Sustainable Furniture: Can it still be high quality? | Whom Home

So many eco-friendly furniture brands and manufacturers offer furniture that looks beautiful online but falls apart as soon as you get it home. Others may sell genuinely solid wood furniture, but without a commitment to sustainably sourced, certified woods that are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified and non-toxic. When purchasing home furnishings, how can you be sure what you’re getting will meet your standards for quality, craftsmanship, and environmental awareness? While certain resources like Greenguard certification can be useful, the real proof is in the pudding — a product’s description, that is. Like nutrition facts at the supermarket, the fine print will tell you whether your purchase is truly worthwhile or just overhyped junk marketed to appear like something it's not. Here’s what to look for.

Frame it right from the start. The true sign of a quality piece of furniture is what it’s made of from the inside out. As the years wear on and styles change, the life of a good living room couch can be extended with updated upholstery or re-stuffed with organic cotton or natural latex cushions — but only if you start with a good inner frame, to begin with. In the product description, look for hardwood materials and corner-blocked joints for strength. Avoid anything that is held together with mostly glue, screws, or metal connectors. Zero-tolerance for wibble-wobbles here. 

And don’t discount composite woods. Hardwood plywood, while not a solid wood, can be an excellent option, as its cross-layered grains make it pound-for-pound stronger than steel. It is also more sustainable than solid hardwood because its manufacture utilizes the lumber more completely. Look for eco-friendly varieties that use formaldehyde-free glue and sustainably harvested wood, such as those used in Whom Home’s products.

Spring for quality. While coil springs are the most labor-intensive and expensive to install, the jury is out on whether they out-perform sinuous springs, which are faster to install and therefore cheaper. Whatever the type of spring, what really matters is having a hand-tied suspension — as we do at Whom. Avoid mesh or webbing as these will wear out quickly. A heavy-gauge spring is your best bet with the support you will notice. Your couch or chair should not have too much given in the seat; it should always be firm, with foam cushions and stuffing providing the pillowy luxury on top.

Fine details. Little things like removable cushion covers may seem trivial, but they are huge in prolonging the life of your furniture, making it easy to clean and care for. Hypo-allergenic, premium down-alternative cushion fill is also a nice touch for vegans or those with sensitivity to genuine down. Consider Whom’s Tastemaker lounge chair for a classic style with beautiful, tapered steel legs and easy upkeep to ensure its vitality for years to come.

 

Commitment to sustainability. The furniture industry must lean into eco-friendly, modern furniture building pieces that consider the environmental impact of sourcing. It needs to use more fabrics that are sustainably sourced from natural materials, that use less water in the dyeing process and that is not treated with harsh chemicals or fire retardants. At Whom, all of our fabrics are chosen based on these principles, and you can order a Swatch Box to see and feel the quality for yourself. But that’s not all we do to help the environment.

Whether manufacturing bedroom furniture, home office furniture, living room furniture or dining room furniture, our eco-friendly furniture company considers the carbon footprint it creates. All new furniture from headboards to nightstands, platform beds and dressers, coffee tables, side tables, bookshelves, bookcases, dining chairs, and dining tables impacts the planet. Whom therefore takes into account every tree harvested in the making of our green furniture products. We plant 40 new trees — grown and made in the U.S.A. — for each one that we harvest. Other North American furniture companies that focus on sustainable wood products include Medley, Simbly, and Ecobalanza. Most sustainable furniture brands producing FSC-certified, eco-friendly furniture are located in North America, Mexico, North Carolina, and Vermont. 

Whom's family-owned factory also recycles a minimum of 60,000 pounds of plastic every week — that’s over 30 million pounds of post-consumer waste we have kept out of landfills. Not to mention, fair trade, free trade, and ethical trade are made possible by our on-shore facility, where we can closely monitor the manufacturing process and what goes in and what comes out of our factory, while also making sure that our workers are well taken care of. 

So can furniture be both high quality and sustainable? The answer is a resounding yes. High-quality furniture is furniture that you don’t throw away, thereby making it already more eco-friendly than something cheap. But even within the realm of high-quality furniture, not everything is created equally. The use of sustainable materials, easy product care, no harsh chemicals, and a commitment to the ethical use of resources are all traits that set Whom and the truly planet-friendly sustainable furniture companies apart from the rest. So whatever eco-friendly furniture pieces you're looking for, be it accent tables, loveseats, end tables, bed frames, or just home decor in general, you can visit Whom Home’s showroom anytime and see for yourself that sustainable furniture doesn't have to sacrifice high quality!