My interior design firm is service-driven, not sales-driven. Since we endeavor to serve clients for a lifetime we consider their future needs as much as their current needs. We’ve designed rooms (and homes) for clients who are having children, adding pets, downsizing, and transitioning into assisted living facilities while helping them prepare to sell their homes.
As temperatures rise and the spring thaw approaches, robins will arrive along with pollen and allergens. Last week a former client contacted me about helping her create and decorate a master bedroom retreat. Though not an uncommon request, this one was different. She was recently hospitalized with a severe case of undiagnosed asthma. Consequently she must create a home environment that supports her health; since it is cost prohibitive to do the entire home, I suggested starting with her master bedroom to act as a refuge for her, where she can rejuvenate and regenerate. After all, our bedrooms are places where we spend a significant amount of time.
With this in mind, here are some tips for creating a healthy sleeping environment for allergy and asthma sufferers.
1. Remove it. When we get out of bed on a chilly Vermont morning, our feet enjoy being greeted by a cozy carpet. But in reality carpeting is terrible for asthma and allergy sufferers. Particles like pet dander, dust mites and pollen get trapped in the carpet fibers and even regular vacuuming won’t remove them entirely. A better option is wood or laminate flooring. It allows for easy cleaning and easier breathing.
2. Replace it. If you crave room-darkening window treatments for your bedroom, I recommend replacing heavy fabric drapery treatments with wood blinds, shutters or specialized honeycomb shades. We carry an extensive line of window treatments that are easy to clean and environmentally friendly, including a line of insulating honeycomb shades that are made out of recycled water bottles. You can simply wipe them clean with a cloth.
3. Switch it. The furnishings in your bedroom should be streamlined and simple. With fewer creases and crevices in your room, there are fewer places for dust and allergens to hide. While many clients like to add ‘glamour’ to master suites, we can achieve that without heavy furniture, fabric tufting and draperies.
4. Wash it. All of your bedding – from the decorative throw pillows to the duvet – should be removable and machine washable. It’s much more hygienic and cost effective than dry cleaning, especially if pets share your bedroom. If you have an upholstered headboard or other upholstered furniture in your bedroom, consider getting slipcovers made so you can launder them. If you’re purchasing new furniture, I suggest using leather or faux leather. Leather adds warmth, texture and will not harbor allergens like fabric.
5. Conceal it. Invest in bedside tables that have ample interior storage. This will allow you to store your bedside amenities like tissues, books, reading glasses and hand lotion where it is easily accessible but kept away from the dust.
6. Skip it. When redecorating a space for people with respiratory problems, it’s imperative to use products that have no VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and do not off-gas. Some products seem innocent but the off-gassing creates an extremely toxic environment. VOCs shouldn’t preclude you from ordering the furniture that best fits your needs, but be sure to request low or no-emitting finishes, components, and upholstery.
As a full-service interior design firm in Vermont, we help our clients cook better, entertain better, sleep better, relax better, live better and now BREATHE better!
Photos: Houzz; Earth Safe