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5 of the Best Methods for Creating a Home with Sustainable Furniture

Sustainability has made an impact on interior design, and sites like Deocist do not expect the trend to subside. Live up to the trend by reducing your carbon footprint and bringing more environmentally friendly elements into your home. The following tips will help.

1. Find live-edge pieces.

furnitureAchieving an organic look can be as simple as switching out a dominant piece in your home that was made of artificial material with something that was created by nature. Make your new focal point a memorable one by integrating a piece of furniture that has a live edge.

Live-edge furnishings are not designed to have straight lines throughout the entirety of a piece. Instead, the trend highlights wood’s rustic appeal by leaving knots and natural grains at the edges. In fact, these characteristics are purposefully accentuated to give your space just enough contrast to create interest.

You can typically find live-edge designs in the form of dining tables, headboards, and coffee and side tables. Some furniture manufacturers have leveraged the style to make seating as well. While this trend lends itself well to rustic homes, it can easily fit into a modern space if you find a piece that has some metal, like a dining table with a live-edge surface and steel base. To live up to the purpose of sustainability, find a live-edge piece that is made from reclaimed wood, a material saved from old buildings and furniture.

2. Know earth-friendly materials.

Recycling is a friend to the environment, and believe it or not, you can buy furniture that is made of recycled or sustainable material. To “go green” in your home decor, look for items that use certified sustainable woods.

The Forest Stewardship Council, in particular, offers certification for wood that comes from well-managed forests. The trees are harvested responsibly to reduce the impact on the environment. Lumber sourced from sustainably-harvested tree farms and reclaimed woods that meets other criteria may receive certification.

Another option is skipping trees all together and considering bamboo. A type of grass, the plant is fast-growing and incredibly sturdy. It is pliable and can be shaped into furniture. Depending on the farm harvesting the plant, few to no pesticides may be used.

Do your homework, however. Some growers do utilize chemicals to grow bamboo. Furniture manufacturers may also employ harmful adhesives to create products. The best thing you can do is inquire where and how the plant was grown and what methods were used for constructing the bamboo furnishings you are interested in purchasing.

3. Opt for recycled.

recycled furnitureWood is not the only material capable of having a second life. Technology has given companies the option to recycle plastics and metals, which has resulted in a growing inventory of eco-friendly products that require fewer resources to make. Look for furnishings that promote use of recycled materials when shopping.

On the other end of the spectrum, furniture made from virgin materials should also be mulled over. Though it does not reuse existing woods, metals, and plastics, it may be considered recyclable in the future. The best trait of a recyclable product is its ability to be disassembled for other use once its initial need or lifespan has been fulfilled.

McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry highlights recyclable products through its Cradle 2 Cradle certification program. The program upholds a commitment to material health and reutilization, renewable energy, water stewardship, and social fairness. Access this source to find a recyclable product if you decide a new piece of furniture fits your needs best.

4. Repurpose old pieces.

If you enjoy crafting or do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, think about using existing furniture that has outlived its time with another owner. Whether vintage or worn, the piece may require a facelift, but your effort will keep it out of landfills. To purchase a quality project piece, look at the craftsmanship as well as the wear. You want to find a sturdy item that possesses only a few cosmetic elements that need changing, such as reupholstering a chair to have a fabric that matches a specific color scheme.

If you are a more skilled DIY person and do not mind spending extra time, effort, and money repairing dents and prepping a surface to stain, focus on finding a piece that you like. Make sure you have a plan and research proper techniques for executing the changes you have in mind to avoid wasting time and money.

5. Pick low-toxicity furniture.

You may think a finished product cannot emit harmful toxins, but that is untrue. Furniture treated with flame retardant chemicals and formaldehyde gives off toxic gases known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The emission, commonly referred to as “offgassing,” can contaminate the air as well as increase risk of cancer, birth defects, and endocrine disruption. In addition to damaging the environment and potentially your health, offgassing of VOCs is not good for pets.

The key to buying low-toxicity furniture is to identify the treatment that was used. Untreated furniture is best, but if you prefer a treated look, purchase a product that uses natural wood finishers. Furnishings covered in organic cotton or naturally tanned leather usually contain fewer toxic substances as well.