Takeover Tuesday: Eco-friendly elegance with sustainable furniture

Explore sustainable materials, eco-conscious practices, and the hurdles in embracing green lifestyle options, as our Interior Designer, Emma discusses the ever-changing realm of sustainable furniture design.

In a world increasingly conscious of its environmental impact, the furniture industry is going through a significant transformation. With consumers looking for methods to reduce their carbon footprint and make environmentally conscious decisions, the demand for sustainable and eco-friendly materials in furniture design has surged. In this blog, our Interior Designer, Emma, talks about the growing popularity of sustainable materials for furniture design, highlighting their benefits to the environment.

What is sustainable furniture design?

At its core, sustainable furniture design refers to furniture that is created using materials and techniques that have a minimal impact on the environment. This can include using materials that are renewable or recyclable, minimising waste during production, and choosing manufacturing processes that are energy efficient.


How is furniture production harmful to the environment?

Furniture design is environmentally damaging at various stages of its lifecycle. The extraction of raw materials, often involving deforestation, contributes to habitat loss and biodiversity decline. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), up to 30% of global wood production is used for furniture, contributing to the loss of 18.7 million acres of forest annually.

The manufacturing process, particularly for mass-produced furniture, is energy-intensive and releases greenhouse gases into the environment. This process involves the widespread use of synthetic materials in furniture production that introduces harmful chemicals, leading to further air and water pollution during manufacturing.  

Additionally, improper disposal or inadequate recycling of these waste products can contribute to landfill accumulation and environmental pollution. Therefore, it is essential that we begin to embrace sustainable procedures, such as using recycled materials and improving product lifespan, to reduce these detrimental effects and encourage an eco-friendly approach to furniture design.

Making sustainable choices:

Wood alternatives: beyond deforestation

Bamboo and reclaimed wood are examples of sustainable wood alternatives that are gaining popularity for their rapid growth and minimal environmental impact. Bamboo stands out for its renewability, as it can be harvested in a fraction of the time it takes for hardwood trees to mature. Reclaimed wood, sourced from old buildings or furniture, not only reduces the demand for new timber but also gives a second life to materials that would otherwise end up in landfills.

Recycled materials: turning waste into beauty

The concept of "upcycling" has gained momentum as designers and manufacturers turn to recycled materials to create unique and sustainable furniture pieces. Recycled plastic, for instance, can be transformed into stylish and durable furniture, diverting plastic waste from oceans and landfills. Similarly, metal scraps and discarded materials can be repurposed to craft one-of-a-kind, environmentally friendly furniture, showcasing the beauty that lies in reimagining waste.

Recycled plastic furniture
Antwerp-based brand Ecobirdy has used recycled plastic toys to create a range of colourful furniture for kids, aiming to raise their 'awareness of sustainability'

Eco-friendly fabrics: upholstery with a conscience

The textile industry has also embraced sustainability, offering a variety of eco-friendly fabrics for furniture upholstery. Fabrics made from organic cotton, hemp, and recycled materials provide a greener alternative to conventional options. Additionally, innovative materials like Piñatex, derived from pineapple fibres, are responsible upholstery choices. As well as Camira Oceanic, a fabric created entirely from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles taken from both land and sea, supporting ocean clean-up projects in the Mediterranean, River Nile, and Caribbean.

New modern table system by TIPTOE

New Modern is a modular table system with trestle-style steel leg units that can be paired with different tabletops, created by French furniture brand TIPTOE.

The tables are made from responsibly sourced recycled or recyclable materials, with tabletops rendered in either pinewood certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) or in terrazzo-style recycled plastic made from discarded yoghurt pots.

Recycled material tables
Each component of table can be easily repaired or replaced. The tables are also shipped using 80% paper packaging to reduce plastic waste and carbon emissions related to transportation.


While sustainable furniture is a positive choice for the environment, it can present challenges to the user. One significant challenge is the financial aspect, as sustainable materials and ethical manufacturing processes often come at a higher cost, making them less accessible for those on a budget.  Furthermore, sustainable furniture may not have the same variety of styles compared to conventional furniture, and consumers may find it challenging to find something that matches their specific aesthetic preferences. Accessibility also poses a challenge, as sustainable furniture may not be as readily available in certain geographic locations. Consumers in remote areas or smaller markets may find it challenging to access a variety of sustainable furniture choices.

Despite these challenges, it's important to note that the sustainable furniture industry is continually evolving. As awareness grows and demand increases, innovations are likely to address some of these challenges, making sustainable choices more accessible, diverse, and user-friendly over time.


As we navigate the delicate balance between aesthetics, functionality, and eco-consciousness, the furniture industry stands at a pivotal crossroads where conscious decisions today can shape a more sustainable tomorrow.  

The financial commitment required for sustainable furniture remains a key challenge, demanding a balance between upfront costs and long-term environmental benefits. Accessibility, or lack of in certain regions, emphasises the need for a more widespread market for sustainable options. Therefore, it is crucial for the sustainable furniture industry to evolve. Through innovation, education, and increased market availability of sustainable furniture, the consumer experience can become more seamless, enabling a wider audience to embrace environmentally conscious living.

Overall, the journey towards sustainable furniture is a collective commitment, and as users demand more sustainable choices, the industry will undoubtedly respond - bringing in a new era of eco-friendly living by using recycled materials, reducing waste, and embracing circular design principles.

For more sustainable materials visit our Sustainable Design Hub.

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