Decor Tip: Say No to Fast Furniture

As I mentioned last week, I'll be taking a stab at what we, as individuals, can do about a massive global problem - Fast Furniture.  Fast Furniture, like Fast Clothes, is items intended only to be used a few times and then discarded.  According to the EPA, in 2018 (pre-pandemic, mind you) Americans discarded over 12 million tons of furniture and furnishings.  (By contrast, in in 1968 Americans discarded only 2.5 million tons.)  It's a problem that is growing exponentially (and I shudder to think about the post-pandemic numbers, when so many people were online shopping for furnishings).  It can be difficult to source Slow Furniture (and, at times, costly) but the benefits for our environment are impressive.  So what can we do?

Step 1: Buy American

Deforestation is a huge issue worldwide, especially in tropical areas where the demand for wood is outstripping growth.  Buying American shortens the supply chain and generally ensures that there is oversight to prevent deforestation.  You still have to do your research (and remember - it's not just buying it in a local store - it's where that store sourced it).  Generally, you want to avoid "marketplaces" like Wayfair and Amazon (if you aren't sure, do a reverse image search on Google;  if many sellers are using the same photo, it's likely Fast Furniture).   PRO TIP: If you are going to buy new, look for the FSC Certification. The Forest Stewardship Council only certifies pieces that use wood from FSC-certified forests, meaning they’re sustainably managed with responsible cultivation and harvesting methods.  

Step 2: Save the Furniture

Just like whales, furniture needs saving, too!  Instead of chucking furniture, see if you can repair, repaint or in some way upcycle it so you can keep using it.  If a piece has "good bones" (something Fast Furniture lacks) it can often be saved.  And if it just doesn't work for you, donate it so someone else can benefit!  PRO TIP: The easiest way to find pieces with good bones is to buy vintage.  Fast Furniture just didn't exist all that long ago, so if you opt for pieces with a little age you will find they are often constructed with real wood and quality fabrics and fittings.  Don't be afraid when shopping to look underneath and when buying new ask to see samples of what is under the upholstery.  By buying quality construction, you can keep pieces longer than a season.

Step 3: Look for Versatility

When making a purchase, look for pieces that address more than one need, or can be moved as your life changes.  I read an article recently that showed a small pair of dressers used as nightstands, then moved to the living room as end tables, then repurposed in a bathroom as extra storage.  Finally, they stacked them to make a great occasional piece in the hall.  Now that's multifunction!  PRO TIP: Take your time!  Rome wasn't built in a day, and your house doesn't have to be completely decorated that quickly, either.  Be thoughtful about furniture - look for the RIGHT piece, not just the RIGHT NOW piece.  The perfect one will come!  

Fast Furniture is something we all need to be mindful of.  Let's work together to reduce out furnishings footprint, create American jobs and fight deforestation and overflowing landfills.  Think slow!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.