Green your way to a healthy home
A recent study by trade show organizer and textile trend watcher Messe Frankfurt listed five main trends for the consumer of the future. Three of those (soft-health identity, sustainable living and branded workstyles) reveal important ways that people view the term “green” in relation to their homes.
The report suggests that “green” products are important when they provide extra comfort and therapeutic effects. “Soft health” refers to the way people de-stress and want therapeutic spaces. Similarly, consumers are looking for a comfortable place to work and play, meaning a higher demand for ergonomic spaces in and out of the office.
“I definitely can see an interest that’s growing in the 20-some years I’ve been doing this,” says Amy Todisco, a Vermont-based green living expert and consultant. “I used to feel sort of on the fringe. There’s much more awareness to what [green] even means.”
It can be as simple as paying greater attention to furniture design, household products and building projects.
Ergonomic products, for example, are designed with the specific needs of the body in mind. While ergonomic workspaces have always been popular, you can introduce ergonomic trends into your home too. Ergonomic kitchen knives and gardening tools will minimize repetitive stress on your body, and ergonomic living room furniture makes daily lounging more comfortable.
Klein Design in Gloucester, Mass., has been producing ergonomic chairs for more than 35 years. “Our main customers, they’re going for health and for feel-good,” co-owner Brigitte Klein says. Klein offers furniture with a lightweight wooden frame and supports for the back and head. “They have learned that the furniture they have did not help their back problems, and so that’s the main issue, making it comfortable.”
“Soft health” comes into play especially when it comes to a consumer’s bath and beauty regimen. Many fragrant products, like perfume, are made with synthetic ingredients, which can exacerbate allergies and asthma, says Zorica Denton, founder and owner of Zorica of Malibu (Calif.) Skin Care. Denton created her bath and body line using simple, natural ingredients that she uses based on her background in chemistry. “Obviously, what we put on our skin is going into our bodies,” Denton says. She recommends ingredients like organic olive oil, vitamin E, green tea extract and grapeseed oil.
A healthy and therapeutic way to keep your home fragrant is to use essential oils, which can be found in high-end health food stores. For example, Denton suggests using a drop of essential oil in with unscented laundry detergent to freshen clothes. And for a DIY non-toxic room fragrance, pour lavender essential oil and a bit of lemon in a spray bottle and shake, she says.
To eliminate chemicals in household products, green consultant Todisco recommends returning to an old-school approach. “A lot of people, maybe more my grandmother’s generation, used baking soda and lemon juice to clean, and that has really come back,” she says. “You don’t need the antibacterial in the soap.”
A natural alternative to dishwashing soap is to soak dishes in baking soda and apple cider vinegar, Denton says.
And by choosing to live in a healthy home, you’re doing your part for the environment too. “I believe that there are so many aspects to our environment that we can’t control,” Todisco says. “The things that we can control, if we can reduce our exposure, it gives our body a chance to renew and stay healthier.”
Something as simple as a good water filter for your kitchen and bathrooms is just another way to achieve a healthy home, Todisco says.
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