Is it time to decorate the nursery? You want the best for your little one, so why not go natural and do what you can to avoid using materials containing harmful chemicals? From floors and walls to dolls and dressers, there are lots of ways to make your baby’s room both safe and super cute. Here are a few ideas to get you started using natural materials in your soon-to-be eco-friendly baby nursery decor.
Eco-friendly baby nursery: The basics
Opt for sustainable furniture
If you didn’t luck out on good old-fashioned hand-me-downs, you’re probably in the market for some brand-new baby room essentials. Fortunately, there are plenty of eco-conscious companies out there making furniture that’ll help you sleep easier at night because they use sustainable FSC-certified wood, low-VOC paint and 100 percent nontoxic or food-grade materials and finishes. These safely designed furnishings mean your baby will be surrounded, sleeping on (sometimes drooling on) materials that are totally A-OK.
Pick the purest paint
Getting the wall decor right is important not only for setting the tone for a soothing atmosphere, but also for making sure your sweet one is surrounded by natural and safe materials. Many paints contain harmful substances, plus some older homes may have walls covered in lead paint. If the latter is the case, consult a pro on the best, safest ways to remove the paint so your home can be safe from the effects of lead poisoning. Otherwise, give the walls a fresh and healthy coat (or two) of low- or zero-VOC paint. Virtually all paint manufacturers offer eco-friendly paint in low- or zero-VOC varieties these days.
When it comes to eco-friendly baby nursery decor, the possibilities are infinite. For example, go to the thrift store and grab some cheap frames. Paint them (with eco-friendly paint, of course) and fill in with anything: an image you found online, family photos, local art or your kids’ art. Make your own pennant banner with vintage storybook pages or an antique map for a cheerful splash of quirk. Or go to Etsy and sift through the countless sellers who create natural baby room decor.
Clean up your floors
If possible, avoid wall-to-wall carpeting, as carpets can be full of harmful chemicals you don’t want your tot rolling around on. Instead, beatify the natural wooden flooring beneath while also making your floor a lot easier to clean. Carpets easily trap tons of dust and allergens every day, so going bare is your safest bet. If you don’t have hardwoods, consider covering the carpet with an organic rug.
Shop for an organic mattress
Don’t forget that while your naturally made crib is great, you also want your baby to rest upon an organic cloud-like mattress. Most mattresses contain toxic materials — the filling is made of petroleum, so it’s terribly unsafe and highly flammable. And the waterproof plastic glazing on mattresses is vinyl chloride and is environmentally unfriendly and dangerously toxic. You even have to be careful about which organic ones you buy, since many of those still use the vinyl coating. To be safe, find a mattress that is certified by Global Organic Textile Standard.
Choose nontoxic toys
Find a thift store shelf and decorate it with toys your child can safely play with. From wooden toy trucks to organic, handmade dolls, there are plenty of products out there that you can trust. If you’re still on Etsy, remember using key phrases like “organic baby” will give you plenty of options.
- Remember that eco-friendly baby nursery decor involves more than just safe materials. Try repurposing, too.
- Get a thrifted and painted dresser that can double as a changing table.
- Look around and think creatively about items you already own, like a tall shelf that could be placed on its side on the floor to use as cubbyholes for storing toys.
- Instead of adding a chair or sofa to the nursery, use a daybed for tired parents when the baby’s young that can become the child’s big-girl or big-boy bed when they’re older.
- Decorate and paint in not-so-cutesy colors so you won’t have to replace a coat of paint or buy new stuff when your child gets too old for Winnie the Pooh, for example.
What kinds of natural components will you integrate into your little one’s new nursery? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.
About the author: Kelly Rae Smith writes for Shutterfly.com on topics that include sustainable home decor and how to incorporate sustainability into a home and family setting, including families with newborns. To see a variety of nursery-related ideas like the ones in Kelly’s article, click here.
Feature image credit: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock