Celebrate Earth Day this Month Eco-Friendly Home Furnishings
By Rebekah Greer
Most of us seek to lead healthier lives and make our footprint on the planet as light as possible. Recycling, purchasing organic food and products, riding our bikes or even gardening are all ways we can accomplish this, but what about the furniture that fills our homes? This may not be a factor that immediately comes to mind when trying to make better choices for both ourselves and the environment, but there are a multitude of ways we can incorporate healthier, eco-friendlier choices into our home furnishings.
Have you ever brought a new piece of furniture into your home—especially a chair or sofa—and noticed a plastic or chemical smell? Unfortunately, that scent is caused by the off-gassing of chemicals used in the furniture production process. These volatile organic compounds (VOC) and carcinogens can be found in glues, foams and fabrics in both wood and upholstered furniture. Not only can this off-gassing be harmful to your health, it’s harmful to the environment as well. So, next time you need new furniture, look for items that are constructed of solid wood and use low or no-VOC stains. Although leather may seem like a more natural and durable choice for upholstered furniture, the leather tanning process uses harmful chemicals and leaves a heavier carbon footprint, so opt for natural fabrics such as cotton, linen or hemp instead.
Once you’ve begun to consider alternatives to the traditional products used in furniture, think about where the furniture comes from. Due to harvesting methods in the lumber industry, wood components can be linked to deforestation and increased carbon emissions. Choose sustainable or domestic hardwoods that are harvested responsibly and sustainably or reclaimed wood furniture. Not only is furniture made of reclaimed wood more sustainable, it is often more unique and well-constructed than mass produced alternatives. A large amount of furniture is manufactured overseas and shipped around to globe to its final destination. So, look for “Made in the USA” and “Domestically Produced” when shopping for furniture for your home.
Now, what about your bedroom? Instead of opting for a traditional mattress, choose a variety that is free from toxic flame retardant chemicals, while using natural and sustainable materials. Organic cotton, organic latex and organic wool are natural alternatives to traditional materials in mattresses, bedding, sheets and pillows, offering a truly “green” space to lay your head down each night.
Whenever you decide to upgrade some of the furniture in your home, think about where that furniture comes from and how it’s produced. You might not be ready to paint your walls green, but you can start to decorate with a “green” theme, resulting in a home that’s better for you, your family and the planet. If you’re looking for options to more responsibly furnish your home, they are becoming more readily available every day.
At Top Drawer Furniture, we believe in providing options to create a safe home environment, both in the present and throughout future generations. Therefore, we invite you to join us as we launch our new line of organic sofas, constructed from natural latex foam, organic fabrics and beautiful hardwoods. These sofas naturally complement our line of organic non-toxic latex mattresses. Come visit us and discover how you can make furniture choices that are safer for the environment and your health, while adding natural beauty to your decor.
Rebekah Greer is the owner of Top Drawer Furniture, a local family-owned retailer of organic sofas, reclaimed wood furniture and organic non-toxic sleep solutions. The showroom is located at 1955 Northgate Blvd., Sarasota. For more information, call 941-877-1381 or visit TopDrawerFurnitureStore.com.