Why are people opting for eco-friendly furnishing? The greatest cause is global warming and the extensive rate of climate change. Using eco-friendly furnishing is a step towards saving the environment from all the atrocities over the years.
Some people are in a dilemma before they walk into any showroom for buying furniture. They are more inclined to buy furniture that looks pretty and is affordable but doesn’t pay attention to the material of the furniture. When you walk into any showroom, always quiz the salesperson regarding the material used and its durability.
The three major factors of eco-friendly furniture are:
- Materials used for the furniture can be recycled.
- The furniture is free of sustainable environment products.
- The furniture doesn’t require electricity.
Sustainable living and furnishings surely begin at home. Before changing the world, it is better to individually take steps to do your bit for the environment.
By investing in environment-friendly furnishings, you can –
- Save money.
- Get more durable furniture.
- Pass on the furniture from generation to generation.
- Add personalized style to your home without jeopardizing the quality.
Having to choose this type of furniture does not necessarily mean that it will cause a hole in your pocket. These offer the look and feel you want for your home décor and are also inexpensive.
Bamboo is one of the best alternatives to wood. It is a long and fast-growing grass. Bamboo made furniture has more strength as compared to wooden furniture. The main advantage of bamboo furniture is that they are durable. They are prone to weather changes, do not get damaged or broken easily and are very lightweight. Bamboo furniture is known to shrink but it stops, once it adjusts to the locations’ moisture content.
Swings and outdoor furniture made of bamboo is popular. Beds, chairs, sofa sets, lamp shades, shelves, and bookcases, etc. are also gaining popularity. Bamboo can be harvested every 3 to 5 years and use of pesticides to grow is not required. Bamboo can also be made into an absorbent fabric to be used as towels, clothing, and linen which are antibacterial and non-allergic.
- Rattan or wicker
Rattan is a reed plant while wicker is a woven fiber made from reed plant and grass. Both materials are similar to bamboo and are abundantly found in the rainforests. The cane extracted from these plants is durable and extremely lightweight. Rattan and wicker are mainly used to manufacture outdoor furniture and baskets. Natural wicker is itself durable and offers comfort with beauty. They can also be painted, if you like.
Having stone furniture is mainly possible for the outdoors. You can give your outdoor garden a monolithic look with natural stone as it blends well with the natural setting. Stone is long lasting as there can be no weather effect. They are waterproof and strengthy. If you want a posh look for the indoors of your house, go for well-cut and more refined stones.
- Reclaimed wood
Lumber is the common used reclaimed wood. Usually, they were used to build materials in old factories and warehouses but nowadays it is also being used to manufacture furniture. According to ecoideaz.com, lumber has been tested and can withstand extreme humid and climatic conditions – hence proving its durability.
This wood can be used for furniture, flooring, beams, mantels and feature walls. Usually, this wood requires proper cleaning and care for which you can use beeswax to polish it.
Rubberwood is a tropical hardwood that is light colored and gives the texture of ash grey wood. Rubberwood is also called plantation wood or parawood as it is made from rubber plantations that have served their purpose. It is a stable wood that does not undergo shrinkage, can be easily worked with and painted or stained. It is mainly used for manufacturing furniture, toys and kitchen accessories. Rubberwood is not suitable for making outdoor furniture. Kiln drying is required for special care to prevent pests and fungus in the wood.
Lantana is another flowering plant that is used to create furniture similar to cane and bamboo but not as expensive. Lantana plant is native to America and Africa (tropical regions). When brought to India, it spread like wild-fire. Now it is being used for making almost 50 different products in Sothern Karnataka by the tribal people of Korava, Palliyar, and Soliga. Lantana furniture is not susceptible to sun, rain or termite infestation. Furniture like stools, baskets, bookcases etc can be made out of Lantana.
- Organic cotton
Organic cotton is grown in the absence of synthetic chemicals that are used in agriculture. It is grown in sub-tropical countries like China, Turkey, and USA that follow the National Organic Program (NOP). According to Wikipedia, as of 2007; 265,517 bundles of organic cotton were produced in 24 countries and the worldwide production increased at a rate of more than 50% per year. Organic cotton is more expensive as compared to regular cotton but is mostly used in cushions.
The cushions that are manufactured by leading brands contain highly flammable polyurethane that keeps us warm. But over time it dries off and turns to dust, which can be toxic to the furniture as well as humans. Hence, replace the padding for the cushions with organic cotton. It might cost more but it’s a step towards good health and environment. Organic cotton is being used to make sheets, towels, curtains, table linens, pillow covers, crib or baby linens, and rugs.
- Non-VOC(Volatile organic compound) rugs and carpets
Rugs are essential to bring out space. Normally rugs and carpets are made using harmful chemicals like VOC that are made of flame retardant. Synthetic rugs or carpets are prone to get unwanted toxins into your home. Henceeco-friendly rugs are made which come in various colors and designs.
Materials used for making the rugs – synthetic rubber, cotton, and wool. It can also be made of seagrass, sisal, mountain grass, and bamboo. People require rugs in their home for the softness and comfort. Organic rugs can also be beautiful and come in various colors. Vacuum the rug at least twice on a weekly basis to avoid dust getting accumulated. If you take proper care of the environment-friendly rugs and carpets and it will surely last a lifetime.
These are some of the materials that you can opt for when you decide on buying eco-friendly furniture. All types of furniture require proper care and maintenance. These are chic and in vogue. Since these products are durable, they will remain in style and can be passed on to generations. Surely having a green and eco-friendly home is a great way of life.
A step towards a better life also means avoiding wasting electricity. Try to switch off the fan and light when not in use. Environmentally sound home should have organic furniture and energy efficient appliances. Recycle water, curb usage of plastic, install solar panels to provide electricity and much more. It’s high time we take steps towards saving our environment because as Dan Brown says, “The future will either be green or not at all”.
This post was written by Akshay
Akshay works as an Interior Designer with Lalco Interiors and he is in love with his job. Thinking up interesting home décor ideas and helping clients implement them is what makes him tick. You can catch up with Akshay and his team and indulge in one of their beautiful home décor pieces for your home at Lalco Interiors- Hotel Mumbai