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Sustainable furniture brands offer an ethical alternative to fast furniture. In recent years, fast furniture has led to furniture waste rising above 12 million tons per year and introduced toxic substances and unsustainable materials into our homes. Like fast fashion, fast furniture is a significant risk to our planet, but by buying sustainable furniture you can do your bit to help save the environment.
Below, we’ve listed 15 ethical furniture brands that use socially and environmentally sustainable practices and high-quality manufacturing methods, which enables them to create furniture that is good for the environment and can last for decades.
We’ve chosen these furniture brands because they use sustainably-sourced materials and fair hiring practices, so they’re not just good for the environment, but also for people. In addition to responsibly sourced and recycled materials, many use low-VOC finishes, use ethical production practices, and are fair trade. When you purchase from one of these brands, you are not only improving your home decor, but you are also helping the planet and helping others earn a fair wage.
Where to Buy Sustainable Furniture
Here’s a rundown of our top sustainable furniture options (click on one to skip to our overview of the brand and why it is a great eco-friendly choice):
- Burrow – sustainable modular seating company, made in the USA.
- Mater – environmentally sustainable twist on Nordic design
- The Citizenry – handmade furniture and furnishings collected from the global community with a focus on fair trade
- PlushBeds – eco-friendly mattresses and beds with a huge range of eco certifications
- Copeland Furniture – all-American sustainable wood furniture
- Saatva – sustainable mattress and bed manufacturer
- Skagerak – Danish brand that produces ethical indoor & outdoor furniture (available at Finnish Design Shop)
- Simbly – minimalist tables and benches made from FSC-certified sustainable wood at their factory in North Carolina
- Nikari – traditional Finnish craftsmanship and great for the environment
- Masaya & Co – handmade from renewable hardwoods in Nicaragua (available at Made Trade)
- VivaTerra – limited collections of artisan-made furniture from around the world
- Greenington – beautiful molded bamboo furniture (available at Made Trade)
- Medley – California-based sustainably-made hardwood furniture
- Thuma – Beautiful bed frames made from reclaimed wood
- ABC Carpet & Home – wide range of sustainable furniture
Don’t know your FSC-certified from your Fair Trade? Continue reading past our recommendations to see our full buyers guide where we go into detail about what sustainable furniture is and why you should buy it, as well as explaining a few common terms you’ll come across. Click here to skip to the buyers guide.
Burrow, a USA-based furniture company, started with their collection of eco-friendly modular seating but has now expanded to include shelves and tables. Their contemporary and light designs look great in any home.
By producing their pieces locally, and shipping direct-to-consumer, Burrow reduces both shipping costs and pollution. Their furniture uses sustainably-sourced hardwood, non-toxic fabrics, and recyclable packaging materials to keep their footprint low. With a focus on durability and build quality, Border designs eco-friendly pieces that will last for generations.
Range: Accent tables, armchairs, leather seating, loveseats, ottomans, sectionals, side tables, shelves, sleepers, sofas.
Our top picks: Burrow is known for the Nomad seating collection – comfy, customizable sofas that are sustainably made (see image above). Choose from five fabric colors, six leg finishes, and three arm styles. Available as a 2-seater, 3-seater, all the way up to an 8-seater. Optional extras include moveable chaise, ottoman, sleep kit, and bolster pillows.
Click below to see prices at Burrow:
Mater is a Copenhagen-based ethical furniture company that produces a wide range of sustainable furniture products, including seating, tables, outdoor furniture, and bar furniture.
Their use of ethical materials and methods makes them an easy recommendation, especially when you take into account their stunning designs and focus on great craftsmanship and durability – these pieces will last you a lifetime.
The majority of their eco-friendly collection is ethically made using FSC-certified wood (Forest Stewardship Council), and they frequently use locally sourced recycled and upcycled waste materials – including car parts! – in their designs.
Range includes: Barstools, bowl tables, dining chairs & tables, lounge chairs, lounge tables, rockers, outdoor furniture, sofas.
Our top picks: We love Mater’s range of bowl tables as well as this stunning rocker.
Click below to see prices at 2modern:
The Citizenry focuses on and celebrates the people behind its items. This sustainable furniture brand brings together eco-friendly handmade products from a wide range of artists & designers from around the world, including Chile, Vietnam, Japan, and Portugal, and provides them for sale in small batches of limited edition pieces.
The Citizenry is committed to fair trade, fair wages, and supporting good working environments and only works with furniture manufacturers that are create ethically made furniture. Additionally, The Citizenry invests 10% of its proceeds back into these communities.
Range includes: Chairs, coffee tables, headboards, nightstands, ottomans, poufs, stools.
Our top picks: Our top pick has to be the Lindu Cane Lounge Chair (pictured above), which has been handcrafted in a fair trade workshop in Indonesia from natural manau rattan and cane.
PlushBeds is an eco-friendly mattress company that sells its own range of sustainable beds, mattresses, toppers, and bedding. The company uses certified organic materials and has an impressive range of certifications that include Rainforest Alliance Certification, GOTS, GOLS, and GreenGuard Certified (among others). They use renewable wood, are a Green America Certified Business and a member of the Sustainable Furnishing Council.
This brand’s eco-conscious outlook extends beyond its sustainable furniture: PlushBeds also offer green scholarships for students undertaking eco-degrees such as biodiversity, ecology, forestry, environmental law, and many others.
Range includes: Beds, bedding, mattresses, toppers.
Our top picks: Pictured is the Scoresby Designer Bed, available in four sizes (Full, Queen, King, and Cal King), and five colors (charcoal, desert, oat, spruce, and stone).
Founded in the early 1970s in Vermont, Copeland Furniture has grown from a one-man operation to an international supplier of high-quality eco-friendly furniture, including beds, dining tables & chairs, office furniture, and dressers. Still based in Vermont, Copeland Furniture uses sustainably-harvested hardwoods from the American Northern Forest to create its range of sustainable furniture.
Copeland Furniture is a recipient of Silver Exemplary Membership Status by the Sustainable Furnishing Council (SFC), a recipient of the Safe Award for Environmental Excellence, and uses varnish that is Greenguard-Certified for low chemical emissions. Copeland Furniture also has a 500kw solar array to help power their factory, enabling them to offset nearly one million pounds of CO2 emissions each year.
Range includes: Bar furniture, beds, benches, bookcases, computer desks, desks, dining chairs, dining room tables, dressers, kids furniture, office storage, platform beds, seating, side & end tables, stools.
Our top pick: The Astrid bed (pictured above) will look great as part of your home decor. This handmade, hand-finished bed is available in 11 different kinds of woods and in Queen, King, and Cal-King sizes.
Click below to see prices at 2modern.com:
Saatva is a sustainable mattress and bed manufacturer. Their materials include organic cotton, recycled steel, plant-based flame retardants and CertiPUR-US certified eco-friendly memory foam. Saatva further reduces its carbon footprint by operating a direct-to-consumer model, which cuts down on shipping and increases the sustainability of their products.
Saatva are members of the Sustainable Furnishings Council and in 2018 their mattress was named Sustainability Product of the Year by the Business Intelligence Group.
Range includes: Beds, mattresses
Our top picks: The Lineal Adjustable Base enables you to elevate your head and feet using a remote control and enjoy a massage from your own bed.
Founded in 1976 in Denmark, Skagerak produces beautiful sustainable furniture for a global audience. It is a member of the UN Global Compact Act and B Corp, and is FSC-certified. Currently, 71% of their wood is FSC-certified, and they are working towards 100% sustainably sourced wood furniture.
With a global supply chain, Skagerak takes its commitment to its workers seriously, aiming to produce sustainable furniture that is fair to both the planet and humans. It is committed to the principles of fair pay, no discrimination, no child labor, and decent working hours for its employees and only works with partners who do the same.
Skagerak is available at Finnish Design Shop – the world’s largest store for Nordic-designed furniture and furnishing (ships globally).
Range includes: Armchairs, bar stools, benches, cabinets, deck chairs, desks, outdoor furniture, side tables, sofas, stools, tables, wood furniture.
Our top picks: The Virkelyst 3-seater sofa (pictured above) has been designed for outdoor use without sacrificing the comfort and quality you’d expect from indoor furniture. Currently out of stock, but expected to be available again November 2020.
Click below to see prices at FinnishDesignShop.com:
Made in the USA, Simbly creates beautiful tables and benches using responsibly harvested FSC-certified wood. They create their contemporary minimalist furniture using Appleply, a premium hardwood plywood that is strong, durable, and beautiful. By both harvesting their wood and manufacturing in the USA, they cut down on shipping and reduce their carbon footprint.
Simbly’s aim is to become the first climate-positive furniture company in the world. In addition to using FSC-certified wood, they also use eco-friendly packaging, ship flat-pack to reduce emissions (more product per truck), and promise to plant a tree for every product a customer buys. Simbly is also a member of 1% for the Planet, which means they donate 1% of their revenue to environmental causes.
Other benefits of shopping at Simbly include free shipping and returns and a 100-day return option.
Range includes: Simbly offer a bench, coffee table, dining table, and desk/kitchen table in their signature contemporary design.
Our top picks: With similar styles across their four products, pick whichever is best for your situation. We like the Simbly Dining Table in Walnut, which would make a great focal point for your dining room.
Nikari’s simple and beautiful sustainable furniture products are created using traditional Finnish craftsmanship from their workshop in south-west Finland. They use responsibly-sourced wood, power their workshop and offices with hydropower, and deliver using recyclable packing. They treat their sustainable wood with certified natural oil mixtures, soaps, and waxes.
Like many Nordic furniture brands, Nikari is available at Finnish Design Shop – the world’s largest store for Nordic-designed furniture and furnishing (ships globally).
Range includes: Bar chairs, bar stools, benches, cabinets, lounge chairs, ottomans, tables, space dividers.
Our top picks: The December lounge chair’s (pictured above) simple and natural styling would look good as part of your home decor. Made in Finland and available in Ask or Oak with a linen or leather seat.
Click below to see prices at FinnishDesignShop.com:
Masaya & Co is a socially and environmentally sustainable furniture store. Their eco-friendly furniture is handmade in Nicaragua using renewable hardwoods grown on their reforestation project, which manages over 1100 acres of trees using sustainable methods. Each time you buy a product from Masaya & Co, they plant 100 trees; this year, Masaya & Co expects to plant 250,000 trees as part of this project.
Masaya & Co. is available at Made Trade. Made Trade is a curated online store for sustainable and ethical furniture and home decor.
Range includes: This sustainable furniture brand’s range includes armchairs, barstools, beds, benches, bookshelves, credenzas, desks, dining chairs, dressers, lounge chairs, love seats, nightstands, ottomans, rocking chairs, side tables, sofas, stools.
Our top picks: Masaya’s range of pieces includes many eye-catching patterns, but we particularly like the Geronimo pattern (seen above on a teak dining chair). The same pattern (and many others) are available on a rocking chair, lounge chair, ottoman, and even on the headboard for Masaya’s Monimbo bed.
Click below to see prices at Made Trade:
VivaTerra sells a large range of eco-friendly decor items, including furniture. This furniture and home decor company sources its items from artisans and family-owned businesses around the world, supporting creators and their communities who use sustainable methods to create beautiful items. Most of their pieces are handcrafted, made with reclaimed or recycled materials, made using natural products, and using responsibly-sourced wood (either FSC-certified or reclaimed wood).
Range includes: Accent tables, armchairs, benches, chairs, coat racks, consoles, cupboards, desks, dining chairs, dining tables, drawers, dressers, nesting tables, lounge chairs, ottomans, outdoor furniture, side tables, sofas, storage boxes, wine racks.
Our top picks: Vivaterra’s Iron and Reclaimed Wood Nesting Tables (Set of 3, shown above) with naturally distressed reclaimed wood look incredible and will make a versatile addition to your living room.
Greenington creates beautiful sustainable furniture products from molded Mosu Bamboo, a material that is sustainable, eco-friendly, and easy to grow. The natural materials are grown in China, where the products are manufactured, and Greenington is committed to paying all its workers and artisans in China a fair living wage.
Greenington is available at Made Trade. Made Trade is a curated online store for sustainable and ethical furniture and home goods.
Range includes: Accent tables, beds, bookshelves, chairs, coffee tables, dining chairs, tables, drawers, dressers, end tables, media centers, nightstands, sideboard, stools.
Our top picks: Check out the Greenington Azara Dining Table.
Click below to see prices at Made Trade:
Family-owned and founded in Los Angeles, Medley furniture (aka Medley Home) is handcrafted in California using American hardwood from FSC-certified hardwoods. Medley doesn’t stop at wood when choosing sustainable materials: their foam is created using either natural latex foam (certified organic by The Global Organic Latex Standard), or, if you choose synthetic, the cleanest polyester foam available on the market (certified by CertiPUR-US).
Other natural materials used include sustainably-sourced Eco Wool (Oeko-Tex 100 Certified) and organic cotton (certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard). They also offer a 100-day trial, and they don’t use harsh chemicals on their products, making them great for the planet and your home or working environment.
Range includes: Accent chairs, accent tables, armchairs, benches, beds, credenza, dressers, dining chairs, nightstands, ottomans, sectionals, side tables, sleeper sofas, sofa beds, sofas, stools.
Our top picks: The Rio Sofa (pictured above) is a popular choice, but our favorite piece is the Burr Accent Chair. We like this stunning wood chair best in Solid American Walnut paired with a darker fabric.
Thuma sells just one product – ‘The Bed’ – but what a product! Thuma’s beds are made from responsibly sourced rubberwood from rubber tree plantations close to their factories. This reclaimed wood has reached the end of its useful life (it has finished producing rubber) and is given a new purpose when it is upcycled and repurposed into a bed. In addition to using reclaimed wood for their products, Thuma also use packaging made from recycled cardboard boxes, and they have partnered with One Tree Planted so that each bed sold means another tree planted.
Other benefits include free shipping, 100-day returns, and lifetime warranty.
Range includes: ‘The Bed’ available in Twin, Full, Queen, King, and Cali King sizes.
Our top picks: There’s only one product to choose from!
ABC Carpet & Home is a family-owned business with a reputation for delivering stunning sustainable products from responsibly sourced materials. ABC Carpet & Home were named a ‘Top Scorer’ on the 2019 Wood Furniture Scorecard – an initiative run by the Sustainable Furnishing Council and National Wildlife Federation to measure and encourage sustainable sourcing of wood.
Additionally, ABC Carpet & Home have founded the ABC Home & Planet Foundation, which raises money through fundraisers and in-store giving to support a wide range of communities around the world.
Range includes: Beds, bookcases, cabinets, coffee tables, lockers, sectionals, sideboards, sleeper sofas, sofas, tables.
Sustainable Furniture Buyers Guide
Your questions on sustainable furniture answered:
Why Is Sustainable Furniture Important?
Most furniture and home furnishings aren’t sustainable. They’re cheap, not built to last, and most of it ends up in landfills. The manufacture and disposal of these pieces create multiple problems:
- Unsustainable logging leads to deforestation, biodiversity loss, and the loss of habitats – leading to the extinction of many species.
- The widespread use of petroleum-based fabrics and the use of toxic chemicals in their creation is bad for the environment not just at the point of manufacturing, but also within your own home, reducing air quality.
- Shipping furniture and materials across the world contributes to carbon emissions and other pollutants – this is especially the case with cheaper pieces that are made abroad then shipped in.
Unfortunately, these practices are widespread because they save money and allow businesses to create and sell furniture cheaply. This is not only bad for the environment, but also for consumers: cheaply-built furniture only lasts a few years and then needs replacing. Over the long-term, ethically made sustainable pieces built to last are better value. Years ago, this was not considered a problem – but consumers are now waking up to the fact that their purchase decisions impact the long-term health of our planet. As a result, online stores such as Made Trade, and fair trade brands such as West Elm, Crate & Barrel, Medley Home, and Vermont Wood Studios have taken eco-friendly furniture mainstream.
The only way to encourage the furniture and home furnishings companies to use more sustainable materials and use greener production methods is by backing eco-friendly brands – every dollar is a vote.
What is Sustainable Furniture?
Sustainable, ethical, and eco-friendly furniture are terms used to describe furniture pieces that have been made using methods that minimize the negative impact on the planet and its residents (including people).
There is no single standard, certification, or definition for sustainable furniture in the furniture industry, but there are things consumers should look for. Sustainable brands should be visibly seeking to create furniture in a way that minimizes their ecological footprint. Achieving this may involve action in one or more of the following areas:
- Materials – Sustainable furniture is normally made using responsibly sourced materials that are either renewable or are recycled, such as reclaimed wood. Sustainable furniture businesses use a minimum of non-recyclable materials and avoid chemicals and production methods that pollute the environment.
- Shipping – Shipping of materials and goods is minimized or made as environmental as possible to reduce the business’s carbon footprint. For example, a business can cut down its emissions by minimizing the length of the supply chain and manufacturing furniture close to the source of the material. For this reason, a furniture brand will often position itself near FSC-certified forests.
- Build Quality – By building furniture that lasts longer, waste is substantially reduced. One table that lasts 50+ years is far less wasteful than replacing a low-quality table every five years.
- Social – Companies that specialize in eco-friendly furniture are often socially responsible as well. Their items are not just sustainably made, but also ethically made. This means they pay a fair wage, hire ethically, and often contribute to other good causes.
Certifications for Sustainable and Ethical Furniture
When you start shopping from sustainable and ethical brands, you’ll come across a wide range of certifications, standards, and other terms that businesses use to prove their green credentials. Some, like Fair Trade, will be familiar, but most won’t. Many sustainable furniture and home decor stores will have several of these, although just because a business doesn’t have any doesn’t mean they aren’t creating furniture in a sustainable way.
Let’s take a look at some of the terms you might come across when browsing sustainable furniture brands:
- 1% for the Planet – Furniture companies who have signed up for 1% for the Planet give the equivalent of 1% of their annual sales towards the project. This could be through monetary contributions or other benefits. This money is then given to environmental non-profits. The scheme has raised more than $225 million since 2002.
- Certified B Corporation – This certification is awarded to furniture brands and other eco conscious businesses that meet high social and environmental standards, as well as legal and transparency requirements. Find out more on the B Corp website.
- CertiPUR-US – CertiPUR-US is a certification program for foam. To achieve this standard, the foam that furniture brands use must be made without ozone depleters, heavy metals, formaldehyde, and other chemicals that are harmful to people and the environment. Certified foam has also passed an emissions test.
- eco-INSTITUT Certified – Products certified by the eco-INSTITUT have passed strict tests on pollutants and emissions. Their tests check for hazardous chemical residue and trace amounts of emissions or outgassing from items such as furniture and mattresses.
- FSC-Certification – FSC-certified wood meets the FSC’s (Forest Sustainability Council) standards for sustainability, meaning it has been grown in a sustainably managed forest and/or recycled. This is a common certification for brands in the furniture industry.
- Fair Trade – Fair Trade is a well known and highly-trusted certification for ethically-made products. Fair Trade certified goods are independently assessed to have fair pricing that covers the cost of production, not involve child labor, and protect the environment. Most Fair Trade products are in the food industry, but it can also cover other commodities that may be involved in furniture manufacturing. Look out for the distinctive Fair Trade logo when shopping.
- Green America Certified Business – Green America certifies green businesses that operate according to principles of environmental sustainability and social justice, using their platform as a business to affect positive change in the world and putting sustainability at the core of their business model.
- Greenguard-Certified – Greenguard-Certified materials and products have low chemical emissions (low VOC). Fewer chemicals is better for the environment, and particularly good for the air quality of your home (and your health). In the furniture industry, these certifications tend to be held by companies that use low-VOC finishes.
- Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) – GOLS is a standard for organic latex. To meet this standard, the latex must be at least 95% certified organic raw material (by weight), as well as meeting other environmental, social, and safety standards.
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) – GOTS is a universally recognized standard for organic textiles. To achieve this standard, manufacturers must meet strict criteria. The textile must be made from a minimum of 70% organic fibers and toxicological standards. The manufacturer must also meet social and environmental standards.
- One Tree Planted – One Tree Planted is a 501C3 non-profit that helps the environment by planting trees across the world. Many organizations partner with it to enable a tree to be planted every time one of their products is sold.
- OEKO-Tex 100 – Textiles that meet OEKO Tex’s Standard 100 have been tested and declared free from harmful substances that can cause harm to humans. These materials are safe for humans, but this does not guarantee anything about their effect on the environment.
- Rainforest Alliance Certification – The Rainforest Alliance seal (the one with the little frog) can appear on some furniture and furnishing products. This seal can be given to businesses that use FSC-certified forestry products (the Rainforest Alliance is a founding member of the FSC). See above for information on FSC certification.
- Sustainable Furnishing Council – The Sustainable Furniture Council, or SFC, is a group of retailers, designers, and manufacturers who have grouped together to commit to environmentally-friendly practices in the furnishing industry. Businesses that become an SFC member have committed to adopting, using and promoting sustainable practices.
- UN Global Compact – A furniture business that is participating in the UN Global Company has pledged to put into practice the Ten Principles, which relate to human rights, fair labor, and environmental responsibility.
- USDA Certified Organic – Materials that are USDA certified have been checked by the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) to ensure they are organic. You may see this certification used for furniture which uses organic cotton or latex.
Ready to find your perfect eco furniture? Click here to head back to our brand guides.
Is Sustainable Furniture Affordable?
One of the biggest drawbacks to sustainable furniture is its cost. To create a high-quality piece of furniture from sustainable materials costs significantly more than the cheap pieces many brands stock. In the long run, these higher-quality pieces are good value because they will last for decades, but the cost means they are not in reach of every consumer.
This higher cost slows uptake of sustainable solutions across all industries, not just the furniture industry.
Is Second-Hand Furniture Better For The Environment Than Buying New?
In most situations, purchasing second-hand is better for the environment than buying new even if the new purchase is produced sustainably. This is because this reduces the amount of resources that need to be harvested or mined.
This is almost always true for the furniture industry and fashion industry, but there are some exceptions. In the case of items that create pollution, such as automobiles or petrol lawnmowers, purchasing new may be better for the environment and help you reduce your carbon footprint and move closer to zero waste.
What Material Is The Most Sustainable?
Fast-growing natural materials such as bamboo and cork are highly sustainable. However, recycled, reclaimed, or upcycled wood and metal are even better. Materials like these do not require any energy or pollution to produce because the work has already been done.
Is Bamboo Furniture Sustainable?
Bamboo furniture is highly sustainable. Bamboo grows fast and requires little or no chemicals. The resulting materials is light and strong and should last for a long time if properly cared for.