Today’s blog post is about sharing ideas to help you be more mindful when approaching room decoration. Specifically about buying furniture or decoration items.
Trying to be better and more ethical with what you buy is a choice, just like reckless spending is a choice. Sure, one choice is more encouraged than the other where we live. Nonetheless Humans have always traded, the problem isn’t trade. The problem is reckless trade and the lack of policy around certain aspects like how to deal with surplus stock, and recycling. This applies for a majority of sectors and also retail. This benefits financially to only a few.
The majority of consumers is often misguided into what the reality of the trade itself is. In the last few years, the hidden cost Fast fashion made headlines. A reckless practice from fashion companies to sell more clothes. By always offer novelties to consumers with clothes that are seen like disposable goods and thrown away after a few wear. This scaled up so much that it is now even blamed for being responsible for 5% of manmade greenhouse gasses emissions increase thus contributing largely to climate change (source). Many governments don’t do enough, and people have taken action by themselves via charities like Friends of the Earth who regularly call out industry malpractices.
I diverge. The thing is… the planet is heating up, plastic waste has become difficult to control and a large majority isn’t doing much about it and are kept powering the brainless consumption habits wagon. This materialises in things such as a retailer selling at Valentine’s Day a plastic packaging of nothing inside (see source) sparking controversy and criticism as wasteful plastic production.
On a positive note, I think many people want to do do something about it, don’t want to spend too much money doing so and don’t know where to start or if it even makes a difference. Answer: It does, it does make a difference.
A few things to keep in mind in your conscious shopping journey:
- Go Vintage: consider buying pre-loved items of good quality and timeless design.
- Look for eco-friendly materials. Materials that are renewable and easily recyclable. Not based on fossil fuels extraction (i.e non-renewable). Wood responsibly sourced, bamboo, fabric made of natural fiber from organic production.
- Look for Reclaimed materials : timber, recycled metal or recycled plastic also called polypropylene.
- Buy Less: Use what you have. That is the best way to save money.
- Prefer local production where possible to minimise long transports which generate CO2 emissions.
- DIY it. There are countless DIY tutorials on internet and here is one, amongst others, I made: making our own flower bed in timber saved us money as we did not need to buy various plastic/metal flower pots as a result.
Here are 5 Things to Think about Before Buying Furniture and Decoration Items which can help you in becoming a more intentional shopper.
About furniture or Decoration Items:
1. Where do I want to put it ? Can it fit ?
Basic you would say, but seriously finding a home for the object you want to buy is the first thing you should think about to avoid it becoming just another clutter item that hides behind a cupboard.
Finding a place for the things you want to buy before buying it means, you will be more likely to use it.
With everyone adopting more and more online shopping to equip their home, checking dimensions of furniture and room measurements has never been so important. You don’t deal with the hassle of returning a big fridge that doesn’t fit the front door…
2. Does it fit with the overall colours of the room I want to use it in ?
We are only humans and sometimes we like shiny bright things “just because” but asking yourself if the object you want to buy fits in your home colour scheme can help you decide if you should buy an item or not. For me, colours create distraction from what I am focusing my headspace on. So I tend to keep my colour-scheme or what people-in-the-know call mood-board to monochromes, neutrals and natural fibres. I am also a High Sensitive Person so having less sensorial triggers is best for me. However if your thing is rainbow colours all the way, you may want to skip this question all-together.
3. Can I resell this easily or will it loose most of it value quickly ?
Things like designer furniture, goods made from quality material, will retain value. Things that were made with cheap material, and that deteriorate rapidly with time, or items that are trendy for a season will not retain their value and selling them will bring you little money. Additionally how we look after items is often an overlooked aspect that matters when you are selling your old furniture or decoration items. Are they spotless clean with no mark of wear and tear? This can represent significant loss and turn away some buyers.
4. What is it Made Of ? Can I Recycle this Easily ?
Materials origin can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint. Knowing timber types comes with experience of handling the material. Wondering about origin of material reconnects us with our basic senses of touch and eyesight. Spending a few minutes inquiring about the make of a product is something I feel many of us forgot to do. I guess buying online where we solely rely on high resolution pictures or video does not help nonetheless online retailers now mention more and more information about the material that a piece of furniture is made of. In doubt send an email, chat to the bot or call for clarifications. Online retailers often keep a trail of customer questions thanks to automation software so if a lot of people ask, for example, if their wood is FSC certified before buying, they will take note of it.
5. Will I like this in 5 years time or is it a trendy item ?
Now that is the difference between timeless design and trendy items. Think about your favourite most expensive jewellery, would you say it is a timeless piece? Perhaps if we looked at things like expensive jewelery we would have less of pretty much everything, yet the best of everything. Food for thoughts… If you want to look for timeless pieces look for monochromes, simple designs that have been around in the last couple of centuries but keep an eye on modern styles as well. Some manufacturers and retailers only sell timeless quality made pieces that would match any home interior. I am no one to say how people should live their lives but for me, I like to have 10-15% of my items to be “trendy”, just for fun, the rest I want it timeless!
And as a conclusion…
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