The perils of fast fashion have now firmly entered the public consciousness: we all know buying piles of poorly-produced, low-quality clothing destined to end up in landfill is terrible for the environment. But what about your home, and purchasing more sustainable furniture?
Historically, furniture was typically built to last. But the advent of plastics, and a culture of renting and moving far more often than our predecessors, means mass-produced furnishings have become the norm. Ask any student or cash-strapped first-time buyer; IKEA is still the one-stop shop for quickly furnishing a home.
But the consequence of hundreds of millions of people consuming cheap furniture is that IKEA alone now accounts for a shocking 0.1% of all global greenhouse emissions.
More options exist, however, and we are firm believers that homes look even more stunning when decorated with thought and care for the environment. Here are a few of our favourite ethical interior hacks for when you’re next updating your home.
The most obvious and also the best tip: choose secondhand. Vintage furniture is often of a far higher build quality and will lend character to your home. Online, eBay and Vinterior are great places to score a Danish mid-century coffee table or a perfect antique French mirror. If you prefer seeing things in person, then the British Heart Foundation is running its Reuse Revolution campaign this month, encouraging shoppers to check out the vintage furniture available at their (excellent) 190 home stores dotted across the UK.
Invest in independent brands
If you do buy brand new, it’s worth checking the practices of the brands you shop with. Favouring sustainably-sourced wood, metal and glass which has been produced ethically is a better bet than spending on mass-produced furniture made by poorly-paid workers. Seek out brands with strong sustainability credentials. For instance, our brand to trust Helen Amy Murray‘s luxurious pieces are made to order, cutting down on waste.
Love what you have
Sometimes, it’s the little things that make a house feel like a home. Rather than discarding existing furniture, refresh rooms with the addition of smaller home accessories like ethically-made throws, candles and rugs. We love Australian candlemaker Lumira‘s sweetly-scented products, and IOTA Project‘s made-to-order rugs. IOTA employs women who are otherwise unable to work by teaching them crocheting techniques and providing them with work they can carry out from their homes.
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Written by - Olivia Gagan