Sustainable Home Decor & How to be a Conscious Consumer
The best way to make the world a better place is in your home
In today’s society, we are so quick to run to cheap, big-box furniture stores when it comes time to furnish a home space. But there is much hidden beauty that lays in the old second-hand furniture which could be purchased from thrifted shops, FaceBook Marketplace or sometimes, if you’re lucky, even just off the side of the road! Thrifted items are an amazing addition to any home space. In fact, interior designers often will use vintage or antique articles of furniture when integrating new design concepts to many at-home spaces.
No matter what your personal style is — our goal is always to make it feel like home.
So why shop second-hand? To name a few reasons: quality materials, rich textures, functionality by thoughtful detail and design, & at its root - sustainable living.
Many of the on-trend items you see in today’s magazines and style blogs could first be recognized from another time-period. Whether it be Teak furniture, sleek designs incorporating wood tones (a big hit in the mid-century modern era), Art Deco like statement stone tables, or even dating back to the 1800's with finishes such as Rattan or Cane later seen again in Cesca Chairs and Sideboards.
If these modern trends are being recycled, why are we not doing the same? It is in this modern-day movement that we can make the generational shift to achieve better eco-conscious choices gearing towards a more sustainable future.
Just last year, we purchased our first home. We arrived with clothes in hand and not much of anything else. With monthly bills to pay, you can imagine there weren’t many funds left over. So we became creative with our decor — by thrifting, of course!
West Elm is known for its beautiful home decor and furnishings store. It has also always been placed outside of my personal design budget, though I do find myself frequently inspired by their ability to integrate modern with classic, timeless designs. Being able to secure this amazing Teak Credenza for our home from a local family right here in Hamilton, Ontario had us so excited.
In comparison, this item cost us approximately 1/10th of something comparable from their store. Not to mention, it is a one-of-a-kind credenza, a local pick up with no additional packaging waste, and a special piece that will be in our home our whole lives.
Thrifting and purchasing second-hand items is a great way to both support local and contribute toward our circular economy and make conscious and reputable sustainable living efforts.
Great thrifted finds are not just limited to articles of furniture. You can find many other vintage goodies, including: textiles, pillows, blankets, rugs, vases, cookware and tons of other upcycle projects!
These same values of sustainable living are shared at Love My Mat. With their attention to detail, superior quality, and built-to-last longevity, whether I’m purchasing a yoga prop or meditation cushion for myself, or gift for a loved one, I know that sustainable resources were at the forefront of their creative process.
My Travil Meditation Sit Set was handmade from an end-of-the-roll, dead-stock fabric. These kinds of small efforts of supporting small business and shopping for sustainable materials can make a huge impact on our global ecological footprint. It’s no doubt a great feeling to shop local – especially amongst companies who share the same values of resourcing quality product and sustainable living.
Shopping at small business is also great support for the economy – and it’s great to know that I am supporting a family instead of a larger corporation. The small wait times for delivery services are just an added bonus, especially considering timing delays of shipping containers and the present timing of entering the holiday season.
One piece of advice I can offer about conscious consumerism via thrifting and searching online second-hand resources such as Marketplace is to have patience.
Oftentimes, we get frustrated because what we are looking is not readily available as it would be stocked in shelves or online at our local department store. The beauty of thrifting and shopping second-hand items lays in knowing that when you find a vintage article, chances are it will be one-of-a-kind, and the treasure hunt will make you even more fond of your special find!
My recommendation is to remain with an open heart because if you don’t find beautiful thrifted goodies that day it just means the right piece is still out there waiting for you!
As an avid Pinterest user, I am constantly dreaming of gorgeous living spaces. I have dreamt of owning a handmade wood table for as long as I can remember. After many attempts of looking on Facebook Marketplace for gently used second-hand tables, it felt like I had finally given up. Mere days after feeling completely defeated it finally felt like we hit the jackpot - I found my dream table at a fraction of the cost of a brand new one and yet still in like-new condition!
We saved a great deal of money (Paying only 1/4th of purchasing new), and local pick up meant reduced gasoline usage to pick up the item (and skipping the $50 shipping fee), in addition to no plastic waste from wrapping – or dreaded wait times, as we made a quick arrangement to pick up the second-hand table the very same day!
An added bonus is that this second-hand coffee table now lives in the same room as our credenza. A match made in second-hand heaven!
Curating these unique pieces will also fill your home with only things that you whole-heartedly love. Becoming a conscious consumer and being mindful of each piece as it enters your house makes your space feel that much more intentional (and will help you steer clear of a cluttered space).
I was also able to source a cute vintage office-space desk from Facebook Marketplace for just $10, with asymmetrical drawers and adorable brass leg finishes.
With a touch of sanding and some high-gloss paint, (in a cool vintage vibe colour) this desk was brought back to life and will help serve as a work-from-home office setting for many years to come!
I’m sure we can agree that over-consumption is far too popular in this modern economy. Remember that to live a sustainable life in fact means living with great quality items for a longer period of time; this way also means replacing them way less frequently.
This holds so true to older furniture: ever notice how an older loved one may say, “they don’t make ‘em like they used to”? Well, it’s true!
There is something special to be said about handmade items. In previous centuries, personal goods such as clothing and furniture were created specifically with longevity in mind. So, whether you are thrifting second-hand goods or supporting local like Love My Mat, you can rest easy knowing you are doing good while feeling good too!
Living a more sustainable life is a goal we can all strive for.
Thrifting furniture items has become a great deal of our home, and has helped to keep up with the popular mid-century style design – but at a fraction of the cost!
I hope you find comfort and inspiration from this article: knowing you can find beautiful, sourced furniture second-hand and thrifted. In addition to saving money, it also means taking part in the global movement to achieve more sustainable living by creating a smaller eco-footprint for yourself.
That shopping vintage thrift is cool and helps to not only put money in the hands of small business owners’ pockets, but also keeps it in your own too!
That supporting local means supporting families — that you can do good and feel good too.