Choosing furniture, bedding, and decor for the nursery is a joyous part of preparing your home for your new arrival. Considering the environment when creating a beautiful nursery is the new trend for an eco-friendly start to your baby’s life.
Reports suggest that Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, used all-natural, vegan paint to decorate little Archie’s nursery. So, if it’s good enough for the Royals, then …
The largest purchase for a nursery is usually the crib or cot. Choose one that is made from sustainable timber and has finishes that are lead and phthalate-free. For the amount of time that your child will use the crib, it really makes sense to choose one that can be converted to a toddler bed for a lengthier lifespan. If you opt for a second-hand cot, be sure that any finishes are non-toxic and that it meets modern safety standards.
Add an eco-friendly mattress to baby’s cot by choosing one that uses natural, organic materials and is free of harmful chemicals – safer for baby and for the environment. Your baby store should be able to advise you on suitable options.
For your baby’s blankets and bedding, choosing natural, organic fibres is a great choice, not only for the environment but also for your baby’s delicate skin. Bamboo is a fast-growing, renewable resource, which is beautifully soft when used in blankets and sleep sacks.
Choosing eco-friendly furniture
For the other furniture in your nursery, if you can afford it, solid wood is the best option. These are likely to last longer and can be passed on to other family members, or repurposed around your own home. Alternatively, repurpose a piece of furniture already in your home for the nursery. For example, an old armchair with a new cover could make a great nursing chair. Or a bookcase can be used for storage (ensure it is secured to the wall).
If your budget won’t allow for solid wood, some ready-to-assemble furniture has a “greener” side. Some brands are working towards only using timber from sustainable sources. Do your research and find out more about a brand’s environmental policies so you can make a more ethical choice.
Buying from New Zealand manufacturers cuts down on your carbon footprint with reduced shipping. Even better, friends and family are also a great source of items that you only need for a short time and they are probably glad to move them on out of their own homes!
Decorating the nursery
If you’re painting, choose a paint that is non-toxic and look for a ‘VOC-free’ label. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are chemicals that let off gasses which can be harmful to people and the environment. If you’re unsure, ask your paint merchant for assistance in choosing a suitable paint.
For rugs and fabrics, choose those that use natural fibres and vegetable dyes, though undyed fabrics are classic and timeless. Opting for a neutral palette will give your items a longer lifespan and enable you to use them in other rooms later on.
For toys and decorations, buying local makes great sense. You can find a wealth of locally produced and unique items in community Facebook groups and on the online marketplace, Felt. Consider what products are made of and choose products that are made from sustainable materials or that will last for generations.
One of the biggest rubbish-makers once you have a baby in the home is disposable nappies. There’s a wide range of easy-to-use cloth nappies available which will not only reduce your rubbish pile but also save you money. Even if you use a combination of cloth nappies with the odd disposable when you want some convenience you will still be making a huge difference to your environmental impact.
Clean and green
Once you have your eco-friendly nursery set up don’t forget to use cleaners that are also doing their bit for the environment, like those available from ecostore.co.nz.
Written by Julie Scanlon
Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire.
Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”