green furniture and decorating ideas

Healthiest Home on the Block, Part 4: The Living Room

Choosing the right type of paint, color, and decor can create a room full of positive energy—without raising your energy bill.

Healthiest Home on the Block, Part 4: The Living Room

The chemical content of your couch could scare you.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—If the kitchen is the heart of your home, maybe the living room is the soul. It’s the place to entertain guests, watch TV, listen to music, or just hang out and relax. With so much going on, it’s well worth the time and effort to make your living room a healthy environment. Here are some suggestions:

The Color. The living room is a gathering space, so it makes good sense to cover the walls with calming colors. Consider browns (security), oranges (fun and joy), and greens (rejuvenating) to create a welcoming atmosphere. Just be sure to pick low- or no-VOC paints. VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, can waft from certain paints and pollute your indoor air. Safer paints for your air include Benjamin Moore’s Aura or Eco Spec lines, Sherwin-Williams Duration Home Interior Latex paint, Pure Performance from Pittsburgh Paints, or the all-natural Real Milk Paint.

The Couch. Most couches you’ll find at furniture stores are coated with harmful chemicals like brominated flame retardants. You can get your hands on ecofreindly couches with safe flame retardant properties (wool is naturally flame retardant, for example), but they often costs a minimum of $2,000. If you don’t have that much spare cash, look to IKEA couches and loveseats for a safe, cheaper alternative. You could also consider a natural-fiber slipcover, so you don’t have to have skin-to-surface contact with your couch.

Other Furniture. Entertainment centers and end tables are usually found in living rooms, and if you take a minute to look at yours, you might find that it looks like wood, but actually is made of particleboard. This type of construction often uses formaldehyde-containing glues. Since formaldehyde is a carcinogen, it’s a good idea to find low- or no-VOC sealant (AFM brand sealers are a good choice) to keep the toxins inside the furniture. You can also hunt for used furniture, which may have already released its toxins, at an antique store.


Published on: July 17, 2009

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There's no doubt, the whole

There's no doubt, the whole house deserves the same attention when it comes to choosing eco-friendly solutions. On my last remodeling project greening my home was part of the plan so I started adding modifications starting from the living-room couch and ending with the new vanity styles, it was a challenge for me but I am happy with the outcome.

For me and my family, the

For me and my family, the living room is the most important room, because here is were we spend the most time together. From once in a while, we like to redecorate it in order to "change the air" and to boost ourselves with fresh energy. This year we were out of new ideas, so we turned to the McCaleb Construction team for a new scenery in our favorite room. We changed the couch and the color of the walls, as you mentioned here as well, and I may say that we felt like in a brand new home.

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