One of the instant benefits of adding wooden elements to your home decor is the warmth the material provides. The brown hues, textured grains, and the associations with growth and strength all make beautiful qualities for any home. Before you purchase your next piece of modern wooden furniture, consider these tips for a responsible and earth-friendly selection.
- Check out second hand and vintage
One of the easiest and greenest steps to take when adding wood to your home is to choose a piece of second hand or vintage furniture. A lot of resources go into creating furniture and not just the raw materials. Think of the energy sources needed to harvest materials, to power manufacturing plants, and to package and ship finished products. With secondhand and vintage furniture, the item already exists so additional resources don’t necessarily need to be used in order to create the product. You also get the benefit of owning a piece of history and, depending on the style and the era it was created, a unique vintage design.
- Look into reclaimed or recycled
Another way to incorporate the process of reusing products into your home is looking for furniture that uses reclaimed or recycled wood. This can include wood that comes from old houses (such as doors re-purposed into tables),wood with an industrial history (such as old shipping pallets), and even weathered woods found in lakes and reservoirs. Using wood from these sources not only provides a second life for old items but can add character to your home with unique look that can be difficult to duplicate.
- Consider certified sustainable resources
If, however, you’re looking for something more sleek, modern, and new for your home, you can look into furniture that uses certified sustainable wood. These products come from selected trees in responsibly managed forests or even from tree farms in order to protect our current forests. Two labels to look for are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and SmartWood from the Rainforest Alliance. The FSC plays a huge role in promoting and supporting responsible harvesting of wood and protecting forests. The Rainforest Alliance also conducts similar work and is an additional verification that the wood was harvested in a sustainable way.
- Check the wood source
Finally, selecting or avoiding specific wood sources is another key component to buying eco-friendly wooden furniture. Aside from the methods listed above, you can also look into buying items that use bamboo. Although technically a grass, bamboo shares similar aesthetic qualities with wood, such as the color spectrum and grain texture. You will, however, want to avoid selecting furniture that uses tropical hardwoods, such as teak and mahogany, redwood, and Douglas fir. Unless they are in reclaimed forms or certified by the FSC or the Rainforest Alliance, these may be sourced from old growth forests susceptible to harvesting and can take decades to repair the damage.