Green Your Bedroom for $1,000 or Less

Don’t lose sleep over the cost of redecorating. Read our guide to healthy bedroom design on a budget.

| November/December 2007

We spend at least a third of our lives in the bedroom, so making this space a healthy haven is among the most important things you can do for yourself.

Air quality is a key to healthy, eco-friendly bedroom. Choosing an organic or natural mattress, frame, bedding and floor covering with few or no toxic chemicals can improve your indoor air quality. If you suffer from allergies, your goal should be to keep your room as free of dust-collecting surfaces as possible and to wash all bedding and rugs frequently to remove mold, mildew and dust mites.

You can affordably design an eco-friendly bedroom if you know how to prioritize your purchases. Our comprehensive chart of budget bedroom furnishings—from mattresses to sheets to throw rugs—in the article "Boudoir Budgeting" shows you prices for common items so you can pick and choose according to your personal needs.

Stop sleeping with toxic chemicals

The most critical component of a healthy bedroom is the bed. Conventional mattresses and bedding are manufactured with toxic dyes, fire retardant-treated polyurethane foam, formaldehyde (for permanent press), and stain- and water- resistant chemicals. All of these chemicals outgas over time and can cause allergic reactions and other health problems.

The chemicals commonly used to make mattresses fire retardant—PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers—are linked to damaging effects on thyroid function and fetal brain development. They’re also suspected carcinogens. PBDEs are chemically similar to polychlorinated biphenyls (PBDs), neurotoxins that the government banned decades ago because of their health and environmental effects. American women have the world’s highest level of PBDEs in their breast milk—40 to 60 percent higher than those of women in Sweden, where these chemicals are banned.

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