1. Pleasant Paint
"Be more concerned with the VOC level than the color," is Upton's rule of thumb. Look for low-level or no VOCs, like Harmony by Sherwin Williams or EcoSpec by Benjamin Moore. These paints can also work great for creating murals.
Also, "avoid scrubable wallpaper which contains PVC (Polyvinyl chloride)," says Upton. This paper not only off-gases, but also it can trap moisture in the wall and promote mold growth.
2. Clear the Air
No matter how much you try to keep the indoor air quality good, there's bound to be some pollutants tracked in, so it's a wise investment to buy a quality air purifier. Upton recommends a freestanding model with a HEPA filter. Many of these models now come in a variety of colors, so they can easily blend into your space.
3. Flawless Floors
"The ideal choice for a baby or child's room has to be hardwood," says Upton. Wood floors are easy to clean, fun to play on, and have no off-gassing. Other good alternatives include cork and bamboo flooring. Area rugs help to bring a warm feeling to a room. Tightly woven rugs work well in children's rooms. Wool is best because it is washable and natural. Avoid synthetics like nylon. "If you must have wall-to-wall carpets, make sure the installers off-gas the materials at an off-site locale," adds Upton. "And remember to avoid glue or use a no-VOC glue when installing."
4. Luxurious Linens
"Synthetic and even natural fabrics are doused with phenols and formaldehyde," says Turner. "Phenols are toxic to everyone, there is no real variance in sensitivity and they have actually been banned from use in certain materials." So rather than use polyester, nylon, or even standard cotton, try organic wool and organic cotton.
Available in a variety of colors, organic cotton can be used for crib sheets, bed sheets, comforters, towels, and even clothing. "Organic cotton is great because it is so soft and just feels really good against the body. Plus, neither of these materials will off-gas any harmful chemicals," adds Turner. Bed linens should also have a high thread count, which Upton says will help will cut down on dust and dust mites in bed. She also recommends choosing fabric window treatments rather than plastics such as mini-blinds. "Aside from their cord danger, mini-blinds are made out of PVC, which when heated by the sun has been shown to off-gas," says Upton.