Visiting Authors

How to Choose Sustainable Furnishings For Your Home

05/30/2014 - 2 comments
This article, provided by a visiting author, provides pointers for choosing sustainable furniture.

sustainable-furnitureThe importance of choosing sustainable products is well-documented. If you’re interested in protecting the beautiful planet on which we live, you will know that manufacturers are influenced in terms of the products they offer by consumer choice. If you choose sustainable furnishings for you home, furniture manufacturers will acknowledge this demand and make eco-friendly items cheaper and more readily available. It isn’t difficult to determine which items of furniture are environmentally sound, and as long as you shop wisely, it won’t break the bank.

Buy Local Furniture

If you choose to buy your furniture from a local manufacturer, you are bypassing the huge carbon footprint created by moving items of furniture from factories to your home, often half-way around the world. The cost of shipping to the environment is massive, and you can usually expect that locally produced items adhere to stricter manufacturing regulations in the US or UK. Buying local furniture is also a great way to support businesses that are closer to home, and prevent them being crowded out by international competition.

Look for the Logo

If you live in the United States, then the FSC or Forest Stewardship Council logo is a good thing to look out for on your furniture. It means that the table or chair has been produced using wood grown in an sustainably-managed forest and that the wood was treated at a responsible facility. Some wood treatment plants lead to the decline of biodiversity in natural habitats, but if you buy a FSC-stamped product, you can be sure that this isn’t the case for your furniture.

Pick Sustainable Materials

Some types of wood are more eco-friendly than others. Bamboo has been hailed as a sustainable choice for furniture, blinds and flooring as bamboo forests can regrow in a very short space of time. There are certain types of wood that are currently threatened. Rainforest Relief has a comprehensive list available online, and it includes Alaskan, Yellow and Western Red Cedar, Coast Redwood, Douglas Fir and Giant Sequoia. You should also try to avoid synthetic materials like plastic as they can take hundreds of years to break down after they are disposed of.

Buy Reclaimed, Vintage and Second-Hand Furniture

Reclaimed furniture is a great way or recycling materials. These pieces can be made out of old railway sleepers, industrial items and metalwork. They are available from retailers like the Trade Furniture Company and are perfect for those who want to acquire pieces that have a distressed appearance. Another eco-friendly solution is to look for old furniture at auction houses or antique stores. When you choose to buy antique or vintage furniture, you’re cutting down on the demand for new pieces. This discourages manufacturing and the consumption of more of the planet’s resources. Don’t hesitate to ask your parents or grandparents whether they have any unwanted gems that you can incorporate into your home. If you’re on a tight budget, second-hand furniture is a great option. You can pick up pieces very cheaply at car boot sales and from online auction sites like eBay.

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  • Reply Danny 08/21/2014 at 7:47 pm

    Buying sustainable furniture is not just about addressing a shoe-string budget but it’s also about wisely and responsibly utilizing the limited resources available on earth. The best way to demonstrate this awareness is to try and re-purpose your old and existing furniture as much as you can. It’s heartening to see so many blogs are now offering tips on how to repurpose your old furniture so you can save money on buying new furniture when you don’t really need it. I really like all your points. Thanks for the tips!

  • Reply Robin (Masshole Mommy) 05/30/2014 at 6:44 pm

    My furniture is in such bad shape because of the kids. Ugh. I can’t wait to replace it all someday!