When you think of mass-produced goods, fast fashion is usually the first thing that comes to mind — but fast furniture is a thing, too. Luckily, eco-friendly furniture brands are out there to help us be more conscious of the impact of buying home goods has on the environment. With all the options out there that preach sustainability, we're here to help you find the best of the best. Here's our guide to shopping for sustainable brands and what to look for when you're trying to go eco-friendly at home.
What Makes a Furniture Brand Sustainable?
According to Phantila Phataprasit, co-founder of the Sabai, a BIPOC and women-owned sustainable furniture company, there are many elements that factor into what makes a furniture brand eco-friendly. "Sustainability is multi-dimensional, so determining whether a brand is sustainable requires looking at not only the materials but also where they're coming from, where the piece is being made, and where it may ultimately end up," Phataprasit tells Hunker. "At the same time, everyone is confined by their own set of circumstances, such as budget or timeline, so you have to balance a few factors and determine what makes the most sense for you."
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Ideally, you're going to want to shop brands that prioritize using materials in a way that doesn't negatively affect the environment, turn to renewable resources, and avoid chemicals like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during the manufacturing process — which is also good for you and your family. For wood-based products, be on the lookout for reclaimed or sustainable wood that's Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, meaning it was sourced responsibly. As for upholstery, opt for earth-friendly, organic materials like cotton, hemp, or wool.
At the end of the day, as great as it is that many brands are being more transparent about their sustainability practices, don't be afraid to ask more questions. "Based on their response, you'll likely quickly be able to determine if limiting their impact is something they genuinely care about and make an effort to do, or if they're just throwing out a buzzword every now and then," Phataprasit says. "I typically try to look for companies that are proactively trying to limit their impact, rather than those that reactively offset it."
The 10 Best Eco-Friendly Furniture Brands
1. West Elm
West Elm is filled with midcentury modern, minimalist, and Scandinavian designs, many of which are ethically and sustainably sourced. In fact, West Elm was the first major home retailer to sell Fair Trade Certified goods and has since paid millions in Fair Trade Premiums to support its workers and their communities. As part of the brand's sustainability initiatives, West Elm uses FSC-certified, upcycled, and recycled materials when possible to create less waste and has many collections that meet GREENGUARD Gold or STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX standards for chemicals and VOCs.
Our pick: West Elm Marcio Display Coffee Table, $479
Founded by two brothers, this eco-friendly furniture brand creates stylish midcentury modern, modern, and minimalist furniture that not only looks good but is also super comfy. Every piece is made to order and handcrafted in California with no harsh chemicals or fire retardants, FSC-certified wood and bamboo, all-natural furniture polish, CertiPUR-US-certified foam, organic natural latex, and natural fabrics including cotton, hemp, and OEKO-TEX Standard 100, cruelty-free wool.
Our pick: Medley Kirnik Sofa, $3,286
We know Avocado as the luxe mattress brand, but did you know they make sustainable furniture, too? Avocado creates high-quality furniture options perfect for your bedroom — including dressers, bed frames, nightstands, end tables, side tables, and benches — made from FSC-certified, reclaimed wood. Each piece of furniture was crafted in Los Angeles and meets multiple certifications for low emissions and pollutants like VOCs, formaldehyde, and phthalates.
Our pick: Avocado Natural Wood 6-Drawer Dresser, $2,730
With a mission to avoid throwing furniture away in landfills, Floyd creates modern furniture that's built to last. Currently, the eco-friendly and ethical furniture brand has five sustainability goals that include launching a resale and refurbishment program, using 70% of materials from recycled or renewable resources, minimizing packaging materials, using 100% FSC-certified wood across all products, and measuring, disclosing, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its supply chain by 2025. Plus, they specialize in modular designs, from bed frames to sectional sofas, meaning the pieces can be built and taken apart easily, making them even more long-lasting.
It's no secret that we love The Citizenry around here, mainly because they're in the business of current style and ethical sourcing. The brand's home decor and furniture pieces are all made from materials found locally and crafted by artisan communities in fair trade environments. The Citizenry's products aren't mass-produced and are made in limited, small-batch quantities.
Our pick: The Citizenry Liang Wicker Lounge Chair, $1,125
Modular with the ability to be customized, Sabai is not only sustainable but also affordable, which is music to our ears. Sabai offers sectionals, sofas, loveseats, pillows, and more, all comfy and manufactured sustainably in North Carolina with recycled, upcycled, and natural fabrics, FSC-certified wood and CertiPUR-US-certified foam, and plastic-free shipping. The brand also has a program where you can trade in or buy its products secondhand. It encourages repairing over replacing your furniture with smaller components available to make your products last.
Our pick: Sabai The Essential Corner Sectional, $2,495+
Etsy is home to many smaller businesses that offer vintage, secondhand, and handmade furniture and decor. You can find tables for your dining room, media consoles for your living room, and desks for your home office, to name a few.
Joybird has furniture pieces for every space in your home, including outdoor furniture. Each product is custom made with a midcentury modern flair and style you'll surely want to show off. Joybird also partners with conservation groups, including One Tree Planted, so trees are planted for every product sold.
Our pick: Joybird Lana Dining Arm Chair, $785
ABC Carpet & Home is all about sustainable and quality design, with no shortage of eco-friendly and handcrafted home decor and furniture. The brand is committed to fair trade with better working conditions and fair wages for its workers, along with using sustainably sourced materials for its wood furniture and a hefty collection of antiques and vintage items.
10. Crate and Barrel
Crate and Barrel is committed to multiple environmental initiatives, from its furniture down to its packaging. Many of the brand's products (especially in its dining and home office collections) are made with FSC-certified wood. As for its packaging, Crate and Barrel's signature black and white shipping boxes are made with renewable fiber, including post-consumer recycled material. They also use 100% recyclable tissue.