Please be Seated-Eco-Friendly Style

Oct 2012
Shopping for organic or eco-friendly seating can be confusing. Pieces are not labeled in the same way that clothing or food are designated. While some items will have the word organic in the product name or description, organic alone isn’t the be-all, end-all when it comes to furnishing your home with eco-friendly materials. Take a seat and let’s start the conversation with wooden seating.


Here are a few things to remember when you start the process:
  • There’s also an eco-friendly certification to consider when you’re shopping for wood furniture. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international non-profit that encourages sustainable forestry, offers FSC certification to companies that harvest wood in accordance to FSC’s requirements. Products made from FSC-certified wood can also carry the FSC label.
  • Once you’ve found the right wood, look for a no-VOC finish.
  • If there’s a cushion, you’ll want it upholstered with organic fabrics, natural fibers such as wool, cotton or silk.



  • Sustainable furniture can be found on many on-line resources. This Bently chair from Joss and Main is constructed of reclaimed teak and has a modern flair.



  • While this chair features slats of reclaimed material, you must be careful with furniture made from manufactured wood products. Particleboard, fiberboard and plywood can all contain formaldehyde glues.



  • Also consider furniture made from bamboo. Although technically not a wood (it’s a grass), it looks like wood, and it is typically grown with few to no pesticides. And, because it grows so fast, sustainability isn’t much of a concern.




  • Vintage and antique furniture are two of the most eco-friendly choices you can make for furnishing a home. There’s no hard and fast distinction for when furniture becomes vintage; to some people anything that’s old is vintage; others argue that items need to be at least 20 years old.
  • Antique furniture is technically anything made 100 years before the point when you buy it. Most people simply consider it to be furniture made around the turn of the 20th century and before. Either way, if it’s old, it’s not racking up any additional energy, water or other costs related to manufacturing. And it’s already offgassed as much as it’s going to.
  • Call it salvage-chic or dumpster-chic. Creatively reusing or reimagining everyday objects into completely different things is a great way to come up with furniture and accessories that are truly one-of-a-kind items. It can also reduce the volume of waste sent to landfills. According to the American Society of Interior Designers, 90 percent of everything manufactured in the United States ends up in landfills less than a year after production.



  • Buying local works with furniture the same way it does with food. Look for artisanal furniture made from salvaged wood and metal, organic wool and cotton, and recycled fabrics. Craft shows are a great place to find unusual pieces where you can speak directly with the creator. This stylish green chair is formed from timbers of old grown California redwood taken from a NYC water towers by Bellboynewyork.

the undulating shape is sleek and sexy at the same time.


  • Korean artist Jaehyo Lee creates furniture pieces made from pine that are unique and powerful in their simplicity. Showing nature in its organic form conveys a strong and contemporary vibe.

    Eco-friendly has come a long way in recent years. Once you start the search, I think you’ll be amazed at all your options.


Photo credits: Jaehyo Lee, Joss and Main, Materialicious, Monogoen, BellBoyNewYork, YouFiver, Jaehyo Lee