I expect there’s a time for compromise with any home improvement project. If you’ve been tracking my “Green” Nursery Challenge’s ambitions and dwindling budget since the beginning, you might anticipate that the time for compromise is nearing. With a $288 balance and the floors to redo, that time is now.
Wall-to-wall carpeting in a nursery is not recommended since the chemical adhesives that bind carpets often contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds). The carpet fibers themselves can also trap lead, pesticides, and other toxins that you bring in on your shoes. And when wet, carpet can also become a breeding ground for mold, dust mites, and other allergens.
The “green” solution is to install hardwood flooring, like Mirage’s ”Natural” Exclusive (the floor of my nursery dreams). The product is not only VOC-and formaldehyde-free but the company itself is eco-friendly, practicing wood and waste recycling, forest preservation, and reduced consumption. The cost of installing a wood floor, however, far exceeded my expectations and budget. While there were other options to consider—natural linoleum, ceramic tile, marble, slate, cork—the carpeting would have to remain intact, at least for now.
To make the carpeting work, I decided to take advantage of one of my husband’s greatest attributes: his love of vacuuming. Our Hoover upright has a HEPA filter that is said to “trap 99.7% of the dirt, dust, and pollen.” My husband also bought a plug-in Guardian Air Sanitizer for $60 which, according to the manufacturer, eliminates “over 98% of airborne bacteria, destroys odors and allergens like dust mites and mold spores, and uses natural UV-C light to sanitize the air.” Those two things, plus a “no shoe” policy in the baby’s room, deserve some “green” points. I am also hoping that the air filter can perform double-duty by providing white-noise for our newborn.
My father bought his soon-to-be-born grandson a bamboo palm after hearing about a NASA study that found common house plants are used to clean pollutants in space stations. My dad reasoned if plants could purify the air and reduce VOCs in space, why not add an assist in the nursery? Other plants that do a good job at air purification include: English ivy, Chinese evergreen, weeping figs, peace lilies, spider plants.
My nursery costs this time were $60. A balance of $228 remains. While I didn’t get my hardwood floor, I did learn an important lesson in compromise, something American Express might deem “priceless.”
For more information on nursery products and room makeovers, consider: