December 29 2011

Interior Design with Recycled and Natural Products: Reducing the Impacts of Outgassing

Recycled furnitureFor our generation of architecture, urban design and sustainability, environmental design is constantly developing, but before upgrading your home to appear contemporary or mimic a more modern design, first contemplate if that decision will adversely affect your health.

By thinking environmentally first, you can avoid the harmful aspects of home design. There is an array of environmentally-friendly options to choose from, including materials made from recycled or natural resources.

  • Carpets, for example, can be made from natural material, such as wool. Though expensive, wool carpets will last longer than most carpets so the cost balances out with quality. For the more contemporary follower, colors will not be a problem, and more importantly, wool material insulates heat and is soft for the floor;
  • As for paints, varnishes and stains, these can all be made from natural ingredients. Companies, such as Eco-Wise and Safecoat, produce water-based paints utilizing water as the primary solvent, greatly reducing the hazardous toxins of using regular paint. Some safe and natural ingredients include:
  • Beeswax: a natural moistener for Casein paint;
  • Boric salts: non-volatile mediums for wood preservation;
  • Clay: a natural mineral used as paint filler;
  • Turpenes: oils from orange juice production used as solvents for resins and waxes.

Taking some of these details into consideration when selecting interior design products does not necessarily suggest replacing everything you already own since that can have harmful effects on health too.

  • Warning: New products, including carpets and paint, not made from natural material can be toxic when bought in bulk. Consequently, the longer you have a product, the better, because it has had the time to outgas the toxins; hence, buying new products can be worse because it contains different types of vinyl, plastics or chemicals that outgas into the floor and walls every month resulting in poisonous toxins in the air.

It is important to think about maxing out a product’s sustainability prior to investing in something new. What products do you own that may produce outgassing effects?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Benjamin Ha

Benjamin Ha recently graduated as an Honors Scholar from New York University with a Bachelor’s in English and American Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing. Prior to Global Site Plans, Ben’s experiences revolved primarily around issues of public health. After realizing that the environment plays a critical role in the effects of public health, his interests gravitated toward understanding the interaction between the social and natural environment. In the near future, he hopes to pursue a Master’s in Environmental Science after obtaining a Global Sustainability Certification at UCLA. Ben is originally from the Bay Area in California, and now resides in Los Angeles.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, December 29th, 2011 at 6:20 pm and is filed under Architecture, Environment, Environmental Design, Housing, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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