Interior Design

Interior Paints and Air Quality

We all love a beautiful interior, and one of the best ways to freshen up a room and make a big impact for a small outlay is to paint the walls. However not all paints are created equal and choosing the right paint is important for your indoor air quality.

It wasn’t until my youngest daughter became asthmatic that I realised I needed to investigate ways to improve the “health” of our home to provide a healthier living space for her and our family. This newfound awareness led me down a path of discovery that has fuelled my passion for helping others to create healthy, sustainable and beautiful homes.

When clients ask for assistance in selecting a new colour palette for their home I relish the opportunity to bring this “healthy home awareness” to their consciousness. Clients are surprised to hear about the impact a Low VOC paint can have on the air quality of their home, not only while the painting is being applied, but also while it is drying and beyond.

What paint company do I use and recommend?

Thankfully we now have great paint companies who understand the need for low or zero VOC paints. I use and recommend Haymes Paints. After investigating many paint companies with their VOC ratings in paints I discovered Haymes paints produce sustainable eco-friendly paints and wood stains with extremely low VOC and zero VOC. This gives a cleaner air quality, reduces the impact on the environment with clean up and because they are an Australian owned and Australian manufactured product their carbon footprint is far better than some other paint companies.

Adding to this, the paint itself is easy to apply (yes I do my own paint work in my own Reno work) and gives a fabulous finish. Most of their paints are water based, meaning clean up is easy and I am comforted to know my paint clean-up water flow is not harming the environment or waterways.

What is a VOC rating?

Until I began my journey into creating a healthy home for our family the term VOC had never come into my knowledge of understanding. It wasn’t until I started to ask questions about chemical content and chemical exposure that this term “VOC rating” came up. I was shocked to learn our every day household items were full of chemicals that had the potential to cause ill health. VOC can emit a variety of chemicals including but not limited to formaldehyde, methylene, chloride, toluene, xylene, ethyl acetate and glycol. The rating itself is a measure for the amount of chemicals per litre of liquid.

VOC – Volatile Organic Compound while it may sound ok, even a bit ‘friendly’ after all it does have the word organic in it, however it couldn’t be further from the truth! While many household items can contain and emit VOC, paints emit VOC while being applied, drying and after the paint has dried. Have you ever noticed how strong regular paints smell while being applied and drying, or how it continues to have a strong odour when the home has been shut up on a hot day? Personally I don’t like to take chances with unnecessary chemical exposure and if I can swap out my regular high VOC paint for low or zero VOC paint, then I know what my choice is going to be!

Making your home a safer home for your future

Next time you want to do some DIY decorating or think about hiring a Painter to come in, or better still request the advise of an Interior Designer make sure you specify Low or Zero VOC paints for your home. Your health will thank you for it!

If you would like to know more about our services at Sherri Smith Interiors, including on-line consultations, email us at or head over to our website and fill in the contact form and we will answer your enquiry. We would love to hear from you!

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Above Image credit: Haymes Paint: Photography-Martina Gemmola, Styling-Ruth Welsby. Haymes paint colour ‘Mimosa Leaf’

Interior Design

Are your Fresh Flowers toxic?

I absolutely adore receiving fresh flowers! Who doesn’t? But what if that gorgeous bouquet of flowers is doing you and your family, or your pets harm?

The Good, Bad and Ugly of fresh flowers

Have you ever considered as you pop your cute little nose into the middle of your fresh flowers and breath in their heavenly scent that you could in fact be doing yourself harm?

It wasn’t until I started to assess what possible toxic items were in my living space that I began to question the health affects of the gorgeous flowers my hubby would surprise me with to brighten my day. I was horrified to come to the knowledge that the pretty blooms sitting in my heirloom vase could be doing our family more harm than good.

So what is a health conscious gal to do? Keep reading and you will be happy to know there are solutions to this conundrum!


The first consideration in this quest for answers to the health benefits or toxic affects of fresh flowers needs to start with the question …. are the people or pets in your home allergic to pollen or the flower itself?

I was sadden to read today that some people suffer allergy issues from Jacaranda flowers! In my mind the stately Jacaranda is the darling flowering tree of the tree world! Yet for some they bring nothing but mystery, as for me it’s the native trees that cause severe allergy reactions! Particularly the Wattle and Melaluca flower that are in full bloom through Spring and into Summer.

Needless to say when it comes to flowers for inside the home there are flowers that cause allergies for some peeps that include headaches, stuffy or runny noses, itchy or swollen eyes, rashes, shortness of breath and even nausea. If in doubt keep flowers out of bedrooms and discourage breathing in close to the flowers. Ultimately recognising and avoiding trigger flowers is the best solution here. Main culprits include the daisy family, some natives and heavily scented blooms.

Flowers and Pets

Did you know pets can have allergy issues with flowers, ranging from skin conditions, tummy upsets to death. Cats have been known to die from lilies, eating any part of the lily or grooming after coming in contact with lilies can be fatal. Our friendly dog companions can suffer terribly from ingesting flowers from the daisy family. There are a few other varieties of flowers that can cause illness in your pets. To be sure please do your research and if in doubt remove the flowers from your pets reach inside the home and your gardens.

Pesticides on your flowers??…..What?

It may come to some surprise, it certainly did for me when I found out the flower growing industry does not have a Maximum Residue Limit (MRL). What this means, unlike consumable produce, flowers do not have any pesticide and preservative restrictions. No doubt, this is a little if not a large concern to you, as it is to me. Handing a gorgeous bouquet to my sick friend to cheer her up could in fact be doing her harm!

Not only are the pesticides and preservatives potentially harmful to you and your loved ones, they pose a risk to our environment. Run off from the flower crops into the waterways is causing environmental damage and toxic buildup. Another alarming fact here is the devastating effect these chemicals are having on our bee and bug populations.

The bloom solution

I am happy to report there are solutions at hand! No you don’t have to stop giving and receiving flowers, you just need to get savvy!

Next time you purchase flowers please take a moment to ask a simple question “are these flowers organic or spray free”? You may get a few strange looks, but until the suppliers realise customers are getting hip to the potential risks with regular commercial flowers and their pesticide and preservative practices, nothing is going to change in the industry. I like to see it from the point of view: by demanding change to the industry practices we are in effect helping the growers, the florists and the environment.

Source organic florists (yes they do exist!) or grow your own flowers to gift and fill your home with. When growing your own flowers be sure to avoid the pet toxic flowers and human allergy trigger flowers mentioned if allergy is a concern.

If you prefer to continue with regular commercial flowers, or you cannot source organic/spray free flowers, be sure to minimise handling the flowers and stems to a bare minimum. Do not allow children to put theses flowers near or in their mouths and wash your hands thoroughly after handling.

If you are using flowers for culinary purposes, be sure to source edible flowers. The edible variety are available as organic and spray free.

Remember the precious gift of flowers, get savvy with your choices and enjoy all the sensory beauty and the emotional sweetness of your next floral bouquet!

Interior Design

Creating a tranquil living space with Colour Therapy

Have you ever walked into a room and immediately started feeling uncomfortable?……Emotionally or Physically ?

Have you noticed how you feel walking into a room with red walls? Or how relaxing a blue lagoon looks before diving in?

Colour therapy is an amazing facet to interior design and in our latest blog collaboration with the intuitive Emotional Intelligence Coach Sue Hurst we explore steps to creating your sanctuary.

Follow the link to check it out :

Sue Hurst is a Speaker,Trainer Social and Emotional Intelligence coach. She works with people of all ages in areas of EQ and stress management. In the near future Sue will be offering an on line EQ course designed for parents and their children.

Interior Design


Well hello there, we are so excited to see you here on our website. This is the first of many blogs to come for Sherri Smith Interiors home of the sustainable, healthy and beautiful home.

What started out as a love of  homes and building and “Colour” as a child has given birth to a passion to bring all that we are to a business platform to assist others in creating gorgeous homes while respecting you, your health and the planet.

Raising three amazing children has been priority for quite a while, now that they are young adults and in the teenage years, it is time to put this passion to work in offering an Interior Design with a difference !

Follow us as we take you on a journey of discovery!

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