Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Free Range Furniture

A week or so ago I read about the next step in local food.  It's local clothes.  I'm not sure I'm there yet but if local clothes are the next step, then I think local or more environmentally friendly furniture cannot be far behind.

Furniture is, to me, like meat.  Not great for the planet no matter how you look at it.  Resource heavy but still something people really want.  So, in furniture shopping, I've started to look for happy furniture.  Its way better than factory farmed.  I like my furniture to have roamed free - preferably through other people's houses and into antique fairs, thrift stores, consignment stores, and on Craigslist.

My most recent acquisition - bin table from a rural antique store (total bargain!), shoe basket from an antique fair and under bin basket free ranged for many years through my mom's house.

Not all furniture is that happy, though.  If its not available second hand, furniture made from old furniture - or other things - is the still pretty happy.  You know - upcycled, reclaimed?  You can find such furniture at antique fairs and swap meets or, for those like me who like to let their fingers do the walking, on Etsy!  That's right!  I'm in the market for a coffee table.  After finding nothing suitable second hand, I turned to Etsy.  I had no idea the amount of furniture you could buy there made from reclaimed wood, reused metal, and upcycled bits of this and that.  Bonus - I'm supporting a small farmer, er, artisan.  Simple Internet searches can turn up small local showrooms of folks in your region doing the same thing.


Even though it seems impossible, not everything in the world is available on Etsy!  Turns out some other medium sized and industrial farmers have turned to reclaimed and recycled as well.  LL Bean carries a great line of partially reclaimed wood furniture that was made in the USA, so it was shipped halfway around the world.  Crate & Barrel offers many pieces made from reclaimed wood or with other "eco-friendly" attributes.


Finally, even if you cannot have organic food, I mean, recycled furniture, at least it can be locally grown - or made.  Maybe not in your city or even your state but I do feel a bit better buying Made in the USA furniture shipped across the country instead of across the sea.  Plow & Hearth has a diverse line of well made Made in the USA products.  I can attest to the quality as I own one of the dining room pieces.  Sturdy as can be and a final solution when free range furniture failed me.

16 comments:

Leigh said...

You bin table is wonderful! Great buy. I agree with you so much about buying furniture. The only actual new cabinets we have for our kitchen (so far) are the Amish made ones and they were really not all that expensive. It was nice to know we were supporting a community rather than a profit mongering business. Clothes are the same way for us, always thrift store purchased. I just can't bring myself to buy new!

Green Bean said...

Yes, if I do go "new" I try to do it in a way that supports a community. Love that you've got Amish made cabinets in your kitchen!

Bethany said...

Interesting. I never really even thought of the furniture! Then again I don't think I've bought much new, most of ours has been gifted to us or bought second hand. Except my rocking recliner! I just couldn't usually stomach the idea of paying brand new prices for stuff like that though I do agree I'd pay for locally made things.

My favorite piece of bedroom furniture is a small dresser that my husband's grandfather made for his wife out of reclaimed barn wood. It is absolutely beautiful! And made even more "charming" by my 3 yr old who decided to draw on it with a sharpie... ugh.

Green Bean said...

Bethany - That dresser sounds SO cool! Well, except for the sharpie. If it has a finish over the barn wood, maybe you could get the sharpie off with Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser? If not, well, I guess it just adds to the heirloom quality!

Chile said...

I don't think we have a single piece of furniture that was bought new in our house. Not only was buying used (free-range) better for the environment, it was way better for our wallet. A fair amount of what we have we also either received free or made ourselves.

Oh, wait. Does a tall floor lamp count as furniture? If so, we bought that new, steeply discounted at a going out of business sale. We no longer have the beautiful large stained glass shade as the bonehead who bought our upright freezer (used in the ill-fated refrigerator conversion attempt) knocked the lamp over with the dolly and shattered the shade ... which had previously survived four moves - two of them across the country! So, technically, we do have 1/2 piece of furniture purchased new. ;-)

Green Bean said...

@Chile - You are so decadent! A whole 1/2 piece of furniture. Too bad about the stained glass though. :(

esp said...

Oh my. That bin table is gorgeous. What a find!

We have a nice secondhand furniture store here run by a local church. They screen donations, so the quality of things is much nicer than our local thrifts, but the pricing is very reasonable.

Green Bean said...

@esp - Yes, I'm head over heels with it! That sounds great re your local church store. We just had a furniture consignment store move into town with reasonable prices and an inventory that flies out the door. I've yet to buy anything there but I do ogle.

Desiree Spalding said...

Those LL Bean rustic nesting tables are to die for. They are really perfect and I think they will blend perfectly in my office. My computer desks, chairs, and accessories has the same color as those rustic tables.

bedroom furniture said...

I would never have believed those pieces of furniture to be second hand if you didn't say so. I guess someone's trash is another's treasure.

Stacey Bourne said...

Second hand furniture would become look brand new just add some decorations and creativity.

Furniture Removal

removals perth said...

When it comes to furniture shopping I have the same thinking as yours. I don’t like traditional furniture because it isn’t functional and good looking for me.

wicker outdoor furniture said...

I love the nesting table pair. That would perfect beside my suede couch.

Brett Jensen said...

You have a beautiful collection of furniture. Having a furniture is a good way to design our home.

Joel Butcher said...

You need to make sure the furniture is in top condition too. Minimal repairs can be tolerated though.

Harry Goldstien said...

I have a thing for vintage furniture especially if it's made of wood while most people love modern furniture's and fixtures.

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