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Sustainable Design and Furniture
Sustainable design and furniture need to be a part of the decorating lifestyle. We hear information about the serious consequences of non-sustainable practices on a daily basis. The predictions are dire for general quality of life if sustainability isn’t encouraged in the harvesting of resources, manufacturing of goods, and consumption of finished products.
One component of the sustainability equation is using sustainable design and furniture to decorate our homes and gardens. Not only is furniture from low-impact building materials practical, it is also fashionable and cost efficient. Utilizing sustainable furniture made from natural or recycled materials keeps useful materials out of landfills. One way to work towards a brighter future is to build sustainability into your furniture choices.
Low Co2 Concrete Design
Concrete furniture can be a part if sustainable design and furniture. It’s is a prime choice for outdoor settings, but only if it’s a specially formulated low carbon concrete. Production of the cement that goes into traditional concrete makes up 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, so this distinction is important.
Low Co2 concrete can be used for everything that traditional concrete can, including stadiums! In fact, the stadium for the NFL San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, California is being constructed from low carbon concrete, provided by U.S. company, Central Concrete.
For those people that want furniture that is artistic and unusual looking, then consider concrete furniture. Not only is concrete furniture functional and durable, it’s a cost effective if you plan on keeping it for a long time. Concrete furniture can be made in any shape or color, and be designed around your space rather than simply filling it. Remember it’s heavy so you won’t be moving it around a lot once you get it home.
Design with Recycled and Discarded Materials
Repurposing used goods and recycling materials is a way for interior designers to integrate sustainable design and furniture into new products for their sustainable design clients. Using repurposed and recycled material ensures that these new products have a lighter carbon footprint while keeping landfills with less trash.
Prominent designer Paolo Goldstein’s sustainable furniture is one example of the benefits of breathing new life into discarded objects. His ability to balance the esthetic and functionality when designing furniture is truly amazing. Check out more of his work here
Other Examples of using discarded materials:
Turn an old dresser into a bench for sitting. Found this wonderful bench on My Repurposed Life
Side note: Make sure to use environmentally friendly paint to finish the piece. Good paints will have no VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Yolo Colorhouse and Ecotrend Collagen Paint are good brands to use. The latter uses eggshell lining from commercial bakery waste as a binder.
Turn an old tire into a fashionable looking ottoman
Found this nice design on That Was a What?! Check them out here
Design with Reclaimed Wood Furniture
A third sustainable furniture option is reclaimed wood. Most of the wood used in manufacturing comes at the cost of cutting down trees. Reclaimed wood mostly comes from old barns, closed factories and warehouses.
Once, the earth had more than 7 billion forests, now only half remain today. Logging is a big threat to the forests. Every year, at least 40 million acres disappear. And more than 9 percent of the world’s tree species are now endangered. Decorating with reclaimed wood is a great way to stop environmental degradation and preserving forest lands for the future.
Clearly, using sustainable design and furniture is a practice that should be encouraged today. Sustainable furniture has many advantages, including reducing your carbon emissions and adding elegance to your home. Many high-end designers are encouraging clients to use discarded and recycled materials, and manufacturers are listening to them. Whether it is concrete, reclaimed wood, or recycled plastic, the material sources in furniture manufacturing and consumer choice must be environmentally sustaining and profitable.
Lena Carson is an interior designer and writer from Tucson, Arizona. She loves writing about sustainable and creative interior design techniques.