Eco-friendly furniture are fast becoming a common site in many homes and offices today. From recycled upholstery covers on our everyday dining chairs to matching tables made of used wood or PVC, the possibilities turning your living space into a model of green living is limitless.
Increasing demands for green furniture has left the market washed with furniture pieces being labled as green. But looking at its design isn’t enough to call any furniture green – what matters most are the materials used for making the furniture. How will you check for green furniture? What are the right questions to ask? What chemicals should you watch out for? Here are simple design tips and shopping tricks to find the right green furniture for you:
Check the formaldehyde content of the materials
Formaldehyde can be present in glues, particle board and plywood components of furniture. Make sure you ask the sales agent for formaldehyde content. The best option here would be solid wood furnitures since formaldehyde is not used during its manufacture. Don’t be afraid of shopping for solid wood furniture – they’re not as expensive as many people think.
Check for VOC (volatile organic compounds)
VOCs are present in glues and finishes of some furniture. These compounds may cause respiratory ailments and trigger allergies in infants and children. A few years back, many sales agents didn’t have any idea what VOC was and the health danger it brings. But now, many manufacturers have reformulated their furniture finishes to low or no VOC emissions. This means it’s the perfect time for you to shop for green furniture with very little VOC.
For upholstery pieces like foams and fabrics for chairs, table runners, beds, pillows and couches, make sure that they are not treated with halogenated flame retardants. These substances are toxic to humans and are known to cause reproductive, thyroid, endocrine and neurological disorders. The best way is to check the consumer tag. If it says it meets the TB117 for fire safety, then most probably it doesn’t contain the retardants. Wool and latex upholstery are the best green options.
Tips for buying wood furniture
The best choice when shopping for eco-friendly furniture is solid wood. But it doesn’t stop there. You must check if the furniture is made from sustainable wood sources. This way, you know that the manufacturers are doing what they can to preserve the world’s rainforests. Reclaimed wood, or wood used in a building or in railroad ties, is another good option. You could also opt for vintage or antiques.
Wood furnitures have great designs that you could be personalized. These could last as long as any of the materials being used in modern furnitures today but it should be maintained properly.
These are but just a few tips in shopping for eco-friendly furniture. There are many designs and cheap furniture to choose from, but it’s the materials used to create these pieces that really matters. Remember to always ask the sales agent about the materials used, and the possible chemicals contained in the furniture. It doesn’t hurt if you do preliminary research on the products as well.