Interiors

Cleaning up your cleaning products around the home

We all know that chemicals are wreaking havoc on the environment, not to mention our own health. But sometimes, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where they’re coming from, especially within our own homes.

Recent research has shown many household cleaning items are to blame, with products like oven cleaner and shampoo releasing volatile organic compounds. Also known as VOCs, the amount released by household cleaners accounts for around half of VOCs in the planet’s atmosphere.

If you’re looking to curtail the amount of chemicals in your home, you’re in the right place. We’ve teamed up with Compost Direct, suppliers of core gardening materials such as mulch, to look at the impact of domestic chemicals and how to address them.

 

Chemicals in the home

We’re becoming increasingly aware of the amount of chemicals in our home. Although some are on their way to be banned, there are others that remain on our supermarket shelves. Examples of these include:

  • Garden pesticides — neonicotinoid pesticides put both honeybees and wild bees at risk. Although, the UK government has said it will support a complete ban on the outdoor use of bee-harming chemicals.
  • Benzene — this is a colourless chemical that is used to make lubricants, rubbers, dyes and detergents. It can be harmful with high exposure, as it leads to cells not working correctly.
  • Hand soap — some contain the chemical triclosan, which has been found to affect thyroid hormones in animal studies and possibly contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs.
  • Researchers from the University of Iowa discovered that some kitchen cabinets emit PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl compounds), chemicals which are under investigation as causes of cancer.
  • Formaldehyde — this is found in varnishes and floor finishes and can cause sickness and long-lasting problems after high exposure.

Mixing some domestic chemicals can be dangerous too The mixture of bleach and rubbing alcohol, for example, can create toxic chloroform and knock you unconscious — it’s always a good idea to read the label and be cautious when dealing with these sorts of products.

Alternatives

As they’re present in most everyday products, chemicals can be very difficult to avoid altogether. So, what actions can we take?

A good practice would be to check the labels of items you buy. Look out for the harmful ingredients that we’ve mentioned above and try to stay clear of them. As their dangerous properties have become more talked about, there are now many organic alternatives that you can buy for those sorts of products. Although these might have a higher price tag, it could be worth it in the long run.

Research shows that some plants can help combat chemicals in the air. Take a look at the following for example:

  • NASA reported that pineapple plants can improve air quality and help reduce snoring.
  • Red-edged Dracaena rids the air of chemicals including xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.
  • Peace Lily can reduce toxins such as benzene, ammonia, ethyl and acetone and prevent the toxins from spreading across rooms. Research found that this plant can improve air quality by as much as 60%!

Sometimes, using products that give off strong fumes is unavoidable. In these instances, make sure the room is well ventilated, and keep humidity levels controlled with a dehumidifier where needed.

Making your staircase into a feature of your home

A stair case for me isn’t just about getting from one floor to the next, it’s a focal point. It could be in your home, in an office, hotels or in the shopping centres. Regardless of where that stair case is it is something that peoples eyes are drawn to when they enter a building, or even those on the exterior of buildings. Peoples reactions will either be, wow look at that staircase or more negative and for me it’s all about making interiors a positive, just imagine them in wedding photography.

Making our staircase into a feature

In our house, we currently have a spilt level staircase, it runs up to the children’s bedroom in the roof of our house. We however are hoping to move house every soon and the house we want to live in has the option for adding a loft conversion. It would give us that extra room, for when people come to stay with us. I have been looking staircase options for leading up to the top floor. We thought the room could become our son’s space, as he gets older he will need that bit more. A place for his friends to come and hang out, somewhere they can ‘chill’ and watch a film or play the xbox. I spotted a gorgeous metal spiral staircase from Fontanot stairs designers it would be space saving but also give the teenage den a modern twist, making our staircase into a feature of the home.

What do you think? I love the bright colour of the stairs, you could go for something a bit different, really get people talking about your staircase. Why not add a pop of colour into your home?

All the way up our staircase, we have made it into a feature wall covered in photographs of the children, family members, friends it even has the children’s ‘art work’ framed and dotted between the photographs. Whenever people come round they are always looking to see what has been added to the wall. It really does make walking up and down the stairs more interesting.

External staircase

Like I said before, a staircase has so much possibility. It’s not often you see exterior staircases, or maybe it’s that I’m just not looking for them. However, the venue that we got married in almost 8 years ago, had the most gorgeous barn conversion attached that was used for accommodating some of our guests. The Bridal Suite was the whole of the top of the barn, that had the most beautiful external metal staircases at either end of the building. It would have made for fabulous wedding photographs if it hadn’t of been raining at the start of the day. Actually any staircases make for amazing wedding photography.

Do you like to make a feature of your staircase? Or is it just a way of getting from floor to floor within your home? Do you have a gorgeous wedding photograph of you using a staircase, if so I would love to see it.

 

*This is a collaborative post. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Perfect patterns and pristine prints for your home this Summer

Now that summer is well and truly in full swing, it seems a good idea to refresh some of the prints and patterns in your home. After a big spring clean there is nothing better than changing up some of the demure decor in your beautiful home. Your personal style seems to change constantly depending on the latest trends, your mood and even the season. Now would be the ideal time to change everything up a little bit and spruce up your styles for summer. From fabulous floral prints to marvellous metallic touches, make your home the glamorous pad it deserves to be with a handful of these innovative and inspirational ideas.

Fine Florals

Patterns and Pristine Prints For Your Home

The truth is that floral patterns will never go out of style, homes that are bursting with floral delights are just so elegant and timeless. If you like making a bold statement with your styles then don’t shy away from floral patterns for big features in your home. A floral armchair would make a beautiful addition to your living room and roller blinds with floral pattern will act as a unique aspect of any room in your home. When it comes to florals the bolder and brighter the better, so choose your favourite accessory and make a statement.

Sassy Stripes

Nautical themes and striking stripes are always an ageless design that will always be welcome in your home. From striped bed sheets to statement cushions, you could really go to town with this kind of pattern. Choose eye catching and complementary colours when choosing your striped accessories for example, blue and white are a perfect combination as well as pastels such as pink, green and blue. Make sure everything makes sense and ties in well with your overall home décor theme.

Mighty and Metallic

You might not have seen the huge rush for metallic designs at the moment, but they are certainly taking the catwalk by storm, as well as the interior design magazines. A metallic silver or gold accessory in your home will always make the perfect bold statement, whether it’s a striking vase or even a small side table. You can incorporate this new trend into your home using a number of clever and innovative techniques.

Marvellous Mutes

Normally you run by the notion of ‘bold is better,’ but you might want to rethink this idea over summer. Muted tones and neutral colours are making a huge comeback into the world of interior design, so it’s time to adopt the less is more attitude. By all means, you can use florals and stripes as statement features, but it is important to offset these with minimal designs and neutral colours such as greys, creams and beiges. Choose your striking element and partner it up with something a little plainer to make it stand out even more.

So spice up your patterns and prints this summer and make a bold statement with floral blinds or marvellous muted wallpaper; use your creativity to make a huge impact on your home for a fabulously spruced abode.