different fabrics and their impacts, I invite you to read the article “Sustainable household linen”
On the small decoration side, here again we opt for objects made of natural materials (solid wood, cork, ceramics, natural and organic labelled fabrics) without treatment or with water.
Healthy air without VOCs
Whether you have already started decorating and furnishing your baby’s or child’s room or are about to start, there are a few good habits to make sure you look safe:
- No candles or incense, no room scent in the baby’s room
- Ventilate often! Our indoor air would be 10 times more polluted than the outdoor air in the city, airing about 10 minutes twice a day allows us to renew the air.
- If necessary, opt for a natural, non-electric air purifier (avoid water vapour air purifiers)
- Use only ecological cleaning products, organic, natural, ideally homemade. Chemical cleaning products contribute to indoor air pollution in our habitats that are toxic to our health. And they are also polluting.
Ideas & inspirations slow deco - Product selection
A vintage second-hand rattan cradle, a handmade jute carpet made of hemp, a poster printed on labelled paper, a shelf made in Europe of wood from sustainably managed forests, a small lamp made by craftsmen, and the famous Pale lamp from Georges Store.
This is the selection preparated by Laurine Boubet – design student, decorator in the making.