You care deeply about the environment, mindfully practice sustainability and keep a close eye on your budget. A not-so-secret obsession with the creature comfort of beautiful furnishings may seem at odds with these traits. Don’t worry; we’re here to keep you in sync!
Below you’ll find tips on how to choose eco-friendly furniture, which result in a more durable investment, protect your health as well as that of our planet and make a significant social impact—all while offering pleasing designs and luxury.
Sink Right In
When it comes to comfort, there’s nothing like an inviting sofa with cushy pillows or an upholstered armchair that feels as though it was made distinctly for the shape of your body. Unfortunately, the most common form of foam used in cushions and stock-item upholstery is polyurethane, which contains the highly toxic chemicals methyloxirane and toluene.
Opt instead for natural latex foam. Latex is a sustainable, renewable material harvested from rubber trees. The textile industry is increasingly using latex for home furnishings and bedding due to its breathable, durable and resilient qualities. For the cleanest option, make sure your product is Global Organic Latex Standard certified.
Fabric options abound, but you’ll want to stick with the most natural such as linen or organic cotton. Beware of treatments that sound like they’d make your life easier or safer by providing things like stain and flame resistance. The chemicals used in such treatments are environmentally harmful and has been linked to cancer in humans as well as hyperthyroidism in cats. Sources such as GOTS—Global Organic Textile Standard—can be invaluable in your search for sustainable nontoxic material.
Make A Solid Impact
When considering solid pieces such as tables, bureaus, shelving and desks, you can go eco-friendly and minimize adverse environmental impacts by keeping it basic. Stick with wood, metal or glass and think about reuse and recycling.
Wood furniture is a durable and traditional choice and does not require treatment with harmful chemicals. Wood has distinctive graining and feel, which lends surprising individuality to a variety of pieces. Often beloved wood furniture gets passed down through generations, bringing memories along with them.
To maintain a small carbon footprint, look for materials that are reclaimed, such as wood from old barns or recycled metal. Source salvaged is another option. The Forest Stewardship Council awards certification to products made with sustainable practices, providing more certainty to eco-minded consumers.
Known for its versatile flexibility, bamboo has traditionally been used in furnishings that involve a weave or intricate design. As an eco-friendly material, however, bamboo checks all the boxes for everything from solid pieces such as beds and dining sets to textured wallpaper and flooring.
The fastest growing woody plant, bamboo crops require little irrigation. Because bamboo is also naturally resistant to insects, pesticide use remains nominal. Bamboo can be harvested in any season and requires only three to four months to complete a full cycle.
Bamboo’s inherent ability to withstand moisture makes it antimicrobial and a perfect choice for kitchen, bath or even outdoor pieces. Carbonizing bamboo naturally alters coloring to fit design scheme. Use your imagination to envision how you can incorporate this eco-friendly material into your home!
Whether you’re shopping for a single piece or filling a large new living space, choosing eco-friendly furniture assures a safe, healthy fix to your creature comfort habit while minimizing your impact on the environment.
Emily Folk is a freelance writer and blogger covering nature and wildlife conservation efforts. We’re happy to have her on the EcoDiva blogging team to help us learn more about sustainability and saving our planet, one day at a time!