Sleep Soundly

How to Create a Green and Healthy Bedroom



┬ękash76/istockphoto.com

We do not have much control over our environment when we travel to and from work, grocery shopping, or even out for an evening of enjoyment. Our bedroom is the one place in which we can take control and make it the greenest, healthiest and most peaceful room in our home. The majority of us spend a third of our lives in our bedroom. A bedroom that has clean air, nontoxic furniture and finishes, plus darkness during the night provides our bodies the opportunity to restore its self from our daily encounters with the environment.

Infants and children are much more susceptible to the unsafe chemicals that are typically found in traditional finishes, furniture, fabrics, carpets, and window treatments. If the materials aren’t green, most likely the room is filled with toxic gases. A nontoxic bedroom is crucial for infants and children who need to have a safe and chemical-free environment when just beginning their lives.

To create your healthy bedroom, first carefully make a list of what you will need, next create a budget, project schedule, and purchase the best quality products possible. Keep in mind the following tips when making your purchases.

  • Floors. Wood floors with water borne finish and covered with area rugs made from eco-friendly materials are the best for bedrooms. Wood floors are softer than stone or tile and area rugs help to add a warm and comfortable feeling to a bedroom. Clean area rugs regularly.
  • Walls and Ceilings. Walls and ceilings surfaces need to be nontoxic. Use water-based no-VOC paints, earth plaster or healthy wall coverings. If humidity levels are a concern, then consider breathable surfaces of earth plaster for its ability to absorb and release moisture as needed.
  • Furniture. Purchase furniture that is made from FSC certified or reclaimed solid woods with eco-friendly binders and finished with non-toxic materials. Reuse existing furniture and clean, refinish, repurpose or reupholster. Never purchase anything with particleboard or presswood. These materials can emit formaldehyde for years and is one of the biggest bedroom pollutants. Baby cribs should be finished with nontoxic finishes because teething infants sometimes chew on the rails to relieve pain.lynn hoffman, llcJuly 13, 2012
  • Mattresses and Bedding. Choose natural fiber mattresses and pillows. Traditional mattresses are typically treated with a fire retardant chemical like PBDEs, which can accumulate in humans who are exposed to it and can cause cancer and irregular brain development in children. Replace with natural fiber mattresses. Protect your mattresses, pillows, and comforters with natural fiber covers that can be wash regularly and use only certified organic cotton bed linens.        
  • Window Treatments. Research has revealed that a bedroom should be pitch-black, because light pollution cuts down on the productions of melatonin.  The use of wood and bamboo blinds work well because they block light and are easily cleaned. Fabric window treatments when used with blackout liner do make a room pitch black but require a higher level of maintenance to keep clean
  • Lighting. Use natural lighting when possible and energy-efficient compact fluorescents or LEDs when needed. Select lamps that are simple in design, so they don’t collect dust.
  • Electronics. Keep computers, printers and TVs out of the bedroom and even electric alarm clocks because of the radio frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) they emit. Some studies have linked electromagnetic fields as an impact on our health.  Reduce electropollution by unplugging anything that’s running next to, under, or behind the bed. Use battery operated alarm clocks and other devices that are nearby your head.  Remove infant monitors from the crib and place at least three feet from the baby on a piece of furniture.
  • Clutter. Clutter is stuff that does not have a home. Keep your bedroom clutter free. Less clutter means less dust. Reduce stress by removing any work related reading materials. Make your bedroom your sanctuary.

Always look for these Ecolabels when purchasing new items for your bedroom or home.

1. Green Label/Green Label Plus for carpets and padding

2. Greenguard for furniture, paint, fabrics and hard surface finishes

3. FSC for products made with wood

4. Energy Star for lighting, appliances and more


Lynn HoffmanLynn has more than 25 years interior design experience working in architecture and interior design firms nationally and internationally producing Corporate, Commercial, Civic, Hospitality and Prestigious Residential projects for Fortune 500 and celebrity clients, architects and builders. Through her in-depth experience she has developed the design ability to see potential in all spaces, and to create innovative, customized design solutions that meet the highest standards of efficiency, quality and sophistication. She has been a long-time professional advocate for sustainable and environmentally conscious design. Lynn is the principal of her firm LHD located in Stamford, CT.

Lynn Hoffman, Principal
IIDA, RID, LEED AP ID+C
203.984.4695
lynnhoffmandesign.com