Non Toxic Furniture Brands For Your Home

When you start to detox your home whether it be air quality, your mattress, your food or your furniture, there is so much to consider! I am going to share with you 5 non toxic furniture brands to consider for your home. Because, yes, even furniture can bring unwanted toxic chemicals with it.  And, no, I don’t mean go out and replace all your furniture at once…I certainly haven’t done that! But, as we are ready I replace one piece at a time to make it more manageable. In the mean time, I have tips I share for how to improve the air quality in your home and limit toxic exposure. 

 

*Affiliate Disclosure: I do have affiliate links in this blog post. If you purchase something from my link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.  This comes at no cost to you, but is paid by the company.  I do not take becoming an affiliate with any company lightly.  If I am, it’s because I believe in the company and their product. 

 

Unfortunately, manufacturers don’t have to tell us everything they use to construct furniture!

 

Is furniture really toxic?

Unfortunately, yes. Even the furniture we bring into our homes can bring with it toxic, unwanted chemicals. What makes it even worse is that those making the furniture aren’t required to disclose exactly what they are using. I will get into more detail on some of the toxins that could be hiding in your furniture below.

But, the big concern with furniture is if there are volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) or semivolatile organic compounds (SVOC’s) being off gassed by the furniture. Off gassing is the emission of especially noxious gases. Think of the smell when you take a new mattress out of its packaging or get into a new vehicle. That ‘new’ smell is actually the off gassing of these not so healthy gases.

 

VOC’s are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands – and this includes furnishings according to the EPA.

 

Exposure to VOC’s can include these health effects:

  • Throat, Nose and Eye Irritation
  • Headaches, Loss of Coordination and Nausea
  • Damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system (CNS)
  • Some organics can cause cancer in animals, some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans. 

 

Of course, there is so much to be considered such as level of exposure (what else in your home is off gassing besides your furniture and where else in your everyday life are you being exposed), how long you have been exposed and how susceptible you are. But, I think it’s important to know what possible outcomes are. And as I say about so many other things, is this adding to your toxic load?

 

What toxic chemicals can be found in furniture?

Chemicals found in furniture today are downright horrible for the body and yet we can be potentially exposing ourselves to them everyday.  Some of these ingredients are: polybrominated diphenyl, phthalates, formaldehyde, benzene, acetaldehyde, vinyl acetate, hexabromocyclododecane, perfluorooctanoic acid, perchloroethylene, and trichloroethylene.  

 

As the furniture gets used, these chemicals come out into the air, settle into dust, and land on the floor.  We are not only touching them and being exposed as we sit on the furniture, or touch it but also from air we breathe.  

 

Babies and toddlers have the greater chance of being exposed as they are smaller and are constantly on the ground, crawling and touching things. 

 

“Several studies suggest associations between exposure to some flame retardants and poorer neurodevelopment in children,” Asa Bradman, associate director of the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health at the University of California, Berkeley.

 

Flame retardants started being added to furniture in 1975 by California after the California Flammability Standard was formed.  This standard set a new precedent for all furniture companies as many started to adopt it and add flame retardants to their furniture.  Companies didn’t want to have to make specific furniture just for California and different furniture for other states.  Therefore flame retardants were added to any furniture that contains foam.  

 

In 2014, lawmakers realized that the flame retardants weren’t needed, however, there has been no ban on flame retardants being used still as most furniture you purchase will still have the flame retardants on it and you will actually have to go out of your way to find furniture that doesn’t have it. 

 

Flame retardants are just one of the big heavy hitters when it comes to harmful chemical exposure from furniture. There are so many more chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis because of our furniture.  

 

If you don’t have non toxic furniture, there are steps you can take to help minimize your exposure to the toxins.

 

How To Protect You and Your Family From the Toxins in Your Furniture

First, I don’t think it’s necessary or even possible for most of us to run out and buy all non toxic furniture. And, that’s ok. Although there are studies showing that the level of VOC’s are 2-5x higher indoors than outdoors, I do think some precautions should be taken to improve air quality overall. And, if you have owned your furniture for a while, the level of off-gassing is most likely much lower than it was initially. Specifically when it comes to your furnishings, here are a few ways to limit your exposure:

  • Improve ventilation by opening windows and using fans.
  • Since these chemicals off gas in higher temperatures and in increased humidity, do your best to keep both of these on the lower end in your home.
  • Invest in an air purifier. I recommend this one. It has a stage of filtration that  has Activated Carbon, Potassium Iodide Impregnated Carbon and Zeolite. This is great for removing VOC’s, formaldehyde, benzenes, chemicals, gases and odors. Definitely worth the investment!
  • If you are buying conventional furniture, opt for a floor model that has already had a chance to off-gas. If that isn’t an option, do your best to let the furniture off gas in your garage, outside or in a well ventilated area. I was unable to find a clear cut amount of time to allow new furniture to off-gas…it just seems to be too variable.  And just because you no longer smell the ‘new’ smell, doesn’t mean that there isn’t off-gassing occurring. In my opinion, the longer the better, but obviously you want to eventually use your new furniture!
  • Use a vacuum that has a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) Filter. These will trap dust, mold spores, pollen, etc instead of just sending them back into the air after you vacuum. This is the vacuum I have.  Or if you really want a high end vacuum, the Miele vacuum is top of the line. When you dust and mop, it should be done using a ‘wet dust’ method. Dry dusting will just move the dust into the air and then it will settle somewhere else whereas wet dusting will actually lift the dust and remove it. This is all important because as I said above, if the toxins are settling in the dust, it only makes sense to limit and remove the dust.

 

Check out my video that I did on 5 FREE Ways to Detox Your Home here!

 

3rd party certifications are helpful in finding furniture that is non toxic.

 

How to know which furniture brands are non toxic?

Just like with other things, the easiest way without having to do a ton of investigating is to look at their 3rd party certifications. Of course these aren’t the end all be all. You will see some of the brands I highlight below are doing some amazing things to bring us sustainable and non toxic furniture without a 3rd party certification. Do what you are comfortable with as a consumer. But the following certifications are a fabulous starting point.

  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): The worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibers. The USDA recognizes GOTS as the standard for organic consumer goods.
  • Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS): A globally recognized standard for products made out of organically grown natural rubber latex.
  • MADESAFE: The MADESAFE certification is a rigorous process that, if a brand is able to achieve it, signifies that their products are made with ingredients not known or suspected to cause human health harm. This certification can be for anything from baby, personal care, household products and so much more.
  • UL/Greenguard Gold and UL Formaldehyde Free: A certification that tests products/materials for chemical emissions. Those that achieve certification are helping to reduce indoor air pollution and chemical exposure.
  • OEKO-TEX: If a brand carries this certification every component of the end product has been tested for harmful substances and of course come back negative. This means there are no substance in the product that are harmful for human health.

 

 

Sustainable, Eco-Friendly and Non Toxic Furniture Brands For Your Home

While there weren’t that many companies in the past when it came to non toxic furniture, the tides are changing and now more than ever there are so many more brands to choose from. And while sustainable and eco-friendly don’t automatically equal non toxic, I did want to mention the amazing steps these brands are taking!

 

We have loved our bed frame from West Elm!

 

West Elm

West Elm is not only a well known commercial brand, but they are making waves in the sustainability and non toxic department.  Their prices are more middle of the road.  Some being higher than others.  Definitely not the highest of the high, but also not the lowest of the low.  The are more modern in their design and very with the current style.  

What they offer when it comes to sustainable products:

  • Bedroom, living room, baby cribs, office, and dining room. 

Here is what West Elm currently offers when it comes to eco-friendly and non toxic practices:

  • Fair Trade- Their fair trade factories support over 13,000 workers and their families. That’s a total of 16 fair trade facilities total.  West Elm was also the first home retailer to join Fair Trade USA.  These facilities support fair working conditions and fair wages.  Here’s a quote from their website, “We’ve paid 4.7 million into community development funds. Workers invest these funds in needs of their choice: commuter bicycles, cultural services, hot lunches, hygiene kits, and more.”  How cool is that?  By 2020 their hope is that 40% off their products are fair trade certified.  The items that are fair trade certified will have a fair trade certified symbol on them and be noted in the description on the website or at the store.
  • Responsible Sourcing- 100% of all cotton is organic.  Because of this 2.3 billion liters of water was saved in 2019 alone.  10,000+ chemicals & VOCs screened when producing their GREENGUARD Gold certified furniture. They also use the OEKO-TEX certification. Check out more information on responsible sourcing here.
  • Environmental Protection- Not only are you supporting fair working conditions and fair wages when you purchase their sustainably sourced furniture, but you are also protecting forests globally and ecosystems. They are also Forest Stewardship Council certified. Many of their products are also up cycled, recycled or reclaimed when it comes to wood. Which means less waste overall. 
  • Supporting Local Economies- They support their local artists, designers, to help their businesses grow.  They also support local economies around the world with their handcrafted goods.

*For a full list of their certifications and partnerships check out the full list here.

When it comes West Elm’s wood furniture, it is GREENGUARD Gold certified. Meaning it will only give off low level VOCs.  There are products that are GREENGUARD Certified, but those that are Gold certified will emit even lower levels of VOCs. You will also see depending on the wood furniture what finish it has on it.  Most of them are covered in a nontoxic water based finish. 

West Elm doesn’t just offer sustainable furniture but also sustainable accessories too.  From pillow, bedding, mirrors, art, rugs and more. 

West Elm Furniture Review

My husband and I have their Mid-Century Modern Acorn Bed Frame and love it! We’ve had it for almost 3 years and it’s held up great. I love that it’s made of real wood- no particle board or manufactured wood. Since a bed is such a large piece of furniture I didn’t want it off gassing harmful fumes. It also couldn’t be cloth or fabric.  Although I do like the look of the cloth headboards, from research I’ve learned how dust mites can live in them!  Plus, I wondered how they would really get clean, since you can’t take the cloth off.  The bed frame is not only made with real wood but fair trade as well.  The price wasn’t so crazy either.  I found most furniture made from all wood can be very costly.  I’m SO happy with the purchase!  It didn’t even have a smell when we opened it other than just a pleasant real wood smell.  My hubs was impressed with how well it was made too.  Can’t recommend it enough!  Shop the Mid-Century Modern Bed Frame here.

Shop all of West Elm Sustainable Furniture here!

 

This is the chair we purchased from Crate and Barrel last year – love it!

 

Crate and Barrel

This is another mainstream company that I have firsthand experience with.  Crate and Barrel offers some environmental initiatives from upholstery, packaging, furniture and housewares, catalogs and sourcebooks, energy conservation and recycling.  It’s so cool to see a mainstream company upholding a higher standard when it comes to sustainability and furniture as well as green practices.  

What they offer when it comes to sustainable products:

  • Bedroom, living room, baby cribs, office, and dining room. 

Here is what Crate and Barrel currently offers when it comes to eco-friendly and non toxic practices:

  • Upholstery- Crate and Barrel now offers over 50 styles in eco-friendly upholstery.  Their products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.  They also are using less petroleum based foam in their cushions and instead replacing it with soy, corn- based foam and fibers.
  • Packaging- All of their black and white boxes are made with renewable fiber that contains post-consumer recyclable material. Also, their shopping bags are made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper.  This means that a minimum of 85 percent post-consumer waste certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.  They are also printed with water-based inks.  They use 100% recyclable tissue in their shopping bags and boxes. They also use GreenWrap or air pads to package and protect their products.  GreenWrap uses 100% recyclable paper.  It can go directly into a recycling bin.  The air pads are made from source-reduced packaging. Every pad is 98% air and 2% recyclable plastic. You can pop the pad and disposed of in the recycle bin.
  • Furniture and Housewares- A good amount of the wood dining room and office products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.  As Crate and Barrel states on their website, “The gold standard designation for wood harvested from forests that are responsibly managed, socially beneficial, environmentally appropriate and economically viable.”  They also do a great job of using woods that would otherwise be tossed and instead making furniture out of them.  Such is the case with their Mango dinning collection.  They also repurpose wood from from buildings no longer in use in China, Indonesia, and Brazil. They offer bamboo in many of their kitchen and bath collections.  Bamboo is known for being naturally anti-microbial and sustainable.  They also offer recycled glass for some of their dining options.  In addition, they offer OEKO-TEX certification for some bed and bath linens. 
  • Catalogs and Sourcebooks- All of their catalogs are printed on Forest Stewardship Council certified paper that is not bleached with chlorine along with on-line catalogs.
  • Energy Conservation and Recycling- They operate one of the largest headquarters of Crate and Barrel at their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design(LEED) on the West Coast.  They also have LEED certification at one of their stores in Durham, NC.  They have switched to lower energy lighting at all of their stores. They have a thorough recycling program at their stores and are working towards zero waste.
  • Outdoor- Crate and Barrel has taken their sustainability and green practices and have carried them over into their eco-friendly outdoor furniture as well. For example, they use only Forest Stewardship Council certified teak that is plantation grown.  They also use nontoxic resins for their outdoor wicker furniture.
  • Social Responsibility- Crate and Barrel is part of California Transparency in the Supply Chains Act which prohibits any human trafficking or slavery of any kind. Also, they have a Code Of Conduct that all vendors have to adhere too.  This ensures that all who work for them are treated fairly.  For more information, check out their social responsibility here.

*For a full list of all of their certifications and partnerships check out the list here.

When it comes to Crate and Barrel’s wood furniture, it is made from certified sustainable hardwood that’s kiln-dried to prevent warping.  Some of their products are made from teak and are Forest Stewardship Council certified as well. 

 

Crate and Barrel Review

I bought their Lounge Chair last year and love it!  It didn’t have a strong smell at all when I got it.  It is extremely comfortable and fits nicely in our space.  I loved that I could go and check out the chair at a local furniture store if I wanted too before purchasing.  Makes for an overall easier experience for the customer.  It’s held up well too- and that’s saying a lot with three kids!

Shop all of Crate and Barrel sustainable furniture here!

 

This is a newer non toxic furniture piece we got for our new home.

 

Room and Board

This is another company that is in the mainstream furniture business but very sustainable as well.  They have many pieces of furniture that meet the sustainability requirements as well as really advocating for a more sustainable future overall.  I applaud their work they are doing! I recently got a new couch from them and I also have several friends who have loved their products.

What they offer when it comes to sustainable products: 

  • Bedroom, living, office, dining room and outdoor furniture.

Here is what Room and Board currently offers when it comes to eco-friendly and non toxic practices:

  • Design- Their sustainability efforts start with their design.  Holding true to timeless and classic design that’s made from quality craftsmanship that helps to eliminate 10,000 tons of furniture that ends up in landfills because you have the furniture for a lifetime. 
  • Manufacturing– More than 90% of their products are manufactured in the U.S.  Plus, the materials like solid wood, and natural steel are sourced from the U.S. as well.  Not only cutting down on overall carbon footprint but investing back into the lives of the American citizens. 
  • Non Toxic Materials Used: They carry GreenGuard Gold certified fabrics that you can choose for your new furniture. They use no flame retardants or stain resistant chemicals. 
  • Founding member of the Sustainable Furnishing Council-  Companies are scored based on their sustainability practices.  From using sustainable materials, recyclable materials, how returns and reuses are handled.  Another thing I love that they check for is actual documentation on the chain of custody.  Meaning they are reviewing legal documents on where their wood is purchased.
  • Air Pollutants- They choose materials that contribute to lower air pollutants overall.  Asking vendors for low environmental impact textiles. 
  • Local Sourcing- They implement a 500 radius for a certain amount of their products. This means they extract, manufacture and ship within 500 miles for a certain portion of their products. Lowering overall carbon footprint.
  • Education- They are continually educating their employees on sustainability efforts and how they can do better.
  • Real people and real materials- Room and Board believes in supporting local craftsman and real materials.  They use real wood, often that’s reclaimed, and recycled natural steel for their furnishings.  Their plastic is recycled plastic and their nylon is as well.  Supporting local craftsmen helps to reduce travel, and overall carbon footprint.
  • Stores and Office Buildings- From their retail stores to their office buildings they make a conscious effort to ensure sustainability is a priority.  From taking over old buildings, to adding LED lighting to their buildings, and landscaping with native plants.  
  • Support- Room and Board financially supports organizations that are leading the charge when it comes to sustainability.  They also give their staff members opportunities to volunteer too. Last year they donated $320,000 to the Nature Conservancy.

*For more information on their sustainability practices, check out their website here.

 

Room and Board Review

I have the Hutton Sofa in Vance Olive Velvet.  They actually no longer carry the Hutton Sofas but the Holmes Sofa is basically the same thing, except you can’t get one seat cushion like the Hutton Sofa, but 2 or 3 depending on the size.  Otherwise it looks very similar to the Hutton Sofa I have.  There was no awful smell to the fabric when we received it, literally none!  It’s held up so well and you can tell it was made by actual craftsmen.  That’s one of the reasons I love supporting Room & Board because they support local craftsmen and real materials. For example, you can click on a piece of furniture from their website and see where it’s made in the U.S. and by what craftsmen.  How cool!

Shop all of Room and Board here!

 

Burrow is filling the gap when it comes to sustainable furniture that is affordable and accessible.

 

Burrow

This is a new sustainable furniture company but one I’ve been reading lots about and I’m excited to share with you!  The founders wanted their couches to not only be comfortable but also sustainable too.  There were too many furniture companies that were too expensive or too flimsy, so they created their own!  This is a  more affordable approach to a sustainable couch in my opinion without sacrificing the important things. I don’t have any personal experience using the brand but if you read the reviews they are enough to make you want to buy a couch from them!  I am in the market for a new couch soon and Burrow is definitely on the top of my list.  They also offer a 30 day trial too!

What they offer when it comes to sustainable products: 

  • Couches- from loveseats, to sectionals, and sleepers, armchairs and ottomans, media storage, wall shelves, tables and benches, and rugs.

Here is what Burrow currently offers when it comes to eco-friendly and non toxic practices:

  • Shipping- Since Burrow’s furniture is modular it can come in normal shipping boxes, which saves a lot of money on shipping, unlike other furniture companies.  The boxes they are shipped in are 100% recycled cardboard boxes.
  • Eco-friendly materials- Burrow uses upcycled materials and sustainably harvested wood that is sourced from responsibly managed forests.  
  • Wood- All wood used in Burrow products is grown in either Louisiana, or Mississippi.  in responsibly managed forests.  The wood suppliers are also certified by the Forest Stewardship Council(FSC).  They didn’t just stop there, they are also certified through the American Tree Farm System(ATFS) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative(SFI).  These certifications help to ensure land is managed responsibly and there is long term planning.
  • Nontoxic Fabric- They don’t add any chemical additives to their furniture or treatments and the fabric is free of formaldehyde’s, lead, phthalates and flame retardants.  Plus, they allow minimal VOC content less than 0.5 PPM.  Their stain resistant fabric is not doused with Perfluorinated Chemicals like so many other furniture companies but instead they use a fabric called olefin that uses upcycled polymers that are naturally stain resistant.
  • Made in the U.S.A- They make their furniture here which not only offsets carbon footprint but also helps support local businesses.

*Read more about their sustainability efforts here.

Shop all of Burrow products here!

Medley takes the cake when it comes to sustainable practices and nontoxic materials.

 

Medley 

I have read much about Medley. This is the the best of the best when it comes to sustainable furniture brands.  They really have it all when it comes to nontoxic furniture that delivers on the sustainability front as well.  This also comes with a heftier price tag too!  However, this is a great option if money is not a concern and you are chemically sensitive or if you just want to make sure your furniture is free of everything.

What they offer when it comes to sustainable products: 

  • Living, Bedroom, storage, dining, office, and accent tables,

Here is what Medley currently offers when it comes to eco-friendly and non toxic practices:

  • Manufacturing- They manufacture in California, to lower carbon footprint.  Their mattresses are made in Chicago.
  • Wood- All the wood used is real wood and not plywood.  It is Forest Stewardship Council(FSC) certified. They also use bamboo which rapidly renews on it’s own.  The wood furniture polish is made from 3 ingredients- beeswax, carnauba wax, and olive oil.  
  • Foam- They offer two kinds of foam.  The first is a polyester foam that is certified through CertiPure, this is the highest certification you can get for foam.  The second option for foam is organic natural latex.  This is made from the sap of rubber trees, and is very durable and breathable.  Getting organic latex is as good as it gets when it comes to nontoxic furniture. 
  • Wool- Not only do they use wool to fill chairs and sofas but also has an upholstery fabric.  It is naturally, flame resistant, temperature regulating, stain-resistant, antibacterial and hypoallergenic. Plus, it’s extremely biodegradable and renewable.  Their wool is also OEKO-TEX certified and sustainably sourced, as well as cruelty-free.  
  • Fabrics- They take their fabrics to the next level when it comes to sourcing and toxins.  They use fabrics such as certified organic cotton(certified by the Global Organic Textile).  If they do use synthetics their is a purpose- nothing goes unnoticed with Medley.  If there is a synthetic fabric used they are either Greenguard Gold Certified or OEKO-TEX certified– ensuring they are safe. By using organic cotton, Medley produces 46% less CO2 than conventional farming.
  • Customization- You can customize the furniture to your liking.

*Read more about their sustainability efforts here.

Shop all of Medley products here!

 

What sustainable furniture brands have you tried? 

 

If you liked this post, be sure to check out past posts I share on non toxic mattresses:

 

 

 

Cheers, Suzi

Suzi

Suzi is a wife, and mama who is passionate about sharing her natural lifestyle with those around her. She created Gurl Gone Green to show how our everyday decisions, from what we use on our face, home and the food we eat affect us more than we know. She loves holding space where people can weed through the marketing clutter to find truth, and ultimately make the best decision for their families.

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