Sustainability has become a way of life for many who have changed their eating habits, energy use and overall mentality. Being more conscientious of your decisions regarding the earth and its species has long-lasting benefits to the world and also your health. So be sustainable when and where you can, including with your furniture.
There are many ways you can live a more sustainable life, and the way you reupholster your furniture is just one of them. If you’ve decided to give your furniture a makeover, consider eliminating toxic materials and instead using natural and organic materials, especially since they’ve become more accessible in today’s world. Read on for ten ways you can reupholster furniture in a sustainable fashion.
Use Natural Latex Foam
Natural latex rubber comes from Para Rubber trees, mainly grown in southeast Asia. It’s a natural repellent to dust mites and other allergens and is resistant to mold and mildew. Use Latex instead urethane foam in cushions and padding because, through its manufacturing process, all chemicals are removed, leaving behind 100% natural latex.
Repurpose Reclaimed Materials
Aged wood doesn’t mean it’s useless. If taken care of properly, it can last for a long time. Consider using reclaimed wood for your project. Think wood from houses, logs, factory’s – even flawed wood that will add extra character and a unique touch to any piece of furniture. This is a great way to efficiently use your resources in a variety of ways.
This strong and sturdy grass has become somewhat of a poster material for environmental designers and builders. Bamboo is extremely versatile and can be used for flooring, window blinds, furniture and so much more. Seek out bamboo from China because it’s grown with little to no pesticides and is the most environmentally friendly.
Don’t Forget Old Furniture
Use the remnants of old furniture when you reupholster another piece. You never know when certain materials will come in handy, especially wood and certain fabrics, so store old pieces away for later use instead of tossing them.
Try Out Recycled Synthetic Fabrics
Although they sound like they aren’t eco-friendly, many synthetic fabrics are. Polyester is created from plastic bottles and other plastic recyclables and has an eco-friendly manufacturing process. So, while organic fabrics will always be the best option, synthetic fabrics aren’t usually harmful and are therefore acceptable.
Stuff with Organic Wool
Organic wool makes a great padding layer and is a safe choice because it forms a flame-retardant layer between latex foam and the outer fabric. It’s also resistant to mold, mildew and dust-mites and can soften the edges of the top layer of your upholstery. Organic wool isn’t treated with toxic chemicals and helps keep allergens away. Stay cool in the summer and warm during wintertime with this great insulator.
Opt for Biodegradable Materials
Biodegradable materials include plant products, paper and wood. These materials are ideal for furniture that will eventually wear out, like mattresses. So, if you’re reupholstering a bed frame with some reclaimed wood and need a new mattress for it, you may want to consider a biodegradable mattress so that when you throw it out, it will decay and give back to the environment in the process.
Only Use Solvent-Free Adhesives
Use 100% solvent-free adhesives instead of those that are solvent-based. They’re less hazardous and better for the environment and still can bond a wide variety of porous and non-porous materials.
Certified Sustainable Wood
Trees are a gift to the world. They’re home to many living things, and they produce oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide and keep the surface of the planet cool. Trees are part of our livelihood, so treat them with care. Always use sustainable wood from harvested tree forests or tree farms.
Stick to Nontoxic Fabrics
A broad selection of natural and nontoxic fabrics exists, so there’s no reason not to go this route when reupholstering. Several companies specialize in nontoxic fabrics that also contain heavy-metal-free dyes, recycled fibers and natural fibers. If you’re unsure of whether or not a particular fabric contains harmful chemicals, you can always buy a sample yard and wash it with the risk of affecting the color, length or stain resistance. If the fabric is damaged, it likely contains chemicals.
Make environmentally-savvy choices when it comes to your furniture because it can make a significant impact on the environment, as well as your health. Use the ten basic tips above to guide you as you reupholster the furniture in your home. While some of them may be out of your budget, others are more cost-effective and can work for anyone. Make the decision to rid your furniture of toxic chemicals and help preserve the world in the process.
About the Author
Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Tripping.com and more. Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!
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