With a focus on sustainability, “well building” design and the latest trends that enable smarter, more efficient homes, schools and workplaces, interior designers are increasingly asked to make choices that can transform commercial and residential building spaces in innovative ways.
The products of chemistry are an essential component of this transformation. Chemicals are the building blocks for many high-performing materials that contribute to the durability of carpeting and flooring, the comfort of furniture, the energy efficiency of lighting, the bright bold colors of paints and the aesthetics of stylish décor.
How and where are chemicals used in interior design?
Materials made possible by chemistry are used all over a building’s interior – from paints and wall coverings, to carpets and composite flooring, to kitchen and bathroom countertops, as well as furniture and lighting in every living space.
Are there hazardous chemicals that interior designers should avoid?
Chemical ingredients are the backbone of a host of innovative products and materials used in interior design. But some designers may have concerns about the possible health effects of some chemical ingredients used in everyday products.
It is important to remember that the mere presence of a chemical ingredient in a building interior material or product does not mean that the chemical will cause harm to building occupants. The level of risk posed by a chemical ingredient is not just determined by the physical properties of the chemical itself but depends on a range of factors, including how a person is exposed to the chemical, at what concentration and for how long.
How should designers make decisions about chemicals in building materials and interior products to protect occupant health and safety?
Designers are sometimes asked to consider how future occupants may be exposed to chemical ingredients used in building materials and interior products. Will the product make life easier and more convenient? Conversely, are there any concerns associated with the products and materials being used?
While designers are not expected to be experts on chemical materials, they are increasingly asked to make materials selection decisions.