I have to say that I am so thrilled that sustainability is having a renaissance right now and people are eager to find environmentally and ethically conscious brands for their home and wardrobe. The idea of shopping for furniture and decor may seem daunting, but knowing how to source the right pieces doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are my 5 tips for sourcing ethical and sustainable decor.
Start with Vintage – This is a given for me since vintage is always the most sustainable option. I shop at antique centers, flea markets, thrift stores and on Facebook Marketplace to find vintage and secondhand furniture. Many times these pieces are ready for use and other times they need a bit of revamping, but it’s still the best option if you’re looking at sourcing sustainable decor.
Find a Craftsperson – If you’re looking for something new for your home, consider purchasing locally made and search for artists working and building in your area. Etsy and Facebook allow you to search by location to find a local maker. Flea Markets are another great spot to find goods. Rose Bowl Flea Market, for example, has a section dedicated to new decor items where you can find the perfect craftsperson.
Materials Matter – Natural materials go hand in hand with sustainability. Natural materials like wool, bamboo, cotton and linen are considered sustainable while materials like vinyl and those treated with fire retardants use harsh chemicals. I always think about the materials that have the most contact with my skin like bed sheets, mattresses and upholstered furniture and choose to be really careful about what materials these are made with for that reason. There are many products that produce off gas and if you want to know the materials that can impact indoor air quality, check out this guide.
Location. Location. Location. – The further an item is, the more resources it requires to get the item to you, which is why it’s best to research where an item is coming from before you order. You can always contact the company and ask where the item is produced and where it ships from (such as a distribution center).
Look for Transparency – Greenwashing is real and many companies will tell you that they’re green, eco, organic, sustainable, but they’re actually none of those things. You likely spend hours researching the types of decor you want, so add a bit of time to research the company you’re going to buy from. Check the company’s website for information on their sustainability promise and ethical practices.
Read: Learn about Plan B Corporations