Shopping for home furnishings today is very different than it was centuries ago. In Europe in the 1700s, furniture was made primarily in family-owned shops. Everyone bought furniture from the same shop, because that was the only place in town to buy it. As immigrants came over to the U.S. from Europe and started to colonize, family carpentry shops once again reigned. In the 1800s, many people packed their worldly belongings into a covered wagon and trekked across the country to find a new place to settle. Once the homestead was located, these hardy pioneers set about building their houses and furniture from whatever supplies they could find: primarily mud and sticks. While this certainly led to innovative designs and carpentry methods, it was a lot of hard work.
Thank goodness times have changed. Many furniture companies today realize that they can play a part in managing our natural resources by adding eco-friendly (also called green) home furnishings to their product line-up. These companies have developed a solid environmental conscience and have chosen to do what they can to promote the concepts of reduce, reuse, and recycle through their furniture offerings. By implementing new processes in the development, sourcing, and production of home furnishings, furniture companies are changing the landscape of the world, literally, for the better.
Green furnishings include furniture made from a variety of recycled and eco-friendly materials, such as reclaimed woods. Furniture made from recycled wood often retains some of the characteristics of its original use and has a nice, comfortable finish to it. Furniture built from plantation-grown wood, which comes from tree farms designed specifically for this purpose, is another option.
These tree farms are replanted on a regular basis so that the cycle of growth and harvest continues. There are even furniture designers who harvest tree roots and turn them into chairs. The possibilities are intriguing and furniture companies who use reclaimed and recycled wood are designing some of the most unique pieces available today.
Creative wood furniture design is but one of the ways furniture companies are reusing resources and recycling materials into beautiful and unique home furnishings. Chairs and sofas covered with organically produced, low-impact dyed fabrics are becoming popular, as is the use of wool, cotton, hemp, and other natural fibers. More home furnishings are being made from recycled glass. Soy foam is replacing traditional petroleum-based foam in the seats of sofas and chairs, and recycled copper table tops are gaining in popularity.
Consumers who choose furniture made from sustainable and eco-friendly materials discover that these home furnishings offer an array of indirect, but important benefits. Green furniture is made from natural materials and helps to retain the integrity of the earths rainforests. Many green furnishings are one-of-a-kind pieces with unique characteristics not available in mass-produced furniture. These distinctive furnishings can literally transform a room with their eclectic look. Certainly a table made from recycled barn wood or a bed frame forged from reclaimed iron will elicit comments about their origins. Ultimately the consumer may find that a number of her sustainable and eco-friendly furniture pieces become cherished family heirlooms; which would perfectly fulfill the intention of their designers.