8 min read

Label STEP, Explained

Written by:

Christi Farrell, RA, Leed GA


November 8, 2022

Image source:

Studio Marlowe

The concept of healthy living extends beyond personal health habits, directly into the very spaces we inhabit.

Today, home interiors play a vital role in our well-being, and ethical sourcing of materials is at the heart of creating spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also beneficial to our health and the environment.

An important player in this domain is Label STEP, a non-profit organization standing at the convergence of health, ethics, and interior design.

What is Label STEP?

Label STEP is dedicated to improving the working conditions of weavers and workers in the handmade carpet industry and ensuring that environmentally sound practices are applied.

The organization is deeply ingrained in the interior design sector, particularly in areas where handmade carpets are appreciated not just for their beauty but also for the ethical implications of their production.

The relevance of Label STEP in healthy interior design is multifaceted:

  1. Health-Empowered Work Environments: By advocating for fair labor conditions, Label STEP ensures that the carpets contributing to our living spaces come from places where workers' health and safety are priorities.
  2. Sustainable Materials: Emphasizing the use of natural, non-toxic materials aligns with the goal to maintain healthy indoor air quality, free from the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) common in synthetic carpets.
  3. Cultural Preservation: Acknowledging the craft and cultural heritage behind handmade carpets encourages a deeper connection to our interiors, promoting a sense of well-being.

Certifying Health-Centric and Ethical Interiors

Label STEP oversees a certification process focused on:

  • Fair Trade Principles: Ensuring workers are paid fairly, have safe working conditions, and are provided with opportunities for advancement.
  • Environmental Stewardship: Guiding production practices that minimize environmental impacts, conserving water and reducing chemical use.

The Impact of Label STEP on Interior Design

Sourcing with Conscience

Interior designers aware of Label STEP’s mission often choose to incorporate certified carpets into their designs. By doing so, they make a statement about the importance of ethical and health-centric sourcing.

Educating Consumers

Raising awareness about the origin of home decor can lead to more informed purchasing decisions. As a result, consumers often seek out Label STEP certified products, knowing their choices contribute to global well-being.

Championing Artisanal Work

Label STEP helps preserve traditional carpet-making techniques that have been passed down through generations, ensuring these skills are not lost in a world increasingly dominated by mass production.

The Benefits of Ethical Sourcing for Healthy Homes

  • Reduced Exposure to Harmful Substances: Handmade carpets bearing the Label STEP certification are typically free from harmful chemicals, benefiting indoor air quality.
  • Promotion of Psychological Well-being: Using ethically sourced decor can provide mental comfort and a sense of social responsibility, enhancing the psychological aspects of a healthy home.

FAQs about Label STEP and Healthy Interior Design

What kinds of products does Label STEP certify?

Label STEP focuses primarily on the certification of handmade carpets. Their certification ensures that the entire production process upholds fair trade and eco-friendly principles.

How does Label STEP certification influence indoor air quality?

Carpets certified by Label STEP are made from natural materials with minimal chemical treatments, consequently producing fewer VOCs that contribute to indoor air pollution.

Can Label STEP certification be applied to any style of interior design?

Yes, handmade carpets with Label STEP certification come in a variety of styles, suitable for different design aesthetics from modern or minimalist, to traditional or bohemian.

Where can consumers find Label STEP certified products?

Label STEP certified carpets are available through various retailers and directly from some artisan producers. A list of certified products can be found here.

How does Label STEP work with interior designers?

Label STEP collaborates with interior designers to promote the use of ethically sourced carpets in their projects. They provide education and resources to help designers make informed choices.


The impact of Label STEP on the interior design sector highlights the growing trend towards ethical consumption and the desire for healthier, more sustainable homes.

This organization represents a critical step towards a future in which every element of our homes, including the beauty underfoot, contributes to a healthier world.

By choosing ethically sourced and Label STEP certified products, designers and consumers alike advocate for a healthier living environment and a fairer world.

No items found.
No items found.


Christi Farrell

Christi is a licensed architect and interior designer specializing in sustainability. She enjoys teaching design and bringing transparency to the impact that furniture has on our planet.

Subscribe to our newsletter for updates!

More from Studio Marlowe