Fast furniture, and why do we need to think before buying it?
Basically, fast furniture is a piece of furniture that is easily replaced for some reason, and we are not discussing furniture delivered fast by a manufacturer when you buy it online.
In recent years, we have been quite confronted with the facts about fast furniture. There must be something done about the enormous waste mountains and the pollution caused by various production processes.
Although we have become more aware of our consumption of food, clothing, and cosmetics, the amount of waste caused by furniture has only increased.
It’s as if we don’t realize that this waste also has a lot of impact on nature. Below you will find things to consider and a step-by-step plan to combat fast furniture.
How bad is the fast furniture?
With the ever faster changing interior trends, fast furniture is inevitable. But how bad is that? So what can we do about it ourselves?
Around 12 billion kilos of furniture are thrown away in the US alone. It is taken to the recycling center, or it stands as bulky waste along the road. You may think it will end up in the right place.
Only 10% of this waste is recycled. The rest goes into the incinerator (i.e., emissions) or ends up on the waste mountain. Very unfortunate, but also very unnecessary!
Fast furniture is a term for cheap and trend-sensitive furniture.
These cabinets, tables, and chairs are often mass-produced, with little regard for environmental impact.
The quality of this furniture is also not always something to write home about so that they often have to be replaced.
When you hear the term fast furniture, you undoubtedly think of chains such as IKEA.
Fast furniture brands
Is IKEA selling sustainable furniture? I am a big fan of these Swedish furniture brands.
I think the great thing about their products is that they are often modular. Entire series is offered, so you can continuously adapt your table, desk, or walk-in closet to your current living style.
Nevertheless, we increasingly opt for second-hand items to keep the impact on the environment as small as possible.
Is it wrong to buy new furniture?
Yes and no. Although IKEA does have sustainable ambitions (think of their circular hub and their energy-saving products), it is still too easy to buy more than you need in the store.
The stores’ low prices, walking routes, and even color ensure that you spend as much money as possible. Logical, of course, because every company wants to make money. But the incentive to buy consciously is still nil.
That’s why I protect myself by planning as few shop visits as possible. The same applies to home furnishings stores such as Wayfair, home depot, and IKEA.
They often have great things in the range, but it invites too much to impulse buy.
Buying sustainable furniture
Shopping less is a simple and effective way to purchase less and therefore automatically buy more sustainably.
I think there is much more you can do (or not do) to reduce the impact of your furniture on the environment.
Why do you need to buy fast furniture?
Before checking out in your shopping cart, it is best to ask yourself whether you need it. Well, to what extent a new side table or stool is essential, of course.
As an interior enthusiast, I understand the need for an excellent addition in that one corner. So if you think it’s useful, you can buy it.
But never buy something just because it’s fun, without knowing a destination for it.
Can you fix your furniture to make it sustainable?
If you want to buy something new to replace something else, it is wise to consider whether you can refurbish the old piece of furniture.
A lick of paint, new buttons, and even a piece of wallpaper can turn an old-fashioned cupboard into a unique eye-catcher.
Cut the high table legs to make a coffee table, and put a chair next to your bed to serve as a nightstand.
Any furniture repair is possible
The biggest problem is often the seating comfort. After a few years, the seat cushions on your sofa will deteriorate.
We have various solutions for this, from cheap to sustainable. This way, we can refill the existing fillings but also replace them entirely.
Same for fabric or leather repairs. Of course, you can opt for an economical solution, but the more expensive solutions often give a much more sustainable result.
For example, you can easily repair a tear in a leather seat with a spot repair method. But it is also possible to place a new piece of leather.
The color difference is usually not that bad, and the advantage is that you can use your leather sofa for years to come.
Throwing away furniture is no longer necessary
Your furniture is used daily, and even though you are very careful with your furniture, it can still happen that something breaks.
Think, for example, of a sagging sofa or armrest, a deep scratch on your table, or an open door in the cupboard. Buying new furniture might cost a lot of money and is unnecessarily harmful to the environment.
Fortunately, throwing away is no longer necessary; you can repair it yourself or use a professional furniture repair.
Do you think you will enjoy your furniture for more than 10 years?
This question is also quite tricky for me because I like to change. Still, this is a question that I keep in mind when I see something beautiful again. For example, I have seen the new white Karwei cabinet pass by several people in recent weeks.
The shelving unit is beautiful, and I also know it will look beautiful here in the house. But if I’m honest, I think I got bored of it pretty quickly.
It is too trend sensitive and therefore not timeless. Something I do strive for in my house.
Therefore, it is best to always have a kind of mood board for your living style, with which you can point out all possible purchases. Such a mood board is easy to make on Pinterest.
Can you also buy your furniture second-hand?
You can’t imagine whether it can be obtained via Wayfair, eBay, or IKEA. You can even set up a search if you’re looking for an item specifically.
Use multiple keywords to increase your chances of success. Are you looking for a chakki table? Then look ‘for example also under ‘oriental table’ or ‘small round table’ because not everyone knows the name for an item.
What also sometimes works is placing a call on social media or with friends. Ask in the family app if someone might still have a chest of drawers.
Or place a request on Facebook for a rocking chair. An advantage of this tactic is that you counter impulse purchases. You have to look for it and often wait for it.
Is your furniture sustainably produced?
Are you going to buy something new? First, check whether you can also buy it from a sustainable manufacturer.
More and more furniture makers are using old materials. And more and more companies are producing circularly. Sometimes you indeed have to pay more money for these products.
But if you buy less and buy cheap second-hand furniture more often, you have more money left over for these types of sustainable purchases.
And because the price is a bit higher, you automatically think better whether you want something.