a woman on a bed with a laptop, holding a cup of coffee - next steps to future-proof your small business

A Simple Guide To Finding Sustainable Furniture

22 Jan 2024 | home & cosy

(collaborative post)

We waste far too many things in our homes. Food waste is a problem, energy waste is another – but what about all the materials you waste when you buy furniture? Choosing the wrong furnishing options for your home means you help perpetuate the constant state of unsustainability in the modern world. We need to do all we can to protect our natural resources and be more sustainable. 

When it comes to furniture, there are many ways to find sustainable options – it’s actually much easier than you think. This quick guide talks about how to find sustainable furniture and what you can do to slowly make your home a greener place. 

Select sustainable materials

Filling your home with sustainable materials is a smart way to make it more eco-friendly. You might not be aware of how many sustainable furniture materials are available. It’s way more than you initially think – and some can even surprise you. 

Think about purchasing sofas made from natural fibres like cotton or linen. There’s even a case for leather sofas because they’re surprisingly sustainable. They make use of byproducts from the food industry and are some of the most long-lasting sofas out there. 

Another way to approach things is by looking for certifications from manufacturers. Many companies have labels or certificates showing that they’re members of sustainable organisations or source materials from sustainable suppliers. Things like this help you identify which brands are worth going to over others. 

One final thing to mention in this section is the range of recyclable materials available. Plenty of sofas, chairs or beds are made from recycled materials nowadays. Picking something like this means you’re buying furniture that uses hardly any new resources.

Buy locally-made products

What exactly do we mean when we talk about environmental sustainability? The general definition is that it is the responsibility to conserve natural resources and protect global ecosystems. Choosing sustainable materials for your furniture goes one step towards achieving this goal by using fewer natural resources.

However, you achieve even greater sustainability by making one simple switch when buying items for your home. Instead of purchasing from companies around the world, start buying locally-made products.

There are loads of fabric corner sofas made in the UK and you can find so many curtains or dining tables manufactured by British companies. Purchasing from local brands means there’s significantly less of an impact on the environment. Fewer resources are used to make the items as they don’t need to be shipped all over the world.

Buy a sofa or a piece of furniture that’s made in your country. What’s more, look for local businesses with made-to-order policies. This means they only start the manufacturing process when an order comes in, so there won’t be as much wastage. When your furniture is ready to go, it arrives via a truck. It doesn’t have to deal with long-haul journeys across the ocean, meaning the overall carbon footprint of the product is far less than one that’s made in a different country.

Buying locally might be more expensive, but think about the good it does for the environment. You’re also supporting local businesses, which helps the economy thrive!

a wooden bed with cushions - sustainable furniture

Choose second-hand pieces

Reusability is one of the cornerstones of sustainability. Everyone’s obsessed with recycling products – and buying furniture made from recycled materials is definitely beneficial – but you should think about reusing things first. 

It’s so easy to hop onto Facebook Marketplace, eBay or countless other online platforms to search for pre-owned furniture. You can find some great pieces there – and they’re usually available for decent prices. Sometimes, when people move house, they have to get rid of furniture that’s only a couple of years old, so there are some excellent bargains out there. 

All the while, you’re filling your home with sustainable furniture. How? Because instead of buying new things, you’re purchasing stuff that’s already been made. It has a significant impact on the environmental resources used to make furniture – and if everyone bought second-hand pieces from time to time, the world would be in a better place. 

Don’t just look online; go to auctions or even pop down to your local furniture stores. Many big brands have second-hand pieces that customers may have tried out and didn’t like, or that they gave back to the company after buying something new. It’s always worth asking what’s available as you could find something that looks perfect in your home. 

Focus on durability

You are not living sustainably if you’re always buying new things. It’s unwise to buy a new bed one year, and then replace it a year or two later. The same goes for other furniture pieces – they’re not supposed to be replaced this quickly! 

If you’re always replacing items because they don’t last, then your home has a massive carbon footprint. That’s why it’s paramount to focus on durability. This is one of the reasons some people say leather is a sustainable furniture material, despite being made from animal products. It is built to last for years, possibly even over a decade with the right level of care. Imagine purchasing one thing and not needing to replace it for that long?! 

Other materials are just as durable – so think about buying furniture that is made to last. The more durable your items are, the more sustainable your home becomes. Quit the habit of buying furniture that looks nice but isn’t that practical. It makes your home look pretty, yet it can’t withstand regular use and has to be thrown away after a year. Find durable pieces that stick around for the long haul. 

And on that note, our guide comes to an end. We’ve noted plenty of ways to find sustainable furniture here, so pick and choose whichever ideas you like the best. You can combine ideas for more sustainability or select one – it’s entirely up to you. All that matters is that you’re committed to making your home a better and more sustainable place. 

This post was published in collaboration with a content partner. The article is meant to inspire you how to live a slow, simple, soulful and sustainable lifestyle and may contain (affiliate) links to articles, websites or products/services that may be of interest to you.

Would you like to receive inspiration from The Slow Living Guide regularly?
Sign up for the newsletter here.

a bed with a book, notes and a cup of tea - your slow living reading list

Your slow living reading list

Things To Love About Summer

There are many things to love about summer. Join us as we explore our favourite reasons why summer is a season to be celebrated and loved.

a plate with toast and blueberries lit by the morning sun - the slow living guide slow & simple blog category

Blog categories

cosy pillows on a bed - the slow living guide blog category home & cosy

Directory