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Decorating for Allergies

By HHI Staff

As you begin to create your own healthy household, remember that, while color and style are important, your primary decorating consideration should always be the potential health effects of what you put in your home. It’s especially important for people allergic to dust mites to choose items that can be easily and thoroughly cleaned.

The Low-Dust Home

Window treatments should be simple. Good choices are metal or wood blinds or 100%-cotton or linen curtains that can be regularly washed. For rugs, good choices are washable ones you can care for yourself at home.


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Furniture should also be “easy-clean.” Solid-wood or metal pieces are probably the best for seating. Soft furniture items covered in leather can be wiped clean, so they can be good choices too. If you prefer fabric upholstery, choose items with removable, washable, all-cotton slip-covers. Toss pillows should also have removable and washable covers, and afghans or throws should be designed to take repeated launderings.
Simple is Healthy
For accent pieces, avoid small knick-knacks that are dust collectors and are time consuming to clean properly. It may be best to give your lovely, but potentially problematic items, to friends or relatives who do not suffer from allergies or asthma. If you don’t want to part with them, and you can afford it and have the space, consider purchasing a glass-fronted curio cabinet to display them. Better yet, get a custom-made cabinet built of solid wood, without plywood or particleboard panels containing formaldehyde and terpenes, if you are sensitive to these. It should also be noted that frames on art work and mirrors should be simple and unadorned, so they can be dusted quickly.

Those bothered by pollen should not bring cut flowers indoors. Nor should they have flowering plants growing within a home’s living space. For those allergic to mold, it’s probably best to eliminate live potted plants because their soil can be a prime place for fungal growth.


In addition, the shower curtains should be replaced with free-draining, frameless glass doors to minimize places where mold and mildew could grow. If that’s impossible, use washable cotton or hemp duck fabric for a shower curtain and launder it weekly.

Above all, use common sense and have patience. Think about how items could affect you, then buy accordingly. It is possible for you to make a comfortable and attractive home despite the limitations allergies and asthma can sometimes impose, but it will take time and forethought. Eventually though, you will have rooms that anyone, allergic or not, will find appealing.


From Creating a Healthy Household: The Ultimate Guide For Healthier, Safer, Less-Toxic Living, © 2000 by Lynn Marie Bower.



HHI Error Correction Policy

HHI is committed to accuracy of content and correcting information that is incomplete or inaccurate. With our broad scope of coverage of healthful indoor environments, and desire to rapidly publish info to benefit the community, mistakes are inevitable. HHI has established an error correction policy to welcome corrections or enhancements to our information. Please help us improve the quality of our content by contacting with corrections or suggestions for improvement. Each contact will receive a respectful reply.

The Healthy House Institute (HHI), a for-profit educational LLC, provides the information on as a free service to the public. The intent is to disseminate accurate, verified and science-based information on creating healthy home environments.


While an effort is made to ensure the quality of the content and credibility of sources listed on this site, HHI provides no warranty - expressed or implied - and assumes no legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed on or in conjunction with the site. The views and opinions of the authors or originators expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of HHI: its principals, executives, Board members, advisors or affiliates.

Decorating for Allergies:  Created on February 12th, 2007.  Last Modified on February 28th, 2011


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