10 Tips for a Natural Nursery

Tips for a Natural Nursery

Getting ready to welcome a new baby into the world? When your little one arrives, you are going to be spending a lot of time in the nursery, so focus on making it a place that both of you will enjoy. Read on for 10 tips to create a healthy, simple, beautiful nursery.

1. Choose a soothing color palette. Color goes such a long way to setting the mood of a space, and in the nursery, the mood you want is peaceful. Loud prints and bright colors are great for playtime, but in baby’s sleeping area consider restful hues like soft blues, grays, lavender, and white.

2. Stick with a few well-chosen toys & books. There will be many years ahead for your child to accumulate toys…you don’t need to start with all of them now! Infants love being able to explore how things feel, so focus your energy on selecting a few safe, well-made toys that are interesting to touch and look at. Keep it simple.

3. Hunt for vintage furniture. Not only will picking up a vintage piece or two save you some dough, it’s the best possible option for the environment and for your baby. A vintage dresser can make a fabulous dual-purpose piece, holding diapers and supplies inside and a diaper changing pad on top. When your little one is out of diapers, the same dresser, sans changing mat, can hold junior’s clothes. Other great vintage pieces to shop for include rockers, rocking horses, and toy chests. A crib or bassinet is the only piece it’s best to buy new, as vintage cribs may not be considered safe by today’s standards.

4. Use zero-VOC paints. Most paint companies now offer a low- or zero-VOC formula, available in the same color range as the regular paints — but without the most harmful chemicals. If you have furniture you wish to paint, like basic pieces from Ikea, or a vintage find, consider using milk paint. Milk paint is the most natural option of all (and yes, it really is made with milk!) and comes in a lovely range of natural hues.

5. Layer natural fiber rugs. Area rugs made from natural fibers like cotton, wool, and jute are pure and healthy, and feel great underfoot. Consider adding several different area rugs to define zones — a plush wool or easy-clean cotton rug for tummy time, and a hardworking jute, hemp, or sisal rug in areas that get heavier traffic.

Natural Nursery Rugs

6. Splurge on a natural mattress and sheets. Newborns spend most of their early days (and far too few of their nights…) sleeping. That means that sweet little face will be nuzzled right up to whatever mattress and sheets you have chosen, so it makes sense to devote a little extra room in the budget to a natural mattress and set of basic sheets if you can.

7. Provide plenty of easy storage options. Picking up tiny toys, board books, and wee clothes is not so easy when you are operating on two or three hours of sleep — make things easier on yourself and set up ample storage options before baby arrives. Open baskets in various sizes can work to hold just about anything, so stock up!

8. Consider light and noise. A beautifully sunny room can seem like a blessing…until you are trying to get the little one to nap on a bright, sunshiny day! Invest in thick drapes or shades with a blackout liner, and be sure to bring in a small stereo or ipod dock to play soothing bedtime music.

9. Pay attention to flow. Try to position the crib with at least one side against a wall, preferably two, and place it in such a way that baby has a view of the door — your little one will feel more secure that way. Also be sure to keep the main path from the door to crib clutter-free…whatever is on the floor will trip you on the way to those late-night feeding sessions!

10. Keep it clean. A green nursery is a clean nursery. Frequently cleaning the floors and wiping down surfaces, including window sills and baseboards, will help keep pollution and other yucky stuff out of your little one’s serene space.

Image Credits: (clockwise from left) nursery via Design Sponge; baby blanket from Numero 74; baby quilt on rocker decor8.

Rug Shopping Guide: (clockwise from top left) Safavieh Montauk rug in gray cotton; Anji Mountain Jute rug; Casual For Life Agra rug in linen; Geoloom Carousel Border Dots rug.

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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You Should CARE about Carpet Waste

Copyright © 2008 Rugs Direct®

There are many reasons why wood floors are preferable to
wall-to-wall carpeting, and not all of them are aesthetic. Just ask Dr. Philip
Landrigan, director of the Center for Children’s Health and the Environment at
Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. According to Dr. Landrigan,
“Wall-to-wall carpets are a sink for dirt, dust mites, molds and pesticide
residues. I much prefer smaller, washable rugs of natural fiber.” Rugs can
easily be cleaned, which kills house dust mites – those nasty microscopic bugs whose
droppings trigger so many asthma and allergy reactions. Plus you can regularly
clean the floor underneath.

Interestingly, Dr. Landrigan, just like those of us at Rugs
, highly recommends the use of a top-quality non-slip pad underneath your
rugs…especially if there are children in the home.

So if you’re building a new home, the choice is easy.
Install wood floors throughout the house and decorate with natural-fiber rugs.
A real no-brainer!

But what if your home already has wall-to-wall carpeting
installed? First, check underneath. It could be hiding some beautiful, natural
wood flooring. To get to it, all you need to do is remove and discard the
carpeting, right? If only it was that easy!

Although not so much as in the past, some carpeting contains
some rather toxic chemicals that are used in the manufacturing process. This is
more prevalent in the bindings and glues than the actual fibers with which you
come in contact. But the process of removing the carpet can suddenly spew toxic
dust into the air, so you need to protect yourself much as if you were removing
dangerous insulation. If you’re uncertain how to do this safely, seek professional help.

But the situation gets worse. What do you do with the old
carpet? Unfortunately most people send it to a landfill by putting it in the
trash. More than FIVE BILLION pounds of carpet ends up there each year. That’s
a lot of nylon, polypropylene, polyester, polyvinyl chloride, latex and calcium
carbonate that’s never going anywhere. That mountain of carpet is still going
to be there thousands of years from now, unless we come up with an alternative.

Well, someone has. In fact, the industry has. It’s called
CARE. – the Carpet America Recovery Effort. This non-profit organization was
created in 2002 specifically to educate and encourage Americans to recycle used
wall-to-wall carpeting. Since then, approximately 745 million pounds of old
carpet have been recovered. The goal is to divert 40% of waste carpet by the
year 2012. The prediction is that there will be about seven billion pounds of
discarded carpet by then. If 40% is recycled, that’s 2.8 billion pounds that
doesn’t end up in landfills.

Currently there are 56 Carpet Reclamation Centers through
the United States. The organization is actively seeking to add more all the
time. To find the location of the one nearest you, please click here.


One issue CARE. faces is that recycling used carpet is
expensive. Most people see their old carpeting as trash and getting rid of it
should be free. But the process of recycling involves not only picking up the
carpeting, but identifying what kind of face fiber was used, break it down into
the components used, convert these components into a form that can be used to
make new products and transport that material to the manufacturing location. It
generally costs between five to 25 cents per pound of old carpet to recycle it.
(A square yard typically weighs four to five pounds.)

So what kinds of things can be made from old carpeting?
You’d be surprised!

A great deal of construction-industry products can be
manufactured from old carpets: composite lumber, both decking and sheets, tile
backer board, roofing shingles, railroad ties and cushions. Quite a few
automotive parts can be fashioned out of old carpeting. For information on once company that is doing a great deal to create new products from recycled carpeting, please click here.

As an added benefit, many of these products actually last
longer than those they replace. This cuts down on the need for new raw
materials and the energy necessary to process them. In addition, recovery of
the energy content of old carpet, since it is made from crude oil as a raw
material, is an important consideration related to future oil dependency. As a simple example, let’s assume you have a 20′ x 25′ room and you recycle the old carpeting instead of discarding it. You will permit the recovery of 73 gallons of oil used to create this carpet and 1.6 million BTUs of energy. You’ll also be keeping 747 pounds of non-degradable trash out of a landfill. It will probably cost you about $100 to recycle this room’s old carpet, which seems an awfully small price to pay for the enormous benefit!

CARE deserves the full support of the flooring industry,
construction and housing concerns, government and all environmentally concerned
citizens. To learn more, please visit their website, or you may request further information by clicking here.

Following is a list of CARE’s Board of Directors

Paul Ashman – Environmental Recovery
Consolidation Services (ERCS)
Steve Bradfield – Shaw Industries Inc.
Russ DeLozier – Shaw Industries Inc.
Frank Endrenyi – Mohawk Group Inc.
Matthew Ewadinger – North Carolina Recycling
John Glenn – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Bill Gregory – Milliken & Company
Ron Greitzer – L.A. Fiber Company Inc.
Garth Hickle – Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Frank Hurd – The Carpet and Rug Institute
Stuart Jones – Interface
Brendan McSheehy, Jr. – Universal Fiber Systems LLC
Robert Peoples, Ph.D. – CARE Executive Director &The
Carpet and Rug Institute
Stephen Steele – NYCORE
Fred Williamson – StarNet commercial flooring Cooperative Inc

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How Area Rugs Affect Your Environment

area-rugs-environmentCopyright © 2007 Rugs Direct®

Guest author: Ron Neal

Over the years, a debate has taken place in the flooring
industry over the impact its products have on the
environment. In 2003, a group of industry researches and
technical specialists met at the University of North Carolina
to examine the science with regard to the positive or
negative attributes of materials found in products like
carpeting, area rugs and linoleum.

The panel looked at hundreds of studies in relation to how
carpet and non-carpet materials contribute to environmental
quality and whether there’s a significant concern with toxic
substances and allergens alleged to have commonly been

The intention of the researchers was to try and settle years
of anecdotal evidence and set an industry standard to help
buyers and sellers of flooring products. A good portion of the
information reviewed came from the Environmental
Protection Agency
, the National Health Science Libraries,
and other previously published industry experts.

A review of all of the literature led to one major conclusion:
materials found in flooring “play a significant role to the
quality of life indoors.” It contributes to healthy design
factors, safety, aesthetics, climate control, ergonomics and
physical comfort. When maintained properly, carpeting and
area rugs are not at all risks to public health.

While the group’s conclusion was great news for the
industry and the public, it’s still necessary to examine
flooring’s impact on the whole environment, including the
part played by rugs and flooring made from natural

With so many types of area rugs available today, it’s hard
enough to make a style selection, let alone having to take
health and environmental concerns into account. Keeping
rugs clean and in good condition will go a long way in
alleviating any concerns. Area rugs do have material
differences, though. Here’s a quick look at natural fiber rugs
and other natural flooring:

Water, water everywhere, so keep it away from wool. Water
is one of the biggest enemies of wool rugs. Wool, popular in Oriental rugs, has a high moisture regain and is
susceptible to microorganism attack. That may sound like
the bad plot to a Hollywood horror film or an episode of Fear
Factor. Nevertheless, keep something that requires water,
like potted plants, off of wool rugs.

Water aside, wool’s long, coarse fibers have the ability to
maintain indoor air quality and, unlike synthetic fibers, can
absorb indoor contaminants. Since discarded carpet
accounts for a tremendous amount of waste – 4.7 billion
pounds in 2002 according to the EPA – any rug that lasts
longer, like a hand-knotted wool rug, is going to get the seal
of approval from the Green Party.

Once used primarily as carpet backing, Jute has made it to
the big time. As a full-fledged member of the area rug and
carpet family, Jute, which ranges from light tans to browns,
is one of the finest and softest of natural floor covering

Composed mainly of plant materials, Jute is a rainy season
crop that grows best in warm, humid climates like parts of
China and India. While it may grow in rainy weather, the Jute
rug won’t stand up to areas with high moisture levels. Unlike
wool, jute is resistant to microorganisms, but the material
will in fact deteriorate rapidly when exposed to moisture.

Gilligan’s Island no longer corners the market on bamboo
flooring. You don’t need to live in a hut to use this material.

Bamboo, which is also a trend in cutting boards and
hardwood floors, has become a popular option for area
rugs. And its environmental friendliness is obvious. No
trees to cut down, no waste. Bamboo is technically a grass,
and moreover a highly renewable resource. Maturing in less
than six years, bamboo is harvested over and over from the
same plants. Its strength combined with a natural beauty
can add a contemporary touch to any living space.

Seagrass is not something you may have thought was
illegal. You can’t grow it in your backyard, but it does look
great in the house. Created from tropical grass mainly
imported from China, Seagrass, which only comes in a
natural organic green color, is smooth to the touch and
extremely durable and stain resistant.

Sisal is another natural fiber that has recently gained
popularity among designers. The material is derived from a
cactus plant, grown in semi-arid regions liked Brazil and

Sisal is stronger and more durable than other natural fibers,
making its staying power ultra-environment friendly. Water is
not Sisal’s friend, either. The rug should never be used in
the bathroom or other moist areas of the house.

About the author:
Based in Los Angeles, Ron Neal is a free-lance writer,
editor and owner of Writemind Media.  With more than 20
years of experience, including six at the Los Angeles Times,
Mr. Neal has produced and edited hundreds of articles on a
variety of subjects, including flooring, home improvement
and area rugs of all kinds, including braided and sisal.

Article Source: Ezine

To shop for area rugs in thousands of styles including ecologically friendly materials, visit the online showroom at Rugs Direct.

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Why Wool?


Copyright © 2007  Rugs Direct®

Although many fine-quality area rugs are made of fibers other than wool, to a purist – especially when it comes to Oriental rugs – there is nothing that matches the natural beauty and properties of natural wool. But not just any wool, mind you. It even matters from which part of the sheep the wool is taken, where the sheep was raised and even how old it is!

Wool from the shoulder and flank sections is regarded as the most desirable fleece on a sheep. Sheep from high, mountainous regions have longer fleece, which is also highly desirable. There is debate over whether wool taken in the winter or summer is better. Winter fleece can create thicker and heavier wool, while spring fleece is softer and finer. Each has its own benefits. Lambs that are between eight and 14 months old produce a very excellent wool called “kork.” It is very thin and silky and actually became popular in England before finding its way to the Middle East.

So why is wool considered such a superior material for area rugs? There are seven generally agreed-upon reasons:

  • Wool resists wrinkles. It is resilient and springs back into shape quickly.
  • Wool resists soiling. Because the fiber is so complex, dirt and stains have a hard time penetrating it.
  • Wool is durable. Again, because of the multi-part, complex fiber, it resists wear better than almost any other natural or most man-made materials.
  • Wool repels moisture. Liquids simple don’t penetrate wool very well. It actually sheds water.
  • Wool retains its shape. The same properties that help wool resist wrinkles also help it keep its shape and size.
  • Wool resists flames. It is amazingly fire-retardant and does not support sustained combustion.
  • Wool insulates. Just like wool clothing is comfortable in all seasons because of the layer of air it keeps next to the skin, wool rugs insulate the floor from any major temperature changes.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, wool is an all-natural fiber that is completely renewable and recyclable. You can enjoy your all-wool area rug free from guilt! And about how many products can you comfortably say that today?

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