Going green is a conversation starter and caring for the planet has evolved into a mainstream concern. From saving the trees to climate change, there are little ways we can all do our part. That is where antique furniture joins the discussion – it is an eco-conscious and sustainable way of decorating your home in the face of a throw-away culture.
The timeless nature of solid wood furniture means it has never gone out of fashion – it has literally stood the test of time. Its classic enduring quality makes it an ongoing popular choice from ‘Escaping to the Chateaux’ and authentically furnishing 19-century French castles to simply adding an antique piece of furniture to your home. The result is always the same – furniture that adds natural beauty, old-fashioned craftsmanship, artisanal story and eco-friendly sustainability to any space.
Besides the obvious motivation of buying antique furniture because you love it, it can also be about doing your small part to save the planet and leaving an environmental footprint.
A consumer-driven society has demanded the manufacture of mass-produced furniture items which have a shorter life span and are expendable. And although relatively inexpensive, there is a hidden impact: deforestation, pollution, a bigger carbon footprint and off-gassing.
“Off-gassing is the particularly sexy name for the process through which the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in the manufacture of many household items are released into the air that you breathe. Everything off-gasses in some way – if it has a smell, it’s off-gassing. But the smell of a pineapple is far less potentially toxic than the VOCs wafting from your new sofa” –SADHBH O’SULLIVAN
One such example is Formaldehyde. This toxic gas is used in the making of resins that are used as adhesives in composite wood products such as MDF and plywood. A large percentage of mass-produced furniture is made of these composite woods. Antique and secondhand vintage furniture, however, will have off-gassed a long time ago, resulting in a more ethical and circular economy.
Research has also indicated that the manufacturing of modern mass-produced furniture, with its often synthetic and substandard materials, has a 16x higher carbon footprint/year than its antique counterpart.
A further consideration is the proven longevity of antique furniture over centuries which means it doesn’t end up being thrown away in landfills like cheaper, contemporary mass-produced furniture.
So, at one level, the antique industry embraces the ethos of recycling, reusing and giving back – literally.
In recent years, there has been a move within the interior design world to incorporate antique furniture pieces and embrace their complementary impact by pairing them with more contemporary pieces and styles. This is an exciting development and one that has a planet-friendly endorsement.
Antique furniture and accessories are typically crafted from natural resources – wood, stone or metals. The enduring nature of solid wood items makes for a more sustainable solution as well as adding distinct personality, individuality and history to any decor space.
The world is growing tired of ‘sameness’ – generic, mass-produced furniture that can be seen in every mall, catalogue or staged showhome. Antique items – beautifully crafted from solid, old-fashioned wood – bring back the ‘novelty,’ eclectic factor and an eco-friendly element to personalised interior spaces.
Changing the world
Who would have thought that an heirloom piece from more than a hundred years ago could carry such significance into the future? It is the past positively impacting the future beyond the mere functionality and beauty of a French solid rosewood mirrored armoire or a solid French cherrywood buffet. No matter what you pay, the result is priceless because you are promoting sustainable living and supporting future generations.
Across the world, tons of mass-produced furniture is thrown away every year as trash. Buying antique and vintage furniture, piece by piece, is the planet-friendly antidote.
“(Antique furniture) is luxurious and it has a soul. Customers are interested in sustainability and quality, the romance of the story behind each piece, and I think because of that they cherish their antiques a little bit more.” -Marketing specialist, Helen Rutledge.
Giving the gift of the future can start with one piece of antique furniure today.
At the end of the day, buying furniture is a functional decision and the type of furniture you buy is a style choice. But as society slowly becomes more eco-conscious, buying antique items is fast becoming a green trend.
The Crown Collection
Buying antiques is so much more than just buying furniture and accessories; it is a solid (wood) investment in the future and The Crown Collection is just the place where your ‘green initiative’ antique journey can begin. Take a step back into the past and appreciate the richness of antique furniture and what it brings to the table in the conversation of sustainability and eco-friendliness.
With over 5000 hand-picked and curated vintage, contemporary and antique furniture pieces, The Crown Collection Interior Decor Store is the largest emporium in South Africa.