Reclaimed Wood Furniture - Eco Friendly Furnishings for Your Home
Shopping at IKEA may stretch your dollar further today, but the furniture you buy there isn't built to last, costing you more in the long run. Why not invest in a nice piece of furniture you love; one you can hand down for generations to come instead of buying it to throw it away? As with all your purchases, paying for quality will save you money and the planet space in the landfill.
Look for the FSC Seal
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international non-profit organization that rates the sustainability of wood, granting the seal to the growth and harvesting of wood that has:
- Been sustainably managed
- Not contributed to biodiversity or habitat loss
- Not exploited workers
- Positively impacted the local community
Of course, absence of the seal does not necessarily mean a piece is unsustainable, particularly if it was built with reclaimed wood by a local artisan.
Buy Furniture Made From Reclaimed Wood
Reclaimed wood furniture is made from felled trees or salvaged wood once used for something else, such as the side of a building or another piece of furniture. There are a number of companies that make furniture only out of reclaimed wood, including the following list prepared by Alicia Silverstone for TheKindLife.com:
- Los Angeles
- Antico Furniture
- Cliff Spencer
- Stranger Furniture
- New York
- Domestic Aesthetic
- John Houshmand
- Varian Designs
- San Francisco/Berkeley
- The Wooden Duck
- Urban Hardwoods
- Meyer Wells
- Urban Hardwoods
Of course, this list is by no means exhuaustive. Look for reclaimed furniture companies in your own region, state and town.
Buy Furniture Made From "Secondary Species"
Instead of buying furniture made from the most popular (and over-harvested) woods, choose pieces made from what are known as "secondary species". Instead of mahogany, for example, try sweet gum, madrone or California oak.
From furniture stores, to department stores, to discount stores, the majority of furniture you buy through mass-market outlets is made many thousands of miles away. To eliminate the carbon footprint created from having furniture shipped overseas, buy made in the USA (keeping in mind the importance of choosing pieces made from sustainable materials). Often your best bet for sustainable furniture made close to home is the local artisans you can meet at community craft fairs and galleries. This not only gives you an opportunity to green your furniture, but to support your local economy. And dealing directly with the artisan presents the possibility of having something custom-made unique for you.
Buy/Donate "Old" Furniture
Whether it's a 300-year-old antique or a piece built just last year, "old" furniture can always take on new life when it's in new hands, even if it needs some repair. Craigslist, eBay and Amazon are great sources for finding and listing antique and secondhand furniture online. And local antique shops, flea markets, consignment shops and rummage sales are great old-school ways of listing or finding used furniture that's new to someone else, or new to you.