A piece of furniture is an extension of your personal style and if you’d like to do a little something for the environment, your furniture choices are a good place to start! Why? Because it’s a great way of preserving natural resources, of de-clogging landfills, AND, making a personal style statement!
The good news is, that it’s pretty easy to do. Shabby-chic has emerged as one of the most popular furniture trends, and nothing speaks more about you than a piece of your grandmother’s furniture! Interior designers today are willing to redo existing furniture, amping up its style quotient and giving it a new lease of life. And many furniture manufacturers have also started using eco-friendly materials ground up.
So if you’re looking for recycled furniture options, here are some things you should consider:
- Join an up-cycling community: If you cannot reuse what you have, try reselling it to someone through an up-cycling community. You’ll find tons of them on Facebook, and furniture is a big category there. Search for terms such as ‘pre-owned’, ‘pre-loved’ and ‘up-cycle’ among groups on Facebook and you’ll in all likelihood find something that works for you. These communities are also a good place to find great bargains! As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
- Add a carpenter and a painter to your phone book: While DIY’s are a great way to get eco-friendly, they are not for everyone. Especially in India where finding resources to do the job for you is actually quite simple and inexpensive. Here’s something that one of our team members produced with very little help from a carpenter and painter. The chair was bought at old furniture market for Rs. 500. The total cost of remodelling it was another Rs. 700. Once you have these resources on a speed dial, you’ll be set!
- When buying ready made furniture, consider eco-friendly materials:
- Bamboo: If wood is your thing, then try Bamboo. It is the fastest growing material that is also sturdy and good looking enough to be used for furniture. It can also withstand weather variations better (no swelling or shrinking). Today bamboo furniture is available in varied forms – including laminated – in which the bamboo is flattened and used to create beautiful pieces of bed, tables, chairs etc.
- Funky Up-cycled Material: Look out for local designers who are up-cycling old tires, discarded railway benches or using natural fibres innovatively to produce stunning unique pieces. The next time, skip the conventional, and pick something that will be a statement piece for your home, all this while doing your bit for your environment.
- When buying new, opt for leaner designs: The bulkier the furniture, the more energy, and resources it will consume for building and transportation. Think Transformers when it comes to your furniture – buy furniture that can be collapsed easily and tucked away when not in use.
- Look for eco-friendly fillers and upholstery: Use Coir fillings for upholstered items, or reuse existing ones. When looking at upholstery too, consider materials, which are organic, durable, and long lasting – Organic Hemp can be considered for furniture or drapes since it’s a sturdy fabric. It’s also one of the simplest ways to have a recycled furniture in your home.
- Buy sturdy, easily fixable, and modular furniture:
- Durable: so you don’t have to end up replacing it every now and then.
- Easy to fix: Eco-friendly furniture should have the ability to lend itself for easy fixing. That way you don’t have to replace it every time you have an issue.
- Modular: If it is easy to disassemble, it makes the recycling process easier. Think long term when considering a new piece.
- Go Vintage: There’s nothing like a piece of furniture that comes with a story, Not only that, the pieces and styles and bound to be gorgeous most of the times, made from wood which is sturdy and has survived the time. Add to that, considering it is just a sale, there’s no additional manufacturing that goes into it, so no further resources needed. The best thing is the value of Vintage and Antique pieces goes up over time, making it a great investment too!
- Buy furniture made of reclaimed wood: This is wood that has lived its life in its previous avatar (read as sturdy old tables and chairs, large blocks of wood such as dining tables, doors and, structural beams from old houses) and is now being used in a completely different form. Reclaimed wood is a good replacement to new or virgin wood, not only due to its promise of stability and durability, but because it reuses an existing resource, instead of letting it go to a landfill.
- Recycle Furniture: Let those creative juices flow and see if there’s something you can do to transform the look of that old piece of furniture you plan on discarding.. You’d be surprised how much of a difference a simple change in color can make.
- Buy Local: Support local artisans as far as possible; try and buy furniture made closer to home. Furniture that has traveled across the globe or the country, will have a high carbon footprint.