How Interior Design Can Improve Poor Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality can take a real hit during winter months. Cooler weather means windows and doors stay closed. Shorter days mean more time indoors. It also happens to be peak cold and flu season. Contaminates come in and become trapped. Children are especially at risk for illness from poor air quality. Fresh air is critical to staying healthy during the winter. But, how do you improve your home’s indoor environmental quality without allowing heat to escape? Here are 5 ways you can keep your family, and your home, healthy this winter.

#1 Bring in Air Cleaning Plants

Not only do plants add warmth and character to any interior, they also help purify the air, some better than others. Good air purifying plants absorb carbon dioxide and formaldehyde while also releasing oxygen. My favorite tree right now happens to also be a great air purifier: the Fiddle Fig tree seen above. However, they do need special care. My friends over at Apartment Therapy did a great blog post on how to maintain a fiddle fig tree.  Here is a list of 10 plants that help purify the air. 

Photo via Apartment Therapy

#2 Create a “Shoe Free” Home

Shoes are a major source of toxic particles and certainly something you want to keep out of your home. A recent report found 66 million organisms on the bottom of pedestrian shoes…that’s more than a toilet seat! This policy is even more important to households with young children who play on the floor. The same report indicated that kids under two put their hands in their mouths an average of 80 times an hour.

It can be a hard habit to break, but a shoe-free home is far cleaner than a home that consistently allows shoe traffic inside. Here are a few ways to jump start your shoe-free home.

(A) Signage - Friendly reminders for your guests prevent awkward moments

Image :: Etsy

(B) Shoe Storage  - Create a place to access everyday shoes right at the front door. Ikea offers several affordable shoe storage options. My favorite is the Hemnes Shoe Cabinet that is narrow and offers a small top drawer for emptying your pockets.

Image :: Ikea

(C) Be flexible - Decide in advance if you will enforce your guests to participate in your shoe-free policy. Even blatant cues, such as a row of shoes at the front door or a sign, may go unnoticed. You can decide if you’re comfortable asking guests to remove their shoes or making an exception. Keep in mind that some people may suffer from embarrassing foot issues which could make for an awkward moment. We relax our shoe-free policy during parties knowing we will clean the floors the next day. Our white rug disagrees with our decision.

#3 Shop for stylish Air Purifiers

You may decide to go a step further and buy an indoor air purifier. However, many on the market are bulky and unattractive. Conway offers a variety of slim and attractive air purifiers.

Image :: Conway

#4 Remove Wall-to-wall Carpet

Carpet can add softness and warmth to a room. But, wall-to-wall carpeting “acts as a reservoir for dust, dirt, pollen, mold spores, pesticides and other materials which may originate indoors or be brought into the indoor environment from outside.” Source: EPA

If possible, remove wall-to-wall carpet and opt for a resilient or wood floor instead. Here are tips on selecting eco-friendly flooring. Instead, add warmth through rugs that can be thoroughly cleaned. This is also a good time to consider installing radiant heated floors. They are considerably more efficient that forced air heating. Here is a great article on how to decide if radiant heat is right for your home.

See carpetrecovery.org for how to recycle your old carpet.

If removing your carpet isn’t an option, be sure to vacuum your carpets at least 3 times a week with a vacuum that has a high quality HEPA filter. You can also consider removing carpet just from the main entry.

Image ::  Houzz

#5 STOP Using Toxic Household “Fresheners”

Typical store bought room fresheners are chemical laden formulas that should not be used to scent your home, no matter what the manufacturer's claim. It's so easy - and not to mention cheaper - to make your own. BONUS >>  While you’re at it, make extras that become gifts for teachers, friends, or co-workers!

Recipe from I’m Simply Me

// Ingredients //

2c water

1/4c vinegar

1tbsp baking soda

10-12 drops of essential oil

Spray Bottle

Mix the vinegar and baking soda, allowing them to react. I recommend using a glass bowl with a spout. Add the baking soda slowly at first, so that it doesn’t overflow. Once those are mixed, add the water and stir. Finally, I drop in the essential oil and stir again. Pour into a spray bottle. Shake before each use. This is so simple!

The lovely people at Style Me Pretty have a great set of free downloadable labels.

Image and labels via Style me Pretty

Breath easy friends! Studio 7 Creative is a full-service interior design studio dedicated to helping you create a space that is happy, healthy + hip.  Learn all the ways I call help you transform your home.