Transform Your Home Sustainably! Top 5 Tips to Shop for Sustainable Furniture03-03-2021
Read our top 5 tips on how to transform your home and shop for sustainable furniture.
Raise your hand if you like your home to look and feel good!
When the lockdown first hit, months ago, people started redecorating and reorganising their homes. Most of us were suddenly spending more time at home and, as a result, we started paying attention to our surroundings. It’s not surprising. The space in which we spend the majority of our time matters: it affects our work, the way we move, as well as our mental health.
Thus, if you’re also thinking about changing up your space, it’s not necessary because you’re bored. Your lifestyle or needs might have changed. And they will change again during your life. But before you head out to buy more furniture, we want you to read this article.
In the UK alone, about 22 million items of furniture end in waste every year. The industry mass produces large quantities of furniture and encourages people to constantly buy more. Each piece of furniture requires natural resources and energy to be produced. One study shows that furniture production in Indonesia uses 35.3 million hectares of forest. Another study warns about the growing problem of air and water pollution connected to global furniture manufacturing.
But it’s possible to avoid such negative environmental and social impact and still have nice furniture. How?
Well, here are our top 5 tips to transform your home sustainably!
1. Figure out what you need and like
Before buying anything at all, ask yourself what you truly need and like. You don’t need to be an interior designer to apply some basic ideas of the discipline. It starts by understanding that space should be a combination of functionality and aesthetics. Both are important but they don’t mean the same thing for everybody.
Create a Pinterest board, bookmark the furniture you like, and make a plan. This way, you will avoid buying things because they look cute or because they are fashionable right now. Buying with intention is our first advice.
2. Upcycle or refurbish what you already have
Just like with fashion, start with what you already own. Be honest: what are the things that you really need to buy and what are the things you could still use? Maybe they just need an extra touch or two?
Everyone can do a simple paint job (YouTube is your friend here!) Sometimes, you don’t even have to use paint but can get creative and use decorative scrap paper or anything else you have lying around the house!
If you aren’t the most crafty person, perhaps you have someone who can help out? We guarantee it’s going to be fun!
3. Second hand & vintage furniture
One way to reduce the waste the furniture industry makes is to shop for what is already there. This way, we are not creating a demand for manufacturing even more products.
In most cases, it is cheaper too. Sure, it requires more time and patience but there are endless styles and possibilities. Look for second-hand stores around you. You might be surprised by what you find!
Sometimes, vintage furniture can be pricey, but if you find the piece you love, know that it’s worth the investment. In the past, most furniture was made to last for generations and may need small refurbishing or painting to get its old shine back.
But most often, you will find the furniture in perfect condition for a good price. And if you are buying this way, make sure to examine the piece well before buying and give it a good clean when it arrives at your home.
4. Garage or yard sales
This is a specific and less formal way of second-hand shopping. We are talking here about sales around the neighbourhood or social media, where you can buy directly from individuals. Sure, this requires even more patience and some luck, but it’s worth it!
Some areas have regular yard sales. These can bring you some of my amazing pieces of furniture and décor.
5. Buy sustainably and ethically made furniture
While preloved is great, there are things you might still prefer buying new. For example, a sofa or a bed. Not to mention small things like bed sheets, pillowcases, or blankets. Besides, sometimes you cannot find what you need (and like) second hand, even after a long search. If that’s the case, look for sustainable furniture.
When shopping for new, we advise going for small companies or individual makers, rather than big and known brands. Smaller producers prioritise quality over quantity and that’s important. If buying something new, you want it to last! Even more, it’s easier to find out how the furniture is being made, including who’s actually making it. So, quality, sustainability, and ethics are always the things to consider before buying new furniture.
Of course, not everyone can invest the time to research a company before buying. Luckily, there are places like eTHikel Marketplace that do the selection of sustainable and ethical furniture and make things easier for you.