One of the first choice anyone with a roof over their head makes is decorating the space they call home and considering "How will I make this space my own?" The second question is usually, "How much will it cost?" and an often overlooked question should be,
"Is it safe?"
Indoor air is three times more polluted than outdoor air, and according to the EPA, is considered one of the top 5 hazards to human health. Furniture, paint, and even the fabrics used in decorating release a continual flow of vapors and toxins into the air. Petroleum based fabrics or coatings create fumes in the house and such toxins can cause an array of health problems from insomnia and headaches, to breathing issues. Such toxins already bombard people and are routinely unregulated by the government.
Diligent consumers can prevent such issues with thoughtful purchases. Consider the fabrics you choose carefully, and make an effort to use natural, earth friendly textiles, such as cotton, linen or silk rather than synthetic chemical or petroleum based fabric.
Paints and finishes are another source if toxic fumes. Paints and finishes release low level emissions into the air for years after application. Consumer demand as well as government regulations have paint companies reformulating their product so that now most companies manufacture a low VOC (volatile organic compound) paint. Such paints are durable, cost-effective and less harmful to human and environmental health.
Furniture is a final consideration when filling indoor space. In short, avoid PVC, other plastics, high-emitting particleboard, polyurethane foam and synthetic fibers for upholstery, toxic finishes and glues.
With diligence, indoor space can be a haven, not a soup of toxic dangers. Choose carefully and do a bit of research before spending any money on unsafe decor.