How to Choose Eco-Friendly and Toxin-Free Paint or Wallpaper for Your Nursery

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Preparing your baby’s nursery can be a wonderful time of planning and dreaming. Many times, that means choosing a paint color or wallpaper (or a combination of both), furnishings, and flooring.

Today, many people are aware that the fumes from paint, wallpaper and carpet can be toxic. Babies, with their tiny, developing systems, are especially vulnerable to toxins in the air and on surfaces they touch with their delicate skin. In order to avoid these poisonous substances, you may choose to decorate baby’s nursery with eco-friendly items.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you seek to create a non-toxic environment for your little one.

Paint

Generally speaking, paint is less expensive than wallpaper. When you look for paints, there are many green options available. The first thing to look for in an eco-friendly paint is a lack of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These are the chemicals that create the fumes and subsequent headaches and respiratory problems that many people experience with conventional paints.

Look for water-based paints with labels that say things like “biodegradable,” “phosphate-free” and, of course, “VOC-free.” While these types of environmentally friendly paints are more expensive, they generally only require one coat due to their rich pigmentation.

Choosing paint over wallpaper does not necessarily limit your design choices. Here are some ideas for things you can do with eco-friendly paint in your baby’s nursery.

* Stencils can be found in a variety of shapes at craft and art stores, or you can cut your own. Stencil designs require little paint and are an economical alternative to wallpaper or borders. Older siblings can help with the stenciling, too.

* Murals can be great fun, and they are completely unique to your baby’s room. This is another project in which an older sibling can participate.

Wallpaper

There are so many beautiful wallpapers available today, and more companies are offering eco-friendly choices. Wallpapering is less messy than painting, and is often faster. When shopping for eco-friendly wallpaper, look for 100% paper that contains no vinyl. Some companies offer wallpaper made from recycled paper.

Consider alternative wall coverings for baby’s room, too, such as rice paper or papyrus. You can also use fabric in lots of creative ways to make a wall cover. Simply tack squares of fabric like hung pictures, or hang a large piece that will cover a whole wall. Just be sure that the fabric is firmly attached to the wall and, if you use tacks, that they are out of baby’s reach.

Family photos and postcards make a creative border.

Look for wallpaper adhesives that are low on VOCs (or, even better, VOC-free). You can also make your own wallpaper paste using flour and water.

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