We are expecting our first baby in a few months and would like to create a "green" nursery. We live in an old Maine house with plaster walls but, luckily, no lead paint. Would it be better to tear down the walls and start from scratch to make the room green? Or can we work with the existing structure and make other adjustments, such as painting or flooring materials, to make it green for our new baby?
Mary S. ~ Bangor, Maine
Hi Mary, Congratulations on the pending addition to your family! I don't recommend removing the plaster if the walls appear to be in good shape. Taking out plaster is a tough job that can be very dirty and dusty. I would leave the plaster and use a green paint. There are 2 certifying programs for green paint that I am aware of, Green Seal, and Greensure. Both are independent non-profit companies concerned about the environment, and there are paints available that have passed their certification programs. One of the paints is a latex which uses recycled products when it is manufactured.
There are a number of options for green flooring available. I would imagine an old house in Bangor, Maine would have a lot of wood flooring. Reclaimed antique wood flooring might look nice in a nursery with plaster walls. If you want a floor covering that is a little easier to clean, there is ceramic tile available now that is made from recycled glass. I have never seen it installed, but from the pictures it appears to be very attractive.
I think a combination of green paint and green flooring might make your nursery very environmentally friendly for your new baby.