The second in a series of posts discussing just how to make your home a healthier, safer place to live.

Creating a Healthy Living Room – The living room is more than just a place to gather and watch telly these days. Most of us eat there (at least occasionally) play video games, do homework and a dozen other things. The living room is often also the family pets’ playground and oh yes, most homeowners use the room to entertain guests as well.

That such a busy room gets messy and dirty quickly is no big surprise and although you may think your living room looks nice and tidy there are an unexpected number of germs lurking as well.

Carpeted living rooms harbour the most dust and grime and really do need to be vacuumed on a regular basis with a good HEPA filter equipped vacuum. Soft finishings (the sofa, chairs) should be given the once over once a week as well, more often if you have pets, even if they are banned from sitting on them!

Poor air quality can be a problem in any home and especially in a room where everyone gathers like the living room. Whether its summer and the air conditioning is on or winter and the heat is pumping we all tend to close our homes up very tightly to stop the heat (or the cool) escaping. That is great for your wallet but not so great for your health. Study after study has shown that in many cases the quality of the air people breathe in their homes is worse than the stuff they gulp in outside, even in the city.

While throwing your windows open to let some fresh air in may not always be practical clean air is. Invest in a good air purifier. Companies like Sharp make some really good ones and although you are looking at a $100-$200 investment they really do work well and most people notice a real difference in terms of less sniffling and snuffling, fewer headaches and just a fresher smelling room.

VOCs can be a real problem in the living room as well as they tend to have the most furniture of any room in the house. The air purifier will help but stick to low VOC paints if you are redecorating and furniture made from as many natural materials as possible.