Healthy Interior Design for Cleaner Spaces

June 01, 2023

The fact is old, but it is worth remembering. It is true that we spend an average of 15 hours a day indoors, with our homes and workplaces being the places where we live the longest.  

Environmental pollution is a planetary problem over which we have little sphere of action, but that does not mean that we cannot make changes in our immediate environment: the places where we live and work. 

Sick spaces 

The fact is old, but it is worth remembering. In Spain, we spend an average of 15 hours a day indoors, with our homes and workplaces being the places where we live the longest.  

Of course, criteria vary from person to person. There are those who like to spend long periods of time not only in their homes and offices, but also in shopping centres, shops, and other enclosed spaces where we can find air conditioning (or heating, if it is winter). Then there are those who prefer to walk in parks and gardens, on the beach or in the mountains. However, the fact remains the same: we spend most of our lives behind closed doors. We live almost 90% of our time indoors

That the configuration of these spaces affects the way we are is well known to psychologists and architects alike. Hence the importance given to interior design, to the harmonious state between the geometry of the rooms, the furniture and the lighting, both natural and artificial, in order to generate an atmosphere of tranquility and well-being. That indoor spaces are much more polluted than outdoor spaces, on the other hand, is something we are hardly hearing about. 

It seems hard to believe, but it is so. 68% of Spaniards are unaware that the air they breathe in their homes and offices is not as clean as they think. What’s more, it can be up to five times more polluted than the air in the streets, which is not a pleasant surprise. This indoor pollution is one of the reasons behind many of the discomforts we go through, such as headaches, throat and eye irritation, allergies, and even asthmatic episodes. To the psychological importance of a good space, we have to add the importance of an environment that takes care of our physical health as well. 

A healthier interior design 

The number of pollutants that surround us is astonishing. Something as simple as a carpet is the ideal ecosystem for fungi and spores, a breeding ground that, if not cleaned frequently, can lead to everything from problems with child and neurodevelopment to reproductive disorders, as well as allergies and itching. In a single carpet we can find about 59 toxic agents, between natural and synthetic elements, which together are a risk to our health. Carpets, together with furniture covered with synthetic fibers, contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), substances such as benzene, which evaporate at room temperature and gradually wreak havoc on our bodies. It is not surprising that the air we breathe at home is this bad. 

This is one of the many points we must take into account if we want to live in a healthy indoor space. There are ways to improve the air we breathe, and you don’t need to be a professional interior designer to take the first steps. From organic materials to the use of air purifiers, this is part of what could be called healthy interior design

One of its characteristics is environmental balance. Much of our pollution problems are generated in a rupture with the environment, which has occurred since the first industrial revolutions, so the materials we surround ourselves with are important. Healthy interior design minimises the harmful effects that our old practices (commercial, industrial, constructive, etc.) have on the environment and our health. It reduces pollution, achieves good thermal balance and, most importantly, purifies the air we breathe

In what ways can we achieve this? First, we must consider that healthy interior design is not just about making a few modifications to our spaces, but about adopting a way of life. These are complicated times and now, more than ever before, it seems necessary to make certain modifications in the way we proceed. Here are some first steps.

horeca air purifier

Healthy Interiors: a little guide 

purificadores de aire AIR8

As the quality of the air we breathe is important, we can start with the simplest of things: plants. Not only is vegetation a simple and inexpensive way to harmonise (and enliven) a space, it is also an efficient aid to air purification. According to a NASA study, there are certain plant species that act as natural filters against organic pollutants, such as formaldehyde and benzene. But not just any plant serves these functions. We want them with large, strong leaves, with sufficient surface area, as it is these that will trap large amounts of pollutants. Species such as English ivy (Hedera helix), Chinese aglaonema (Aglaonema modestum) and weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) will not only make your interior greener, they will also give you cleaner, fresher air. 

Of course, as living things exposed to pollution, these plants can wilt and die faster than normal if they are not cared for properly. Therefore it is also important to introduce an air purifier in our rooms, so that the plants do not do all the work themselves. This guarantees not only a space in which the air is clean, but also one in which the atmosphere is nice and bright. 

It is important to find the most efficient way to save energy. If your home has natural light, try not to obstruct it by placing tall furniture or shelves at the sides of windows. This will allow all the sunlight to enter your home as it travels across the sky each day, which will not only be reflected not only in your electricity bill but also, like plants, in the air you breathe. The sun’s ultraviolet rays work as a very powerful germicide, capable of killing some viruses and pathogens. Spaces that receive a lot of sunlight are free of humidity and therefore free of fungus and other health hazards.  

Since much of the furniture we find in the shops is made of synthetic materials, it would be wise to avoid them. The important thing is to always look for biodegradable materials, such as wood, cork, bamboo and linoleum. These are not only used by some green furniture designers, but can also be used as building and decoration materials. They have good thermal and acoustic resistance and insulation, as well as giving different textures to spaces.  

This also translates into ornamentation. If you are going to paint the walls of your home or office, do it with natural dyes and pigments. These are sourced from plants and minerals, are free of VOCs and won’t cause you a single nuisance. Conventional paints are made of a series of chemicals that will eventually volatise over the years, resulting in a dirty, heavy and harmful environment that will cause dizziness and allergies. 

Short- and long-term benefits

Our health will benefit the most. Not only will we be able to breathe air that is much less laden with toxins, but we will also see an improvement in our psychological well-being. Similarly, we will be contributing to a reduction in environmental impact, as the materials, paints and furniture will be 100% natural. Similarly, energy consumption will be reduced if we know how to use the natural light in our surroundings. 

Of course, the most important of all this is to achieve healthier spaces. The use of purifying plants, air filters and good solar lighting, the removal of carpets and ventilation in dark and damp places will result in a considerable improvement in the air quality index in our homes and offices. We will see the benefits to our health almost immediately and at the same time we will get a long-lasting and pleasant space that we would like to be in. 

This is how we can help you 

As we have already seen, the use of plants is a natural system for air purification. But they cannot do all the work by themselves. There will always be pollutants that escape them, and the volumes of dirty indoor air are considerable. The purifiers we manufacture at AIR 8 are a powerful tool with which to ensure the continuity of a clean and healthy space. 

We use medical-grade HEPA-13 technology in each of our products, which feature several stages of filtration and pre-filtration, such as activated carbon and UV-GI light. Our purifiers take care of everything that plants can’t, such as filtering out carbon dioxide (NO2) and PM 2.5 particles, as well as Covid-19 and other viruses and pathogens. Of course, moisture, fungi and spores will also be eliminated from your space. 

When you buy one of our products you get the best tool of its kind on the market. They are quiet and easy to transport, have an action area of 130 m2 and are modern and elegant, which adds to the good atmosphere in your home or office. Healthy interior design is an art in itself, and with AIR 8 you have an ally with which to obtain a clean and fresh space that you will love to be in.