You love your home and all of the things in it, especially your decor and furniture. Who doesn't? You chose each and every item for a reason. Furniture comforts you. It supports you. It's an extension of your personality and is an accessory of your life. So then why do we put such little thought into where it comes from or how it's made? Why do we end the search when we hit the retail page - why don't we research further than comparing competitor prices?
We often get so caught up in this season's trends or that new sale that was just announced that we don't think about what we're actually purchasing. Often just like "Fast Fashion" there's "Fast Furniture". Companies who sell large quantities of the same furniture purchase cheap materials to keep costs down, with those materials often being sourced in a way that negatively effects the environment.
While it's convenient and cost-effective to purchase Fast Furniture, it's almost always MORE convenient and affordable to purchase Secondhand Furniture. Here's a few reasons WHY you should consider buying secondhand:
- It Reduces Waste: We’re constantly persuaded to consume more. Both by television and social media the most. We’ve been convinced that there is a time limit on furniture items, and that when it goes off, you must replace our old piece with its newer version. This means we throw things out before we need to, even if the item is in perfectly good shape. We convince ourselves we MUST move on to the next trend. By buying second hand, you're reducing the amount of furniture that ends up in a landfill.
- It Saves Resources: The furniture industry is highly wasteful, and it takes a lot of resources to create new pieces, despite the fact that more than enough furniture already exists that is in good condition. The depletion of natural resources is speeding up and materials used to build furniture, like timber, are in high demand. Every piece of furniture that you purchase second-hand means the materials that would have been used to build it can be put to better use elsewhere.
- It Costs Less: Canadians spent over $52 million on home furniture and furnishings in 2018, a Statistics Canada reported. Furniture is a highly lucrative industry and we as consumers are fuelling its growth.Some furniture pieces can cost upwards to $2,000, while used furniture generally costs way less. That same couch initially priced at $2,000 could cost as little as $300, in nearly the same condition as it was when new.
- It Benefits the Community: Large furniture stores rely on global supply chains and overseas manufacturing, second-hand stores tend to operate much more locally. Used furniture stores are generally independent and employ individuals who live right within your neighbourhood.
- Secondhand Furniture has History: Every piece of used furniture has a story behind it. Maybe this floor lamp once sat in the study of a celebrated author, or maybe it was the light a mother used to read bedtime stories to her children. Whatever its history, there’s something special about owning an item that is a one-of-a-kind piece, rather than one assembled from a kit that’s in thousands of other homes across the country. By purchasing used furniture, you’re giving the piece a second chance. This item is becoming a part of your story, and maybe one day, you’ll pass that history along to another family.
Now that you're convinced you're probably wondering - where do I find secondhand furniture? Well we've got you covered for that too!! Here's a few places you can find incredible furniture for any budget.
- ReStore: Habitat for Humanity ReStores have diverted more than 5.3 million pounds of waste from landfills in the past six years. You can find tons of furniture at their locations, and their revenue goes directly to their mission of helping local families and the environment.
- Antique Stores: Local antique stores and markets are the perfect place for finding furniture and decor that is not only sustainable but affordable. Each and every item has a story and history attached, so you'll be brining something unique into your home every time.
- Thrift Stores: Thrift Stores are also full of furniture and decor for affordable prices. Each store is unique!
- Kijiji or Buy&Sell Pages: Local buy and sell pages or Kijiji are full of decor, furniture and much more. You can literally find anything you need all in one afternoon.
So we've covered WHY you should buy and HOW you should buy, but what if you have some perfectly good pieces at home that need a makeover? Don't worry.. we've got that covered too ;)
- Add a Fresh Coat of Paint: Do some sanding and painting and you can transform an old piece of furniture into something magical. Add some thrifty pieces like door knobs or embellishments and you've got a gorgeous new piece.
- ReUpholster: Got a new chair but hate the fabric? Reupholster it!! It's actually super easy and incredibly affordable (especially compared to buying a brand new chair!!). There's tons of videos on YouTube to help you out.. get creative today!!
- Use Stencils: Want to keep the paint the same but add some dazzle? Use a stencil! You can find them in a variety of shapes, patterns and sizes and they're super easy to use!! Give one a try today and see what you can create.
- Refinish Wood: Give your gorgeous tables and chairs a fresh new look by refinishing the wood. No stripping needed! This method is quick and affordable and makes your wood look brand new.
- Add cushions!!: You'd be surprised what a few cushions can do. Add them to your old chairs in fun pattens for pop of colour and fun around the home. Or try making your own throw pillows for your sofa. The options are endless.
Now that you've got tons of tips and tricks for sustainable furniture what are you going to create first? A new piece? A new space? The world is your oyster. We hope you found the information useful and informative, and we can't wait to see what you come up with.
Feel free to share, pin and discuss this blog post & we'd love to hear from you!! You can find us on Instagram @sustainablefolk.ca or on Facebook under Sustainable Folk. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org