Buying sustainable furniture is not something people typically think of when shopping for new home goods. You might have gone shopping and looked for Fairtrade products, or products made from recycled materials, but when it comes to sustainable furniture, not many people know what that means. Before we share our top eight reasons for buying sustainable furniture, we thought it would be helpful to first explain what it is.
What is Sustainable Furniture?
Sustainable furniture is high-quality furniture that reduces energy and resource needs. Sustainable furniture also serves you in more ways than one, like providing both storage and decoration. This keeps you from having to buy more items over time. Having Fairtrade furniture or furniture made of responsibly sourced materials is a great first step, but if your responsibly sourced furniture falls apart in a year and ends up sitting in a landfill, it isn’t sustainable.
Another way to tell if your furniture is sustainable is to answer the question: can this piece of furniture fit in a home other than the one I’m living in right now? If the answer is no, that isn’t a piece of sustainable furniture.
Why Buy Sustainable Furniture?
Buying Sustainable Furniture Can Decrease the Carbon Footprint of Your Home
If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, there’s no better place to start than in your own home. If you have a large house right now, it might be because you need the space for kids, pets, and adults. But, eventually, you probably won’t need as much space as you have now. Buying sustainable furniture is great because it’s meant to last a long time, but if it only fits in your oversized family room, it’s probably not actually sustainable. Plus, moving to a smaller house is actually better for the environment long term. Smaller homes produce fewer carbon emissions through heating and cooling and use fewer resources to build them. They’re also typically found in communities with public transportation or areas where shops and restaurants are just a walk or short bike ride away, which also helps to reduce emissions. By purchasing sustainable furniture, you’re helping the environment both now and in the future.
Buying Sustainable Furniture Saves You Money
Who doesn’t love saving money? The great thing about buying sustainable furniture is that it saves you money over the long term. It might be a more significant upfront investment because it is a higher quality product, but in five years, you won’t need to spend money purchasing an entirely new piece of furniture. We’ve all been drawn in by bargain prices, great deals, and furniture stores that promise you the moon, but if you look around your home, how many of those pieces of furniture have lasted through the years? We’re guessing very few. Instead of buying that new armchair or bookshelf you just stumbled upon in your favorite box store, why not spend a little more right now and buy that beautiful piece of modern furniture you’ve been eyeing? You’ll save yourself the hassle of purchasing the same item again two years down the road, and you’ll be helping the environment.
Buying Sustainable Furniture Also Means Buying Functional Furniture
We’ve already told you that smaller houses (and no, we don’t mean tiny houses) have a smaller carbon footprint, but there are other ways sustainable furniture and smaller houses can help the environment. Often people move because they’re looking for more space, a bigger home, or more storage. Sustainable furniture is also furniture that makes your space work for you. If you’re constantly moving and switching your furniture to fit your new space, it’s not sustainable, and your furniture isn’t working for you. Instead of buying another plastic storage bin that’s somehow going to get a crack in it by the next time you see it, buy a sustainable piece of modern furniture and make your furniture work for you.
Give Future Generations a Place to Relive Their Favorite Memories
Think back to family holidays and dinners spent around your grandparents’ giant dining room table. If we had to guess, we’d bet it’s a big, solid wood table that has been at the center of some of your family’s favorite memories. Sure, there might be a nick in the wood from that time you definitely weren’t supposed to be using a steak knife yet, and maybe there’s a couple of scratches from one too many plates being passed around, but that table has lasted your whole life. It’s probably going to be passed down to you or a cousin someday, and you’ll see your grandchildren create their own memories around it. Buying sustainable furniture means that your furniture will last for years to come. It may even become a treasured piece of your family story. Sustainable furniture doesn’t have to look like grandma’s dining room table, there are plenty of modern furniture options that are sustainable and beautiful.
Buying Sustainable Furniture Creates a Market for Sustainable Furniture
Right now, we live in a society of excessive consumerism. Everyone wants the newest and fanciest products as soon as they’re released. This makes all of our products seem disposable. Because everyone is constantly looking to buy the trendiest items, consumers want everything as cheap as possible. This means lower quality products are made, and an increasing number of products are ending up in landfills. Think of how many of your friends you know that are buying modern furniture en masse from a big box store, only to get rid of it two years later when a leg breaks or their couch sinks. You can still purchase gorgeous, modern furniture at reasonable prices, but by making sure it’s sustainably-made furniture, you’re creating a market for more sustainable furniture and showing companies it’s a valued and marketable product.
You’re Setting an Example
There is a quote by author Author Nelson Henderson that goes, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” We now know how important it is to take care of the Earth; it’s the only one we have after all. In 100 years from now, we want the Earth to be a healthy place for our grandchildren and our grandchildren’s grandchildren. By buying sustainable furniture, you’re setting an example for younger generations that sustainability and quality matter. You’re teaching them that how they spend their money goes well beyond instant gratification and can have an impact on the world around them. So, the next time your child wants to redecorate their room, buy the next new gadget, or buy a bookshelf from your grocery store, use it as a learning opportunity and teach them why sustainability matters for their future.
Sustainable Furniture is an Investment
We’ve talked about making sure your furniture doesn’t end up in a landfill, but there are times that having to unload a piece of furniture inevitable. Let’s say you have two pieces of furniture you want to sell before your big move. One is a beautiful set of modern furniture for the bedroom, and the other is an elegant set of modern furniture for the dining room. Both sound great, right? But what if the modern furniture set for the bedroom had an expected lifetime of over 30 years and had a lifetime guarantee? It’s a wonderful set of sustainable furniture that you invested in when you bought it. On the other hand, the dining room set you bought at a big box store known for mass producing mediocre quality modern furniture. Which furniture set do you think will end up selling for more money? Of course, it’s the high quality, sustainable furniture set. You might have spent more money when you purchased it, but you’ll also get more money for selling it, and you can have peace of mind knowing it won’t end up in a landfill.
Buying Sustainable Products Makes You Feel Good
We’re all about helping the planet, creating a better future, and saving money, but we also know YOU are important and so is how you feel! Buying sustainable furniture can give you that same feeling of pride and accomplishment as when you make it to the gym after a long day at work. When you buy sustainable furniture, you can feel good about your purchase. You know that you’re making a smart decision for both your household and for the planet. Plus, companies that produce sustainable goods typically also give back to environmental organizations and make investments in greener practices. Each time you buy a piece of sustainably-made furniture, you’re contributing to this cycle of companies giving back and reevaluating their practices.
There are so many reasons to buy sustainable furniture, but a recent study shows that although 80% of Americans want to make more sustainable choices, only 20% of shoppers actually do. You can help grow that 20%.
Sustainable Modern Brands
At Uniek Living, we’re committed to carrying well-crafted modern furniture. Many of the designers we partner with pride themselves on their use of sustainable and Fairtrade products, as well as recycled materials. Here are some of our favorite sustainable modern furniture brands.
ZUPERZOZIAL strives to ensure their products are not only functional but also create a positive impact on the world. All of the kitchenware made by ZUPERZOZIAL is made of biodegradable bamboo and corn, which is reinforced with melamine resin. If you find a need to dispose of these biodegradable products, they only take three years to degrade. When you purchase products by ZUPERZOZIAL, you can feel confident your purchases won’t contribute to any landfills in the future. All of ZUPERZOZIAL’s products merge bright colors and sustainable design to create the perfect products for the sustainable-conscious shopper.
For over 25 years, KINTA has built its brand on the values of sustainability and social responsibility. Every product produced by KINTA is designed in the Netherlands and handmade by employees in Africa or Asia. To ensure that all of their products are made to meet sustainable and Fairtrade regulations, KINTA has developed a close relationship with all of their suppliers and producers, and regularly visit their employees’ communities to see for themselves that all their producers and suppliers are paid fairly and treated with respect. All of the materials KINTA uses are ethically and sustainably sourced.
KILO was created by two close friends who were committed to finding a way to produce their designs sustainability and create a new generation of family heirlooms. All of KILO’s modern furniture is designed in Amsterdam. KILO has created an alternative to the mass-produced furniture brands that fill our landfills. KILO uses a single material and one tool, and all of their furniture can be assembled without nails, screws or glue. Their furniture also ships flatpack and requires minimal assembly to ensure sustainability throughout the production, construction, and delivery process.
K’WILLEM IN HUIS is a father-daughter team that makes all of their products out of upcycled iron. Although you would never be able to tell by their beautiful designs, all of the metal they use were once scraps. By reusing materials, they’re not only cleaning up waste, but they’re also using a material that ensures their designs will last for generations.
Interested in learning more ways to use sustainable furniture? Read our blog post about using modern furniture to overcome small spaces. Remember, finding functional furniture that can serve you in a number of ways is part of the sustainable furniture process. You can also keep an eye on our list of brands as we’re continually searching for more Dutch designers with a focus on sustainability to add to our collection.
And don’t forget to visit our store regularly as our inventory is constantly rotating as we search for the most inspirational, sustainable, and uniek items.