Just like fast fashion, homeware is becoming an addiction for avid consumers. Instead of buying quality homeware that will last, consumers are now opting for passing trends and prioritizing cheaper pieces that regularly give their homes a fresh new look.
In the same vein as Pretty Little Thing and Boohoo, homeware brands are releasing viral pieces for competitive prices and, in doing so, have now become a non-essential consumer sector. Even high-street stores like H&M and Zara are maximizing on the trend and have released their own homeware ranges.
The result is an unsustainable sector that is filling our houses with low-quality furniture that will inevitably end up in a landfill. However, demand for more sustainable furniture and for companies to take responsibility has been increasing over the past few years, showing that part of the population is shifting toward a more sustainable lifestyle.
What makes home décor sustainable?
The boxes to tick for home décor and furniture to be sustainable are many, but not so different from the ones used in many other industries.
- Materials: The materials used to create the product should come from renewable sources. Lately, recycled materials such as PET and old wood fibres have increasingly become a valid alternative in the production process. Navigating materials can however be difficult for the consumer who doesn’t want to spend much time researching. In these cases, labels such as FSC or PEFC are there to guide the consumer toward sustainable choices that don’t endanger forests.
- Durability: When thinking about the durability of a product naturally you have to consider the durability of the piece itself. However, another aspect you should consider is the durability of the product in your mind. Even if a product could last for a long time, if you don’t like it anymore once the trend is passed, you’ll probably end up replacing it at some point.
- Production: Sustainability is not only about protecting the environment; sustainability also entails social responsibility. In this regard, buyers should choose those companies that provide good working conditions and fair wages across their whole supply chain.
- Transportation: The transportation of raw materials, as well as finished products, can be extremely polluting. In these cases, opting for locally sourced materials and suppliers can help reduce significantly your carbon footprint.
Now that we know what it takes to for home décor to be sustainable, read the following tips and reduce your carbon footprint.
Invest in high-quality furniture
Resist the urge to buy that bright pink sofa that will become an eyesore after a few months and avert your eyes when you spot that pretty (yet wobbly) coffee table. Now is the time to invest in quality pieces of wardrobes and homeware that will stay with you for life and can be passed on to future generations.
If you are a homeowner and you intend to live in the same house for a long time, if not for life, bespoke wardrobes are a great option to maximiser the space you already have available. For instance, fitted wardrobes can fit awkward spaces that people would not know how to make use of otherwise.
Opt for eco-friendly materials and second-hand goods
One way to keep your carbon footprint to a minimum is by buying second-hand. Enjoy the furniture fruits of the circular economy and buy pre-loved tables, chairs, sofas, and the lot. Not only does it cost the Earth nothing, but it is also a whole lot cheaper than buying brand-new furniture.
Visit eBay or Gumtree for some great vintage bargains or head to your local vintage fare or second-hand furniture shop. With so many more styles on offer, this is your chance to really have fun with your furniture and mix and match textures, shapes and design for a really unique home that is reflective of you.
However, even when buying new furniture you can choose to be sustainable. In these instances, research is the key to a more conscious way of buying. When choosing your furniture, make sure to look out for FSC-certified wood that guarantees durability. You should also try to find out how all materials involved in the manufacturing process were sourced and what policies the brand has in place to meet the 2050 sustainability goals.
Upcycle and donate unwanted furniture
Just like you bought your furniture from a second-hand store, feed the circular economy once more with some of your own donations. In this respect, Brits are particularly virtuous; according to statistics in 2020, 62% of the UK population made some form of donation to charities.
Alternatively, if your pieces are looking a bit tired but still have a few more years left in them, you can give them a much-needed makeover.