One of the most used pieces of furniture in any home is the sofa, and for many of us, it's where we spend many of our waking hours each day.
Sofas take up a lot of space and are often used heavily, so it’s essential to find one that’s sustainable and made with environmentally friendly materials.
Is your sofa eco-friendly? Is there anything you can do to make it more sustainable?
Later in this article, I’ll discuss what to look for in your next eco-friendly sofa and also point out some pitfalls to avoid.
But, first, I’d like to talk you through my favorite sustainable sofa options.
They Say: This Organic Daisy Sectional Sofa is made from natural or organic wool, natural or organic latex, and coconut coir handcrafted in California, designed by and exclusively sold at The Futon Shop. No harmful chemicals, only nature’s best.
We Say: The best eco-friendly sofas, like mattresses, are full of sustainable organic materials, and the Daisy from The Futon Shop is hands down the best organic sofa I’ve tested.
It’s incredibly comfortable, looks great, and is full of organic materials.
The sofa is made in the USA from organic wool, latex, and coconut coir, sourced from sustainable farms.
The wood used in the frame is also FSC-certified, meaning it comes from well-managed forests.
However, all this does not come cheap. But if you’re looking for the organic sofa currently for sale in the U.S., this is it!
And they’ve knocked it out of the park again with this awesome sofa!
The firmness is fully customizable. You can choose from the following options:
Some assembly is necessary with this sofa. But it’s super easy. You can find the assembly instructions here.
Free U.S. shipping is available, and the lead time is around two weeks. Or you can collect for free from one of the following The Futon Shop stores:
They Say: Versatile Comfort: The Ludlow is comfortable enough for Sunday cartoons yet polished enough for entertaining. Traditional Craftsmanship: Topstitched seams complete the tailored look. Hand-Tufted Perfection: The Ludlow’s hand-tufted back gives a nod to traditional style on a modern silhouette.
The Ludlow is one of those sofas that are just as comfortable as they look. It’s perfect for entertaining but also great for relaxing at home. The hand-tufted back is a nice touch, and the topstitched seams give it a polished look.
The best part about the Ludlow is its vast array of customizable options. You can choose from 73 fabrics and leather, four finishes, and eight sizes.
Have you ever bought a sofa, only for the fabric to look completely different once in your home? Maiden Home have you covered there too!
You can order up to five swatches of their fabrics, and they’ll send them right to your door, for free, within one week. Before committing to a purchase, you can then test out the fabric and be 100% sure it matches your other furniture and decor.
Maiden Home is a woman-owned company that produces all its furniture from scratch in North Carolina to minimize waste and maximize quality. They purchase solid hardwood responsibly in accordance with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative’s standards, and their cushion cores (which are verified by CertiPUR-US) are produced from renewable soy-based foam.
Also, whenever feasible, water-based, low-VOC glues and stains are used.
White glove delivery costs $95, and the lead time for orders is 9-11 weeks.
If you’re looking for a new sofa, I highly recommend checking out The Ludlow from Maiden Home. It’s comfortable, stylish, and customizable. What more could you ask for?
They Say: This classic Slipcovered Eco Linen Sofa offers a chic green twist on a traditional style. Constructed from sustainably sourced materials, it is a sure cut above the rest. The beautiful linen slipcover offers the perfect backdrop to whimsical and bold throw pillows. This piece is a good decision for the environment and an even better decision for your decor.
We Say: You know what they say, go big or go home. And with a price tag of over $5k, this sofa had better be big.
I’m happy to report that it is. I reckon this bad boy could seat up to six people. Making it perfect for movie night or game day.
Plus, the slipcover is machine-washable (using eco-friendly laundry detergent on a cold cycle), so you can keep it looking fresh and new for years to come.
This lovely sofa comes in ten different colors (all dyed using chemical-free dyes):
And you can order free swatches so you can test the fabric at home before ordering.
This sofa is made in collaboration with LEE Industrie (a founding member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC), so you can rest assured that you’re getting a couch with a serious eco pedigree.
All U.S. orders qualify for free white glove delivery, and the lead time for orders is approximately ten weeks.
I also love the VivaTerra values system. It lets you see all the eco-friendly credentials of the product you’re viewing at a glance.
They Say: Masaya & Co. embodies end-to-end sustainability in its responsibly harvested wood furniture. Founded initially as a reforestation project in Managua, Nicaragua, Masaya & Co. later grew into a sustainable furniture brand dedicated to timeless design, artisan craftsmanship, and sustainability of our planet’s resources.
We Say: I’ve been a fan (and a returning customer) of Made Trade for many years.
Since starting work on TheRoundup, I’ve used/recommended them for a wide range of quality products, including:
They hand pick the world’s most sustainable brands and products to sell on their website. If it’s on Made Trade, you can rest assured that it’s sustainable.
The Japon Sunbrella Sofa is one of my favorite pieces from Masaya & Co., sold by Made Trade. It’s currently taking pride of place on my covered back porch. Perfect for winding down at night and watching the sunset.
The sofa is handmade by artisans in Nicaragua using sustainable wood and Sunbrella fabric.
Sunbrella is a leader in performance fabrics and is perfect for outdoor furniture as it’s resistant to water, stains, fading, and mildew.
It’s also super easy to clean. Just wipe it down with eco-friendly soap and water.
This sofa comes in four wood options (Teak, Mahogany, Burnt Teak, Arena Teak), all protected by a low-VOC natural oil finish.
One thing to bear in mind. The Teak option is the only one Masaya & Co. say is suitable for outdoor use.
Masaya & Co. plants 100 trees in Nicaragua for every product sold to help combat deforestation in the region.
Made Trade is Climate Neutral Certified and offers free carbon-neutral shipping on all U.S. orders over $100.
They Say: Vintage mid-century bamboo rattan daybed chaise lounges, circa 1965. Hand-crafted in the California organic modern style. The rattan frames are structurally solid, and have absolutely no flaws or imperfections. The original finish on the hardwood has no blemishes or wear to the surface. The springs are in excellent condition. Ready for installation, and requires no reconditioning.
We Say: I just love Etsy! It’s one of my favorite zero waste stores. I’ve used/recommended numerous products from many Etsy artisan sellers in the past, and I see no reason to stop now!
You can get some exceptional, unique, one-off pieces. Just like this quirky chaise lounge sofa platform made from rattan and bamboo.
You’ll need to buy some cushions to use with the platform. The seller recommends a 72” x 30” cushion for each platform…or even a twin mattress.
You’ll need to contact the seller before purchase to get a shipping quote. Or you can collect for free from Madison, WI.
Is the minimalist look of this not to your liking? How about these options instead:
I think you'll love them both!
Etsy has so much choice that there’s bound to be something to tickle your fancy.
The beauty of buying vintage or secondhand is that you’re reusing and giving new life to a sofa that was potentially heading to landfill.
Also, most of the VOC off-gassing happens when a sofa is new. So, by buying a couch from the 1930s, for example, you can be pretty confident that it’s fully off-gassed by the time it reaches your living room.
Etsy is my go-to for all things reclaimed, vintage, and upcycled furniture. However, another excellent option for secondhand sofas (and furniture in general) is AptDeco.
One of the most significant clues as to whether or not a sofa is eco-friendly is the materials used in its construction.
There are numerous things to consider when looking at materials used in sofa production:
Try to avoid unsustainable materials made from fossil fuels (such as polyester and plastic).
Some of the more sustainable materials used in sofa construction include:
Also, keep your eyes peeling for sofas made in the USA. This supports local manufacturers and reduces the environmental impact of shipping around the world
Looking out for well-known and respected eco-certifications can help you avoid greenwashing and give you added peace of mind that the eco-friendly couches you’re browsing are really as green as you think.
Some of the best include:
Sustainable materials are a must. But so are ethical business practices.
It’s not very green to buy a sofa made from sustainable materials manufactured using polluting methods and forced or child labor.
Look for sustainable sofa brands and manufacturers with a strict code of ethics across their entire supply chain.
Ethical businesses will:
This is where eco-certifications are your best friend again. They help give you added peace of mind that your new sofa is as ethical as it can be.
Some to look out for include:
Just like in rugs, flooring, paint, sofa beds, and furniture in general, many of the harsh chemicals used in the production of sofas (sealants, glues, coatings, protective sprays, flame retardants, etc.) off-gas potentially harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) into your home.
The EPA reports that VOC levels can be between two and five times higher inside your home than outside.
Sustainable sofas contain fewer chemicals and can help reduce VOC levels in your home.
Some of the chemicals found in less sustainable sofas include:
I discuss these chemicals in detail in my How to Speed Up Mattress Off-Gassing: 11 Expert Tips article.
Sustainable products are usually more expensive than mass-produced alternatives. Eco-friendly materials simply cost more to produce. This also applies to organic sofas.
However, if you shop around for discounts or trawl the thrift stores/websites, there are still good value organic sofas to be found.
I’ve not tested Ikea for this article as I wanted to concentrate on smaller producers. However, I see that all Ikea couches manufactured after January 1, 2015, are made without chemical flame retardants, which is an excellent step on the non-toxic journey.
I’ve not tested Burrow for this article as I wanted to concentrate on smaller producers. However, it does appear to be a brand working on its green credentials.
For example, all Burrow foam cushions are made with minimal VOCs and free of flame retardants, phthalates, ozone depleters, formaldehyde, and heavy metals.
I’ve not tested West Elm for this article as I wanted to concentrate on smaller producers.
However, all of West Elm’s wooden furniture (including sofa frames) appear to be GREENGUARD Gold certified and free of fire retardants.
This is a difficult question to answer. How much is your peace of mind worth?
If you’re willing to pay a little extra for a product that is better for the environment (and potentially your family’s health), then yes, eco-friendly sofas are definitely worth it.
Furniture is responsible for approximately 10% of a home’s environmental footprint. So, with our sofa being a key component of our home’s furniture lineup, we must take its eco-friendly credentials seriously.
When it comes to eco-friendly sofas, make sure the frame is made of sustainable materials and that the cushions are filled with natural fiber stuffing or recycled foam.
You also want to choose a sofa with a good environmental rating, so keep an eye out for reputable eco-certifications.
It’s also worth stretching your budget as far as you can to get a quality sofa that will last you decades. Avoiding replacing cheap disposable furniture every few years is a crucial factor in sustainability.
With this in mind, you should only look to replace your old sofa once it’s reached the end of its usable life. If it’s still in good condition, consider keeping it a bit longer, selling or donating it to someone who can give it a second life.
There are plenty of eco-friendly sofa options on the market these days, so there’s no need to sacrifice style for sustainability.
Take your time choosing the right one for you and your home. Your future self will thank you for it.
Where do you buy your eco-friendly sofas? Have I missed your favorite brand making killer sofas with eco-friendly materials?
Are you ahead of games and already chilling on a sofa made from natural materials and recycled water bottles? Drop me a line and let me know.