Reupholster for a new green lease of life

Issue 12 Words: Fiona Rutkay

Instead of buying new, reupholster your old sofa with the latest environmentally friendly fabrics and give it a new, green lease on life.

Instead of replacing that old sofa, why not reupholster it  with the latest environmentally friendly fabrics and give it a new, green lease on life?

How many times have you seen a cheap sofa that has not stood the test of time lying on the sidewalk waiting to be picked up by the hard rubbish collectors?

It’s unlikely you’ll see a solidly built timber sofa reduced to such a demeaning end. That’s because timber is the best and most sustainable furnishing material you can find – as long as the timber is FSC certified or reclaimed and recycled – and it’s a material that’s easily repaired.

While a new responsibly sourced timber piece will cost more upfront, it’s more than worth it in the long run. Timber is more robust than ubiquitous contemporary furnishing materials such as MDF or particle board, and is less likely to contain off-gassing adhesives and binders. Timber is a renewable resource, and it can last for generations with the right care. And quality timber pieces will increase their value over time.

But even the best cared for timber furniture needs to be revitalised and reupholstered from time to time.

Reupholster with green fabrics

Green upholsterers are hard to find, but most upholsterers will be able to upholster with sustainable materials given clear guidelines. Choose a recommended upholsterer willing to give green upholstery a try; then advise them about the environmentally friendly materials you’d like used for the job.

Cotton, linen, hemp and wool are obvious green choices for fabrics, but they may not be as environmentally friendly as you think.

For the greenest upholstery fabric of all, look around for second-hand or vintage fabrics. You could also try some of the interesting design ideas that Jessica Nixon of økologi has noticed recently, such as using linen tea towels to create a patchwork effect, or re-covering small pieces, like ottomans, with the good sections of worn out kilims.

More information on upholstering

The following suppliers carry eco ranges and some are GECA accredited. Ask the company or check on their website for textiles grown and manufactured in Australia.

  • Cloth Fabrics – Specialises in hemps
  • Duckcloth – Online store with organic hemp and cotton range
  • Hemptech – Produces domestic and commercial linen and hemp, and bespoke textiles
  • Publisher Textiles – Specialises in handprinted, water-based inks on natural fibres
  • Sustainable Living Fabrics – Sells commercial-grade GECA accredited fabrics, specialising in eco wools

 

 

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Cover of Issue 12
You can read more about Reupholster for a new green lease of life in Issue 12 of Sanctuary magazine.

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Sanctuary: modern green homes is Australia’s premier magazine dedicated to sustainable home design. More...

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Many greywater systems are low-cost, easy to use and can feed your garden with a regular supply of water.

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