There’s something about the month of September that re-ignites a vigour for life. After a long, ambling summer of quintessential holidaying in Cornwall and lots of savouring of special family moments, September seems to reinstate a drive for getting back to routines and re-adapting to a faster pace of life again. A month dedicated to re-evaluating life, it’s no surprise many people decide to move house when September rolls around, whether it be for a fresh start, the desire to relocate or the need to upsize for a growing family.
Something we’ve been researching lately is how to make your home healthier. It might sound odd but we’ve discovered some easy swaps that can really make a difference to life in your home. After all, you spend a lot of your life in it! From reducing toxins to getting a better night’s sleep, read on for our top five home buys to make your new home healthier.
Make your mattress natural
We sleep… a lot. How much exactly, you ask? On average, 25 years! That’s a lot of time spent snuggling up in bed. So why wouldn’t you want to make sure what you’re sleeping on is good for you? The average mattress contains a whole lot of synthetic materials, most of which are considered to be incredibly toxic. To add to that, these ingredients aren’t biodegradable and are often produced in unsustainable ways. A brand we’ve recently discovered is Naturalmat and they do things a little differently. Their mattresses are 100% natural, biodegradable and are even certified by The Soil Association. Using materials like lambs wool, cashmere and organic cotton, they offer breathability and a little eco climate, keeping you warm in winter and cool in the summer. They also sell baby mattresses and cot inserts too so you can get your whole family involved in this easy switch.
Buy a second-hand sofa
This is an interesting one. Aside from the sustainable kudos of buying second hand rather than new, choosing a preloved sofa provides a lot more benefits than simply environmental. New sofas contain a lot of chemicals (just like mattresses can) but they also can contain a lot of materials and fibres that can aggravate or set off allergies. If you’re someone who is particularly allergy prone, the “fall out” particles from a new sofa might be what’s causing your watering eyes scratchy throat. Second hand sofas have been found to release less fibres and chemicals into your home due to being older and more worn. So, when you get the keys to your new home and step foot into your empty living room, why not hit up Ebay or another second hand website and give a home to a preloved slump station?
Use natural furnishings where possible
When accessorising your new home, think about using more natural items and materials to make your home less synthetic and toxic. With bedding, we always choose organic cotton or linen. Both are incredibly soft and breathable and will set you up perfectly for a good slumber. The same goes for rugs. We love sisal or seagrass for a 100% natural option. It’s also recommended to harness the air-purifying power of plants. Yup. Some plants have amazing in-built purifying systems to help clean the air and ward off dust and toxins in your home. The best options to go for are Aloe Vera, Weeping Fig and Chinese Evergreen to name some of our faves. We’re building up quite the collection of indoor plants!
With smartphones, laptops, tablets, tv and artificial light, many of us are completely out of sync with the natural rhythms of the day. Daylight is a natural stimulant that tells the body how it should be feeling (i.e. awake, energetic, sleepy) and the colours of natural light change throughout the day too. Artificial light, on the other hand, tricks the body into thinking it needs to be stimulated and awake which is why people who struggle to wind down in the evening are told to dim the lights to help encourage the body to prepare for sleep. One thing you could look into if you want the lighting in your house to feel as close to what’s going on outside is biodynamic lighting. Essentially, this is a system you can install in your home that works to mimic the cycle of natural daylight, changing colour, intensity and brightness as the day progresses. As well as helping you wind down in the evening, biodynamic lighting can also make it easier for you to wake up in the morning by gradually increasing the warmth and intensity of the light. Some suggest this can improve your wellbeing by balancing hormones like melatonin, serotonin and even the stress hormone, cortisol.
Be picky about your paint
Something everyone has in their home is painted walls. A simple lick of paint has the power to transform a room from dull and stale to warm and inviting. It’s an easy, affordable home improvement but have you ever thought about switching to less toxic paint? If you’ve ever walked into a new build or a recently redecorated home, you’ll notice that fresh paint smell. What you’re smelling is a whole lot of toxins! Many paint brands have very high VOC levels (volatile organic compounds) which is what tends to give you that annoying headache. Known as carcinogens, VOCs are incredibly toxic and are known to cause many health issues. Finding a paint with low VOCs is a must if you’re redecorating or renovating and luckily there are some great brands out there to choose from. Our favourite has to be good old Farrow & Ball, who produce eco-friendly water-based paints with very low VOC levels. The brand has the most beautiful, chalky colours and is often recommended as one of the safest paint formulas to use in children’s rooms. Give us a bit of Hague Blue and Setting Plaster any day of the week!