Allergies in the Home: The Impact of Furniture Selections

Those who live with allergies know how constant reactions can impact your quality of life…

We’re going to explore the experience of my client Amanda* and how one furniture install impacted her whole life.

Project Brief

With asthma and allergies (anaphylaxis) affecting both Amanda and several family members quite severely, creating a safe haven where they could recuperate from their sicknesses was top priority.

The 10 year old family home was built with a clean lined coastal, minimalist theme using a very periodic colour scheme of various creams, browns and beiges. The large home was littered with pockets of wasted space, as well as being filled with unusable furniture (which had the potential to trigger life-threatening allergic reactions).

Before: The Dining Room

Before: The Dining Room

Amanda had a clear vision for her home - out with the old and in with the blue! She also wanted to transform the somewhat sterile atmosphere into one which made the family feel welcomed, inspired and relaxed by creating a softer and more intimate feel.

Overcoming the Causes of the Reactions


This one doesn’t just affect Amanda and her family - it is easily one of the most common allergies out there! Latex can be hidden away in the foam in sofas - particularly memory foam. I enlisted the help of some experts over at The Upholstery Shop and Henry & Oliver, who were able to create some custom sofas and lounges that were 100% latex-free. In cases such as this, importing furniture can be more cost-effective, but it is often far too risky - many manufacturers will still use latex, even if it has been specified to be made without.

Glue in Furniture Frames

Quality manufacturers will always construct furniture using sturdy nails. However, cheaper imported furniture is often made using a combination of nails and glues. These glues create harmful emissions which can trigger allergic reactions. By using local manufacturers, we were able to specify materials and keep a close eye on the construction process, to ensure that the furniture frames were constructed using only nails.

After: The Dining Room

After: The Dining Room

Fabric Staining Chemicals

Many people are unaware of the harmful chemicals often used to treat fabrics to prevent staining. We were very careful about selecting fabric strictly from Zepel Fabrics and the Oeko-Tex Certified Range from Warwick Fabrics. Being one of the lesser-known triggers for allergic reactions, many people are unaware that this is an important consideration to be made when selecting fabrics for both furnishings and window treatments. To be on the safe side, it is always best to go with Oeko-Tex Certified fabric selections.

Throw Cushion Covers & Fills

The fabric choice for the throw cushion covers had to be made from quality all-natural materials such as linen and cotton. To help prevent dust collection on the cushions, we also ensured that the covers were machine-washable.

We ran into a bit of a challenge when it came to the cushion fills, as feathers were not an option. I spent a considerable time researching the potential options and was able to source cushion fills made from recycled PET bottles. These were trialled in Amanda’s home before she purchased them, to make sure that they would be tolerated.

After: The Upstairs Entertainment Area

After: The Upstairs Entertainment Area

The Result: Words from the Client

After many hours of consultation, sourcing and testing out different materials, we were able to create that safe haven that Amanda and her family so deserved. Here’s what she had to say about the final result:

“Tamlin has created a feeling of comfort and warmth that has revolutionised how we use the space in our home and how we interact as a family”.

“The end result was amazing and vastly exceeded the expectations of my family (who were extremely doubtful of the choices for materials and colour swatches they were shown).

Although I had helped choose the colours and pieces, seeing it all styled together with some lovely extra surprise touches was overwhelming and the entire family was speechless with the amazing end result. Tamlin has created a feeling of comfort and warmth that has revolutionised how we use the space in our home and how we interact as a family. I would recommend her work in a heartbeat.”

If you or your family are struggling with managing your allergies within your home, you may want to consider seeking the help of a professional. Prince Design has the experience needed to create a safe haven for you and your family. Contact our friendly office today to see how we can help.

*Please note - client name has been changed for confidentiality purposes.

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