Monday, October 20, 2008

Safe decorating

In this week’s baby bargainista column, Jenny shares her tips for choosing safe paints for her pre-schooler’s bedroom.

I’ve posted before about how paranoid I can become when it comes to the health of my babies, both born and unborn, so it’s likely no surprise to you that when the time came recently for us to redecorate our 4-year-old’s room and turn our “den” into a nursery, safety from toxic compounds was foremost in my mind.

In particular, paint and its off-gassing of VOCs was of primary concern for me, since
1. I’m pregnant and exposure to paint fumes is contraindicated above almost all other VOCs; and,
2. we couldn’t afford to stay anywhere but at home while the painting was going on.

Luckily for me, there are a number of low- and no-VOC paints now available to fretful parents like myself. Home Depot carries a line called Freshaire that promises no VOCs in the base or colorant, and no paint fumes. My neighborhood paint supply store, Reim Custom Paints, also carries their own brand. The color choices for both are as broad-ranging as any other brand of paint so that you don’t feel limited in your décor options.

And I can personally attest to the fact that the paint fumes are, if not completely absent, minimal. We chose a lovely light lavender hue for our 4-year-old’s room, with a deeper purple accent wall (purple is her favorite color). This required 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint to cover the original wall color (an obnoxiously bright orange – a legacy from the previous homeowners), but despite these multiple applications, the smell was barely noticeable.

What about you? What’s your safety obsession these days?

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