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  • Zara

My top 5 ways we created our eco-friendly, non-toxic nursery

Updated: May 6, 2023

Last June our first baby, Sienna, arrived in the world, and in the build up to her arrival Ben and I set about creating and designing the perfect space for her that would become her nursery. Lets just say prior to us beginning our project, her now bedroom, was, quite frankly a dumping ground and so this has really been quite the transformation from chaos, to calm, tranquil and most importantly, for the purposes of this blog, eco friendly and non toxic!

With my love for sustainability and reducing waste within the world of furniture and interiors, combined with Ben’s passion for natural health, it was inevitable that we would create a nursery for our baby that would combine both of these passions, and what better project to inject these loves into than for something for our future child!

So, with these topics ever more important in todays society, I thought I’d put together my top ways in which we managed to achieve our goal as it may be of interest to any expectant parents, not to mention anyone who already has children. I must say, from a health perspective, completing this project has been a real eye opener for me, I’ve certainly learnt a lot, some things that were really quite shocking. So have a read on, and I hope that you find it useful.

1. We chose a non toxic, natural paint

We were lucky enough to team up with an incredible paint company, Graphenstone, to complete Sienna’s nursery. Graphenstone’s paint is completely natural and only has, literally trace (0.1%) VOC’s. They are chemical and preservative free and actually help to purify the air by absorbing CO2 and other toxins!!! They are crucially, for this project, nursery and toy safe! It occurred to me when designing this space, the importance of using a safe, non toxic paint considering that Sienna would be surrounded by whatever paint we used on each wall, the ceiling, and the upcycled furniture that we chose, and had we have gone with some of the more traditional paints that are available on the market that still contain high levels of VOC’s, she would then be constantly breathing in the chemical fumes that are released from them for months after application! If I’m honest, prior to coming across Graphenstone a few months before, it had never really occurred to me how important it was to choose safe paints, especially within our homes. It often feels like a given that when we paint a room, it will smell of paint fumes for a while after, some people I know, claim to like the smell, it evokes a feeling of freshness knowing your walls are freshly painted I guess. However, there is a lack of understanding that those freshly painted fumes are actually really quite damaging for your health! Graphenstone’s colours are really beautiful and cover the full spectrum of colour whether you’re looking for a crisp white, through to bold reds, blues and deep blacks. I wanted to use very tranquil, calming colours, that also tied in with the woodland theme that we have infused into her room. Therefore, we chose White Linen for the walls, Vintage (that we had leftover from our bedroom project) for some of the furniture and her mural, Ashen and Ardennes which were used for her mural and other details, such as her upcycled gallery wall frames. To have a look at Graphenstone and find out more about a safer way to paint your home click here.

Sienna's Upcycled £5 Bedside Table

2. All of Sienna’s furniture is second hand & upcycled

We sourced every item of furniture second hand & upcycled each piece where needed. This helps

further to reduce waste, as opposed to buying new, but also, did you know that pieces of furniture & homeware that are made using materials such as MDF emit chemical gases when new from the adhesives used to produce them? It’s a process called off gassing that I never knew about until this project, and it can last for a few years! Essentially it means that buying new furniture that isn’t solid wood will emit potentially harmful gases into your home, which in turn you & your family breathe in! So from a health perspective, buying any furniture second hand will mean that chances are the off gassing process will have already happened. There are many other reasons why purchasing second hand pieces is beneficial. You can source items that are so much more individual & unique, especially when buying upcycled pieces, but there is also the cost benefit when buying second hand items that haven’t needed professional craftsmanship to refurbish them, for example via Facebook market place. I picked up Sienna’s beside table from a seller on there for £5 as one example!

Fearnley The Fern

3. We introduced some ferns into her bedroom

We love having plants around our home, Ben would have even more if we had more space, so naturally, Sienna was going to have at least one in her bedroom. We chose ferns for her room which we affectionately named Fearnley (after Bens love for a certain celebrity chef), Fergus & Fleur, named after a old haunt of mine & Ben’s that we used to frequent, long before we knew each other, but probably crossing paths most weeks! The ferns coincide perfectly with the woodland theme of Siennas room but they also have amazing air purifying qualities. They are great in shadey spots so they could pretty much be any where in her room. Im now just having to find a new place for Fearnley away from the floor as the little lady is starting to get on the move & he won’t stand a chance with her little fingers!

4. We chose natural carpet

We wanted to add carpet to Siennas bedroom as we decided it felt cosier, and if I’m honest, it makes less noise when you’re popping in to check on them if they're asleep. For this we chose, guess what, the most chemical free natural option we could find, being a 100% wool carpet from Tapi Carpets, and Ben managed to source a 100% wool underlay as well. We went for this option as, much like the furniture, new carpets made using more man made materials also off gas. The only downside to using a pure wool carpet is a very slight risk of attracting moths, but we chose to take that risk. The pros far out weighed that one con! I also sourced a small rug for the floor which is natural jute with cotton tassels, so again making use of natural materials.

Image taken from Little Green Sheep

5. We went green & eco on siennas mattress!

Where more would you want to avoid toxic chemicals than where your baby sleeps?! Most traditional mattresses are made using man made synthetic foam, and are treated using fire retardant chemical sprays that are inhaled when your baby lies on it! For Sienna’s mattress and her mattress protector, for both her Next to me crib and her current cot mattress, we came across a company called Little Green Sheep who produce organic, natural, handmade mattresses, from tiny first cribs, to cots and up to adult size mattresses! They produce mattresses that are size compatible to many branded cribs, Moses baskets & cots such as Mamas & Papas, Chicco and Mothercare. Little Green Sheep’s mattresses are created using natural springy coconut coir, cotton and natural wool, which I learnt is actually naturally fire proof, allowing these mattresses to pass necessary fire regulations. There are so many other reasons to use a natural mattress, such as wool helping baby to regulate their temperature, which they aren’t able to do in the early months. To check them out, click here. I’m officially a convert!

Made by Daniella at Sew'n'Stitch
Sienna's Bespoke Curtain

So there are my top 5 ways that Ben and I were able to achieve our goal of creating a nursery for Sienna that was beautiful, but sustainable, and most importantly, as non toxic and chemical free as we could make it. It truly was the biggest labour of love that was worth every hour spent working on, researching, learning & sourcing. I hope that you find our learnings useful too. I have put all the information you find here into our latest Youtube video that you can watch here.

If you don’t already, please connect with me over on my Instagram and Youtube and get in contact if you’d like any more information on anything I have included in this blog. If you’re reading this and are an expectant or new parent, then congratulations, I wish you all the happiness in the world with your new little one! Here’s to creating safer, beautiful spaces for our babies! ZB x


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