15 Best Ethical and Sustainable Furniture Brands
Written by Neighbor Editorial Team | @neighboroutdoor |
These eco-friendly brands make high-quality furniture that's stylist and good for the environment.
More important than style and trendiness, sustainability is quickly gaining popularity with indoor and outdoor furniture brands across the industry. Why? Most importantly, sustainability practices and ethical manufacturing are better for the planet. For the consumer, high quality, eco-friendly is likely to age better and last longer.
The best part about the rise in ethical furniture is that you can still buy what you love. Many of the biggest furniture brands have adopted earth-friendly practices into their manufacturing processes and use earth-friendly materials in their designs. When browsing online or shopping in-store, you can ask about or look for certifications like FSC-certified, B-Corp, Bluesign, Fair Trade USA, or Green Guard. In addition to adhering to specific environmental standards, brands can be ethical when shipping, packing, and selling their products in person.
When you're ready to invest in a new piece of furniture, consider if the brand is taking steps to minimize its carbon footprint and implement ethical practices. Whether you're looking for a new dining table, sofa, or even outdoor furniture, there are plenty of ethical and sustainable options to choose from. Below, we've selected our favorite picks based on style, quality, and sustainability.
What does sustainable furniture mean?
Sustainability means existing in harmony with nature as best we can. Living sustainably means looking closer at what you buy and how it's made so that it's better for you and the planet. Sustainable furniture uses renewable, eco-friendly materials and doesn't have any harsh chemicals. Sustainable furniture also lasts a long time. To create less waste, sustainable furniture uses durable materials like solid teak wood that can be kept for centuries.
When shopping for sustainable furniture, here's what to look for:
- Green and organic certifications like FSC-certified
- Free of chemicals like retardants, formaldehyde, VOC
- Made with renewable or responsibly sourced materials
- Pays fair wages
- Supports local artisan communities
- High-quality construction
- Recycling or full-cycle programs
- Reduces wasteful shipping materials like bubble wrap and paper
- Climate-neutral initiatives to reduce/offset carbon emissions
What are the most sustainable furniture materials?
The most sustainable materials for making furniture are recycled, salvaged, or natural materials. If the piece you want isn't made of those, look into the source of the material to make sure it is eco-friendly. You can rely on certifications for wood materials and textiles. In general, here are a few of the most popular sustainable furniture materials.
Bamboo is a naturally renewable material that grows like grass but can be as strong as wood or steel. Bamboo is indoor and outdoor-friendly and is typically used for coffee tables, accent chairs, or lighting.
FSC-Certified or Salvaged Wood
Wood furniture is the most popular and durable furniture material, but it's not always sustainable. Check that the wood furniture you buy isn't contributing to deforestation and, in turn, climate change. Popular furniture woods include walnut, oak, ash, and teak.
If you've ever wondered, "What is FSC-Certified teak?" you're not alone. Many brands talk about being FSC-certified but don't explain what it means or why it matters. FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council, and they set rigorous standards for responsible forestry across the globe. If wood comes from an FSC-certified forest, that means it doesn't have a negative impact on the environment.
Instead of purchasing furniture made of new wood, you can also opt for something made of salvaged wood. You can find options like this on Etsy Marketplace or even at larger retail stores like Pottery Barn.
Rattan is a natural and sustainable product that is popular for furniture making because it is stylish and strong. Similar to bamboo, rattan is a naturally renewable palm that grows in forests in Asia and Africa. Rattan works well for both indoor and outdoor furniture and is an earthy honey yellow color.
15 of the most sustainable furniture brands
The Joinery is a furniture company based in Portland, Oregon, that makes handcrafted wood pieces for residential and commercial use. They are a Certified B Corporation, which means they carefully consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.
You'd be hard to find a furniture company with a more direct eco-friendly impact than Medley. For every tree used to bring one of their furniture pieces to life, Medley partners with the National Forest Foundation to plant three times the number of trees. Also, their wood comes from FSC-certified forests in the US.
If you like to spend time outdoors, we've got your outdoor furniture needs covered. We have a modern collection of outdoor sofas, chairs, sectionals, and a sustainable outdoor teak dining set. Maybe we're a bit bias, but we love our FSC-certified teak outdoor loveseat for small spaces and getting together with friends and family in your backyard or patio. Each of our pieces is made with FSC-certified teak, wooden joints, and marine-grade hardware, so it's built to last a long time. Neighbor also uses Sunbrella fabric with recycled content for their cushions. Sunbrella's sustainability initiatives are unmatched in the textile industry, and their performance is truly unmatched. You can easily wash your Neighbor outdoor cushions. They are fade-proof, mold and mildew resistant, and comfortable.
Crate and Barrel
Over the last few years, Crate and Barrel have worked hard to implement eco-friendly initiatives at their headquarters and manufacturing processes. They have plenty of modern and stylish furniture (everything from dining tables and sectionals to home decor) made with FSC-certified wood. They partner with brands like Parachute and Neighbor, who value sustainable materials.
Aside from their stylish product offerings like their bed frame and bookcases, we love Floyd's commitment to sustainability via their resale and refurbishment program. Their goal is for less furniture to make it to landfills, but they also use certified wood, minimize packaging waste, and source recycled or renewed materials.
The Citizenry focuses on sustainability from a local economy perceptive. They work with textile and wood artisans and partners worldwide and use only materials local to that area. They offer handmade goods and furniture like end tables and provide fair wages, happy working environments, and sustaining grants to those they work with.
From the beginning, the Jenni Kayne brand has valued natural fibers, local production, and fair working conditions. They maintain relationships with fair factories across the globe and produce locally whenever they can. Jenni Kayne prioritizes timelessness and works with local artisans to make pieces that will last forever for bespoke, elevated furniture like sofas and accent tables.
While there isn't a single brand we've picked from the Etsy marketplace, we consider the shop one of the most sustainable places to buy furniture because it is a hub for items and home decor made from re-used and salvaged materials. The furniture is also made, for the most part, by hand by individual shop owners and artisans.
The Polywood brand is known for its innovative 'lumber' made from durable recycled plastic from milk jugs, laundry detergent containers, bottle caps, etc. With their Adirondack outdoor chairs and other products, they recycle about 400,000 of ocean and landfill-bound plastic. We love Polywood because the material is sustainable, eco-friendly, looks great, and works perfectly in any weather outdoors.
Franklin and Emily
We love the Franklin and Emily brand for uniquely beautiful children's furniture like chairs and stools that are also sustainable. They use sustainably sourced materials, like birch wood certified by the California Air Resources Board. Franklin and Emily also package their orders with 100% recycled material and have become Climate Neutral Certified to measure, reduce, and offset the carbon generated by their products.
West Elm is a leader in the sustainable furniture space. They've been on Barron's 100 Most Sustainable US Companies list for the past four years and are continually innovating for better-made pieces. West Elm sources FSC‑certified, recycled, and up-cycled materials, creates less waste whenever possible, and was the first home goods retailer to join Fair Trade USA, ensuring workers' fair wages, healthy working conditions, and community development.
Design Within Reach
A leader in modern, high-end living room furniture Design Within Reach and their suppliers adhere to strict workplace standards and are committed to being a leader in environmental sustainability. They support responsible forest management practices. They are developing policies to conserve energy, dispose of waste more responsibly and reduce pollutants.
Ikea is a budget-friendly option that has been a long-time leader in the sustainable furniture space in freight and packaging. Grab a bed frame or any other item from Ikea's massive showroom, and they'll produce as much renewable energy as is consumed. They also ensure a safe and healthy work environment and prevent pollution to air, ground, and water, and at least minimum wages and overtime compensation.
Navigate to ABC Home's impact page on their website, and you'll quickly see the breadth of their commitment to environmental practices. For example, they partner with Label STEP to comply with fair trade standards and meet the needs of its weavers and workers for their contemporary living room furniture, dining room furniture, and handmade rugs.
Designed and made in the USA, Inside Weather makes custom furniture like chairs, storage, and accent tables that are FSC, SFC, Oeko-Tex, and Bluesign certified. They partner with the National Forest Foundation to plant a tree for every purchase made, make sofas using up-cycled ocean-bound plastic bottles, and make all of their packaging biodegradable.
There are plenty of options to choose from for sustainable furniture that is also stylish, comfortable, and durable. Consider shopping for sustainable home decor from shops like Etsy, West Elm, and Neighbor to complete your living room or patio setup. Complement your Neighbor sustainable teak sectional sofa with a braided rug, ottoman, pouf, or Sunbrella outdoor pillows. Neighbor is the perfect option for your outdoor space, and we are one of many brands that have made sustainability central to our mission and values.