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Finding items to furnish and decorate your home is easy—there are countless big box stores and online retailers. But this task gets trickier if you’re invested in selecting sustainable pieces of decor that won’t compromise natural resources or negatively affect the environment.
Luckily, there are a growing number of sustainably-minded brands committed to sourcing and creating items that won’t cause damage to the environment. Read on for our top picks.
"This site offers handcrafted items from all over the world, and highlights goods that are made with recycled, natural, or organic materials."
"You can find a wide range of organic products for the bedroom, bath, and home from a range of vibrant patterns to muted colors."
"Fair trade certified, this company offers high quality mattresses, bedding, and items for the bathroom sent in packaging made from recycled materials."
"This company prioritizes planting more trees than the wood they use to create their furniture and donates money to conservation groups."
"Known for its selection of modern furniture and decor, this company offers many locally made products, organic items, and GREENGUARD Gold-certified items."
"Based in Portland, Oregon, this company has a commitment to sustainability and features handcrafted hardwood furniture."
"This online outlet sells baskets, ceramics, and other decor, partners with sustainable factories, and only uses natural dyes."
"Online with several locations in Los Angeles, this company offers furniture, lighting, pillows, and more made of ethically-sourced materials."
"With soft, luxurious items for bed and bath, this company is fair trade certified and uses eco-friendly textile dyes."
"This site partners with artisans to supply products and sells eco-friendly cleaning supplies as well."
If you’re looking for eclectic touches to add to your space, you’ll find plenty of options at The Citizenry. This well-known site offers a wide selection of handcrafted furniture and home accessories sourced from around the world. Through developing relationships with artisans around the world, they're able to provide high-quality items without the markup. They're also very transparent about which goods are made with recycled, natural, or organic materials, all important things to consider when you're shopping.
Coyuchi offers a wide range of organic products for the home, in addition to having some cozy loungewear. Items are thoughtfully made, with circularity in mind. Their take-back program 2nd Home allows customers to turn in items so they can be repaired and resold, preventing them from winding up in a landfill.
Coyuchi uses only 100 percent organic cotton, which is certified to meet the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). The retailer also partners with organizations that are devoted to environmentally healthy farming practices. They've set a goal to be plastic-free by 2022.
Boll & Branch
Boll & Branch offers high-quality mattresses, bedding, and items for the bathroom that will make slipping into bed or toweling off after a shower feel extra luxurious.
The company's products are Fair Trade-certified, and you can find an annual impact report on their website to see the details of their sustainability efforts. Boll & Branch uses only organic cotton, which saves more water than conventional, non-organic farming. They also ship all of their items on boats, which has saved over 23,000 metric tons of carbon emissions. Product packaging is made from recycled materials and can be recycled or reused itself.
This direct-to-consumer brand is a great source for made-to-order furniture in both the modern and mid-century styles. You can purchase all sorts of furniture from Joybird, including bookshelves, desks, chairs, tables, decor elements (like rugs and poufs), as well as outdoor furniture. Many pieces come with fabric customization options, too.
Joybird offers 90-day returns, as well as two types of warranty: a one-year warranty on manufacturing defects as well as a lifetime warranty on the “foundational elements” of the furniture.
Most of Joybird’s furniture is made from wood, and to that end, the company has prioritized planting trees. So far, they've planted more trees than are used to create their furniture—adding up to a total of 350,000 trees.
The Joinery is a Portland, Oregon-based business focusing on all things wooden. You can purchase handcrafted, hardwood furniture—desks, beds, dining tables, and so on—from this shop. Each item is built by a single person, and comes with a lifetime warranty. This furniture is built to last in your home, not make its way to a landfill.
Craft matters for this company, and so does sustainability. The Joinery is a certified B corporation, which means the company must legally consider the impact of its work on the environment. You can see this commitment to sustainability in each step of production: Sawdust is transformed into briquettes that are donated, the company uses solar and wind energy, and the wood comes from environmentally responsible sources.
You’ll find baskets, ceramics, rugs, and so much more at Minna Goods. Led by a team based in Hudson, New York, this online outlet's ethically made products are inspired by vintage textiles and traditional craft. The store partners with sustainable factories and uses natural dyes. With plenty of interesting patterns and textures, you're sure to find the right accessory for your space.
Cisco Home prides itself on its commitment to sustainability: As a founding partner of the Sustainable Furniture Council (SFC), it's committed to ethically sourcing all the materials used to make its products. Cisco Home also tries to use scraps to design furniture and partners with vendors who maintain their ideals.
And you can count on the items you purchase lasting for a long time—generations, even. To that end, the company offers a lifetime guarantee, so you can feel confident that you won’t purchase a couch only to wind up replacing it a few years down the line. Cisco Home has locations in Los Angeles, but the website offers plenty of products for online shoppers, including furniture, sofas, benches, mirrors, lighting and pillows.
Under the Canopy
Under the Canopy stocks a variety of soft, luxurious items for both the bedroom and bathroom, including matelasse blankets, towel sets, and even mattresses. You’ll find plenty of budget-friendly and stylish options on their website, all made with sustainability in mind.
Under the Canopy is Fair Trade-certified, ensuring that every step of the production process is done in an ethical manner. Nearly all of their cotton used is organic and meets the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). All of their products also have an OEKO-TEX certification, which guarantees that the textile dyes used are eco-friendly and safe for sensitive skin.
Sustainable Home Goods
At Sustainable Home Goods, you can purchase everything from eco-friendly cleaning supplies to artisanal home decor pieces. Jewelry and wellness items are also available.
Product descriptions for items include details on where and how they were produced, as well as who was involved. You might find candles that are hand-poured in California alongside baskets woven in Kenya on the site.
Sustainable Home Goods partners with artisans to supply products, with the goal of providing jobs and supporting communities. The company seeks to work with artisans who are committed to ethical production and crafting earth-friendly products.
At Effortless Composition, you’ll find all sorts of home accents, such as baskets, candle holders, pillows, and throws. Each item in the store is hand-selected from vendors around the world, who the company partners with to ensure fair labor practices.
The founder of the company is based in Los Angeles, so it’s unsurprising that 20 percent of the site’s inventory is made in the city. With every purchase—even a tiny tea infuser—you can get a free email session with a stylist, getting tips on how to incorporate the item into your space.
What to Look for When Buying Sustainable Home Decor
The first thing you should look for when buying sustainable home decor is what materials were used to make it. Prioritize natural, organic, regenerative, or recycled materials. Look for clear labeling, and check out the company website for an impact study or sustainability pledge to see how transparent the manufacturer is about the product. It’s also important to look for items that are wrapped in minimal, eco-friendly packaging.
In addition to choosing home decor made from natural, organic, recycled, upcycled, or regenerative materials, it’s important to choose items made by companies who have a clear commitment to sustainability. Look for items that are made locally by companies with humane labor policies that pay a living wage to workers. Scrutinize company websites for easy to access information about the brand’s sustainability efforts and production methods.
The pursuit of sustainability has become a social movement with worldwide momentum. Unfortunately this has made the buzzwords around sustainability easy to co-opt by companies and marketers who might use terms to lend credentials to products that don’t deserve them. When you spot terms like Fair Trade certification, circular economy, eco-friendly, green, biodegradable, and others, be sure that those claims are backed up and not just being used for branding purposes.
What does sustainable mean?
From a design perspective, sustainability means using products, materials, and building and production standards that respect natural resources and human beings and do not damage the future of people or the planet. In order to manage the global climate emergency, sustainability has to become the default, not an elusive goal. Many experts argue that sustainability is no longer a sufficient standard, and that we should be striving for using regenerative materials and building practices that would make further recycling of manmade waste obsolete and normalize a circular economy where nothing goes to waste.
Is bamboo sustainable?
In general, yes. Bamboo is a fast-growing plant that doesn’t need much attention, and is naturally regenerating. However products made from bamboo might be more or less sustainable based on individual production and waste disposal methods. These can vary between producers and confuse customers who rely on labels to make purchasing decisions. Do your research before buying a product made from bamboo just as you would with any material.
How do you decorate sustainably?
The easiest way to decorate sustainably is to use upcycled, recycled, second-hand, vintage, or antiques sourced locally. If you are buying new, look for products made from natural, regenerative materials such as linen or bamboo; prioritize locally sourced items; and buy from independent designers and companies who are transparent about their production methods and standards.
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Madeleine Burry has written for the Spruce since 2019, covering pets, crafting, and helpful home and kitchen products. You’ll find her writing on a wide array of sites, including Apartment Therapy, the Kitchn, Women’s Health, Livestrong, and others.