Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Here are some tips for finding eco-friendly furniture and decor:
* Stick to solid wood instead of wood composites, which are often made with formaldehyde and toxic adhesives
* Look for furniture made of FSC-certified or reclaimed wood, which will have minimal impact on the environment. Bamboo is great too, but try to find out if it was grown without pesticides. Designer and retailer Bobby Berk recommends the Lax Collection, shown above, for apartment settings. “The LAX wall mounted headboard has storage in it, so you don’t need night stands, which we here in NYC rarely have space for,” Berk said.
* For upholstery and textiles like window treatments, stick to natural materials like organic cotton, linen, eco-silk and hemp. Bamboo and soy have some environmental benefits, but the process of turning them into fabrics is questionable, so look to those options as a last resort. If you don’t have chemical sensitivities, you can also consider fabrics made of recycled materials like nylon and polyester, or even recycled cotton.
* New, eco-friendly furniture can definitely get pricey. If budget is an issue, shop consignment stores, yard sales and estate sales for quality secondhand furniture at a fraction of the cost of buying new. Used furniture has likely done all of its offgassing, and buying used helps reduce the need for virgin materials and saves the pieces you buy from ending up in the landfill. Craigslist is a great place to start if there is a page for your city or one nearby. And if you need inspiration for turning found furniture into a masterpiece worthy of your style and taste, check out the before and after sections of sites like Design Sponge. Definitely inspirational!