| The decision to reupholster
used or vintage
furniture rather than purchase new pieces is a smart choice
for the environment. Reupholstery
saves the materials and energy that would be spent on brand
which not only saves customers money, but also helps to make
the planet more sustainable. While reupholstery
is a green choice by its nature, some jobs are more sustainable
than others. Customers can take steps to make their reupholstery
work as green as possible, particularly in terms of the material
used for cushions and fabric.
Not all furniture material is renewable or friendly to the
environment. Consider the foam used for cushions in vintage
sofas and chairs to make sure the reupholstery
process begins with a green choice. Some older and even new
foam is treated with brominated fire retardant, for example,
which consists of harmful chemicals that accumulate in the
environment and cause damage over the long term. Instead of
these dangerous chemicals, customers should use options like
natural latex foam, which can be ordered in custom sizes and
shapes, for cushions in the reupholstery
process. Latex foam is not fireproof, so it is important to
wrap the foam in something nontoxic and breathable like natural
wool batting, which should be covered by a down-proof ticking.
These protective layers also keep dust, mites and other pests
from penetrating the cushions, which provides an extra benefit
for family members who suffer from allergies.
In terms of fabric selection for green
reupholstery, look for natural and nontoxic fabrics. Synthetic
fabrics like nylon contain petroleum, but fabrics made of
cotton and other natural fibers are eco-friendly. However,
synthetic material derived from natural ingredients like Seacell,
which comes from seaweed, and Modal from beech trees are green
choices. How the company prints or dyes the fabric makes a
difference in being green, where water-based, nontoxic ink
is more desirable. It also is important to know whether a
company uses chemicals to finish the fabric. Methods that
involve only heat and pressure are the most eco-friendly,
but it means that fading may occur in the fabric, which makes
it important to dry clean the materials. Finally, look for
fabric made of recycled products, such as polyester, which
is indicated on the tag as having a “cradle-to-cradle”
Those criteria may seem like a high bar, but in the twenty-first
century, many fabrics are available in stores, online and
through your reupholsterer
that offer a broad array of good looks without sacrificing
concern for the environment. These green fabrics are made
of heavy-metal free dyes, recycled fibers and natural fibers.
If a fabric you like is not entirely green, try washing a
sample of it, which can remove harmful treatments, but might
affect the quality, performance and longevity of the fabric.
When in doubt of your own assessment about green reupholstery,
look for materials certified by a conservation organization.
These professional groups make it their business to know what
products and materials are most suitable for the environment.
Making the decision to reupholster furniture rather than dispose
of old pieces represents a green step in the right direction
for the environment. Once that choice is made, additional
steps can be taken with regard to materials selection that
make sure the process remains as green as possible.
Customize your furniture to match your interior design needs.
Turn your office into a stylish and confortable working
Express yourself with an array of paterns and textures.