Creating a chemical free playroom or kid’s room for your child can be easy and fun when you have the right resources. We have put together some helpful tips to consider when creating a fun and safe play area for your child.
Eco-friendly flooring can be a great way to start off a green playroom. The best options for your child and the environment include: cork flooring, wood flooring and bamboo flooring. Cork flooring is available at many home stores and is produced sustainably, without damaging the tree, by trimming the bark. Wood flooring is another good option as there are many options and it is widely available. If you choose wood flooring, make sure is it FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified. Bamboo flooring provides the same timeless look as wood, is a highly renewable resource, and is harder than its wood flooring counterpart. Another great benefit about cork, wood, or bamboo flooring is they can be easily transitioned when the room is needed for another purpose after the kids are gone. You could even extend the look into other areas of the home for a remodel project.
Rugs and Play Mats
Floor coverings provide a great way to make defined areas for play or create a soft landing pad. Floor coverings can bring together a room’s color scheme and make an impact on the overall room design! When you are looking for floor coverings for your child’s room, choose PVC-free play mats (typically soy foam) and natural fiber rugs including: wool, jute, sisal, hemp, or bamboo.
We have all heard stories about the chemicals that can be hiding in paint. The good news is—there are many safe options available on the market today. Eco-friendly options for “standard” paint can be found by looking on the labels at your local store for low or zero-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paints. Other, more eco-friendly options are becoming easier to find, such as milk and clay paints. Clay paints are available in a variety or tones and can be brightened by adding tints. Clay paint can be used like any conventional paint. Milk paint is another great option, which typically comes in powder form and can be customized by you ranging from full coverage to a wash thickness! Before going to the paint store, make sure to get an estimate for the amount of paint needed for your child’s playroom by measuring the room. This will help save space in storage areas and will help the environment, too!
Fear not, there are even great eco-friendly options for window coverings. Natural fibers, such as bamboo, rattan, hemp, sisal, or jute, will help promote healthy air quality and solar window panels can help reduce energy costs. Make sure the solar shades are not made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride).
Furnishings can really pull together a room and are oh-so-very practical. Some furniture you might be considering for your child’s room are: toy boxes, bookcases, table and chair sets, and storage units. Kid’s furniture made from sustainably harvested wood can be used for generations and can have extended use past childhood. Make sure the manufacturer is using low or zero-VOC paints and finished and non-toxic glues in construction. There are also other green kid’s furniture options using repurposed and recycled materials.
Ok, here’s the fun part. Well, the rest is fun too, but this is the goal, where your kids can dive in and have some fun! Choosing the right toys does not have to be challenging. There are plenty of manufacturers who have stepped up to the plate when it comes to producing sustainable, safe children’s products. Here are some things to look for: FSC certified wood (at minimum), soy or water based inks, non-toxic glues and finishes and recycled materials. If you want to take it a step further, make sure the manufacturer has a sustainability policy or environmental program where they give back and do their part to reduce our environmental impact. If they have gone to great lengths, you can rest easy knowing there are making every effort to produce a safe products for your children!
This room is going to be used and loved by your children (and their friends). It is going to get messy, so make sure it looks and smells clean, not like chemicals, when the kids return for more play time! There are some great non-toxic options available from retailers or you can jump on the internet for a simple DIY cleaning recipe. Distilled vinegar goes a long way as an effective cleaning agent and can be enhanced by using tea tree oil, which is an anti-fungal agent and can be found with other essential oils. Baking soda is a very effective cleaning product for odors and stains and can be used as a scrubbing agent. It’s simple and easy to use household products for all your cleaning purposes!
Don’t overwhelm yourself with options and obligations; begin by taking small steps towards your ultimate goal. Any change towards an eco-friendly space for your children will be a healthy choice for your family and the environment. Breathe easy.