Indoor Allergies and Your Home D  cor Choices

When indoor allergies are a concern, your design choices can have a big impact on your health status.

Upholstered furniture, throw pillows, drapes, and carpeting may all be pretty to look at, but they can also be magnets for dust mites, mold, and animal dander. For people who are sensitive to these triggers, even professional cleanings may not be enough to banish these common home allergens. The consequences can be sneezing, coughing, and nasal congestion.

Take Control of Household Allergies

Here are some allergy-friendly design tips:

Flooring Choices: A good place to start tackling home allergens is by removing wall-to-wall carpeting, which traps dust mites and other allergens in its weave. Hardwood, linoleum, or slate flooring can all be allergy-friendlier choices. Just check with the installer in advance, since the fumes from certain varnishes, polishes, and waxes on these flooring materials can also trigger symptoms.

Request allergy-free finishes, or else plan to stay out of your home for several days after your new flooring is installed in order clear the air. Another option is to choose area rugs that you can wash often, or else look for low-pile carpeting. Be sure to vacuum regularly using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.

Allergy-Free Furniture: You may like the look and feel of upholstered couches and chairs, but the fabric can hold on to dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores. Better choices are items made from wood, leather, metal, or plastic. These finishes are all much easier to clean so you can remove any allergens that settle on their surfaces.

Window Coverings: Don't turn a blind eye to your window covering choices. Drapes, blinds, and shades all harbor dust mites. Consider choosing plain curtains that are easy to wash. Easy-to-clean, simple roller shades are a good choice beneath.

Bedding: Use a hypoallergenic mattress cover that keeps dust mites away from your face, and wash your sheets and bedding (synthetic is usually best) in very hot water at least once a week or even more often.

Clean-Up Your Act to Prevent Household Allergens

Go for a minimalistic décor overall that's free from knickknacks and other frills since collectibles, books, and stuffed animals are all household allergy triggers. Going with less equals more for household allergy prevention.




"Allergy-Proof Your House." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Education and Research (MFMER), 9 March 2011. Web. 17 Dec. 2011.

"Home Remodeling." Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2011.

"House Dust Allergy." American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. ACAAI, 2010. Web. 17 Dec. 2011.