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4 simple steps toward a healthier home

Associated Press
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Adam DiCarlo/Carolyn DiCarlo via AP
One key way to create a healthier home is making sure your kitchen offers plenty of open space for cooking and meal prep, as well as natural light.

Can your home help you get healthier? Interior designers say clients don’t just want help creating a more beautiful home anymore. They want to create living spaces where they will cook healthier foods, breathe healthier air and improve overall wellness.

Here, three interior design experts — Jon Call of Palm Springs, California-based Mr. Call Designs, and New Yorkers Young Huh and Carolyn DiCarlo — recommend four general approaches to creating a healthy home.

1. Conscious cleaning

“The first thing I do when I go into a client’s home is talk to them about how they take care of their home,” says Call. He looks at how they’re cleaning their home and what products they use.

“Cleaning is really the baseline,” he says, “not only for insuring the interior is healthful but also to actively decorate your home.”

All three designers suggest switching to natural cleaning products. Call recommends learning to make small batches of cleaning products from a handful of items like white vinegar, baking soda and lemon oil.

2. Creating space for wellness

Although her background is in architecture and design, DiCarlo’s work with clients begins with the question of well-being. She suggests they walk through their home and “check how they feel when they enter a room. Whether it makes them feel kind of enlightened, whether it make them depressed. Is it too big and makes them feel small, or too small and makes them feel cluttered?”

Noting those responses can help you decide what changes are necessary and which rooms need attention.

“You could have the most beautiful home,” DiCarlo says, “but you could feel empty, lost and forlorn in it, and what good does it do you?”

3. Curated kitchens

Huh sees more homeowners converting from gas-powered ranges to energy-efficient, cleaner induction cooking. “There are no gases and no heat produced from the cooking,” she says. “It works by magnetically charging the surface of the cooktop, which creates heat. But it’s not burning fuel.”

New refrigerators with windows let you keep tabs on how fresh your foods are.

Another trend: growing organic produce in your kitchen. Besides counter-top and window-sill herb gardens, Huh says, consider adding cabinets with lights and soil for growing lettuces, berries and more.

4. Clearing the air

Choose paints that don’t “off-gas” toxic chemicals, Huh says, and sofas and mattresses that aren’t treated with chemicals that release unhealthy gases.

“As much as you can try to bring in natural fibers and things that were painted or dyed or printed in a responsible way,” do so, she says.

DiCarlo agrees: “Look to nature to inspire you,” she says, whether that means adding plants or swapping out synthetics for natural fabrics.

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