A Designer’s Tips to Allergy Proof Your Home
Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle
By Kerrie Kelly, ASID
Is there an allergy sufferer in your home?
At my interior design business, I have recently come across more and more clients who need real solutions for dealing with allergens in the home – either for themselves or another member of the family. Allergies can be miserable for the sufferer, and it really is a pleasure to come up with design solutions that minimize the effects.
Home is where you should be most comfortable. With a little design planning and thoughtfulness, we have found we can significantly minimize the effects of allergens in the home, whether it concerns dust, dander, pollen or mold. The ultimate goal is to get it out and keep it out.
Get it out!
Modern technology has turned the common vacuum into your best ally in reducing allergens in the home. With so many models and options to choose from, it’s easy to find one that can help. Choose a model with a HEPA filter (that’s High-Efficiency Particulate Air, by the way) and use it everywhere – not only on carpets and area rugs, but hardwood and laminate floors, and draperies, too. Of course, attachments have evolved right along with the technology to help with any surface that needs cleaning, as well. A regular cleaning schedule is very important when you’re dealing with allergens because, unfortunately, they just keep coming. But you can get ahead of them.
Keep it out!
Beyond getting the right tools, there are a number of things we can plan for during the design process that can dramatically reduce the allergens that get trapped in the home.
First, where possible, choose floor coverings other than carpet. As you can imagine, it collects dust and pet dander constantly. When you have hardwood, laminate or tile surfaces, there’s less for those allergens to hang on to and the dust and debris are more visible than they are in carpet fibers. You can still use area rugs for texture, as they can be swapped out more often and easily. If you do have carpet, come up with a regular cleaning schedule, and remember that steam cleaners do a much better job with allergens than shampoo cleaners.
Then, think carefully about window coverings. There are some beautiful fabrics out there, but the heavier they are, the more allergens they collect. Think about lighter, gauzy fabrics and fabrics that are safe and easy to have cleaned – or better yet – washed. Like wood floors, blinds or shutters can also be a good choice because you can actually see what you’re dealing with and know when they need to be cleaned.
Finally, for our clients who suffer from allergies, replacing filters in the heating and cooling system is especially important – and often overlooked. Filters today are surprisingly efficient in terms of keeping the air in the house as clean as possible. A simple note on the calendar usually does the trick.
One of the reasons we like helping our clients so much with this issue is that many of them think there really isn’t much that can be done to ease their suffering. But we hear time and time again that these simple tricks make a very big difference.
About the Author:
Kerrie Kelly writes on interior design and home decor for Home Depot. Kerrie is the author of the book Home Decor: A Sunset Design Guide, and presents advice on home appliances based on her experiences with her interior design business. For Home Depot’s selection of vacuum and floor care appliances, including styles discussed by Kerrie, click here.