Healthy Homes: How to Have One… Part 2 – Material Selection

The materials that your house is made of and is furnished with can have a big impact on the spaces that you live in.


You may be surprised to know that some materials that your house is constructed with are toxic. Products can often release harmful chemicals which become airborne, often found in paints, plastics, vinyl, protective coatings, engineered wood products and insulation. Keep this in mind when you are building and where possible choose materials with low emissions or zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) products. To reduce these effects in an already built house – make sure that you have good ventilation through your house, and where possible clean with damp cloths and mops to minimise dust agitation.


In addition to the physical effects of poor material choice, your selection of materials that you furnish your house with can have a significant impact on your psychological health and enjoyment of your home.


While sleek, sophisticated materials are quite popular there runs the risk that they make a space feel too clinical. Make sure that you choose a mix of materials that have an interesting texture, warmth and softness. Not every surface or piece of furniture needs to have all three but elements of these within your space will minimise any feelings of discomfort. These are especially suitable for areas of your house where you want to feel more relaxed and cosy, such as the bedroom and the lounge room. If you choose a ‘scheme’ or ‘theme’ when buying these items it will help keep your space coherent and avoid clash and clutter which can be quite stressful to the eye and mind.


Some quick and easy examples to make a space more inviting are:

Warm coloured wood, whether it is floor boards or a wooden coffee table.

Warm toned splashback behind your cooktop. You don’t need to choose bright red or yellow but something with warm undertones, or warm colours pulling through can work wonders.

Textured lamp shades.

Wooden blinds or louvres

Thick luxurious curtains

Warm, thick, textured throws and cushions can make an elegant couch much more inviting.

Breakfast bench stools that are padded, have great patterns on them or made of interesting materials.

A warm toned or thick rug on your lounge room floor.


If you like to keep your walls and furniture quite monochrome, it is through accessories that you can put some pops of colour and textures and transform a space into something much more inviting. Then if you want to change things up in the future, it is relatively easy and low cost to replace accessories rather than expensive pieces of furniture.


What do you think of the kitchen of one of our projects above with warm timber floors and brick accents versus the white kitchen on the right?