4 Non-Toxic Dining Chairs (Sustainable & Eco-Friendly)

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I did a general roundup of eco-friendly furniture brands a while ago. But after receiving many requests, I’ve decided to drill a bit deeper and look at the best sustainable options for different types of furniture.

I want to start with non-toxic dining chairs to go with your eco-friendly dining table.

Many people are looking for furniture that is free of harmful chemicals, and the dining chairs in this article fit the bill perfectly.

They’re made from sustainable materials and non-toxic coatings/finishes so you can feel good about your purchase.

In this article, I’ll discuss the benefits of non-toxic dining chairs and show you how to choose the right set for your home.

I’ll talk you through the dangers of chairs full of toxic chemicals and introduce you to some safe and stylish alternatives.

Whether you’re looking for something traditional or modern, the perfect non-toxic chair set is out there waiting for you!

The 4 Best Non-Toxic Chairs For Green Gatherings

They Say: The hand-carved frame and natural materiality give The Allen an organic, refined silhouette. Expertly crafted of solid ash wood and paired with tailored upholstery for casual comfort.

We Say: The Allen Dining Chair from Maiden Home is an excellent option if you’re looking for a dining chair that you can customize to your specific taste and pair perfectly with your existing non-toxic dining table.

I’ve used/recommended Maiden Home in the past as a top green furniture brand, which does especially good bed bases, and couches, so when I saw The Allen online, I couldn’t resist giving it a test.

The hand-carved solid ash frame can be refined to match your style by choosing one of the following upholstery options:

  • Merino
  • Performance Melange Weave
  • Performance Linen
  • Performance Velvet
  • Performance Chenille
  • Performance Chevron
  • Performance Textured Linen
  • Performance Tweed
  • Performance Basketweave
  • Performance Textured Tweed
  • Performance Boucle
  • Performance Stonewashed Linen
  • Pebbled Leather
  • Tuscan Leather
  • Mohair
  • Nubuck Leather

Add the different colors into the mix, and you have nearly 80 customizable options.

The price varies depending on your upholstery choices but starts at $485 per chair. That might sound expensive but it represents decent value compared to some of the chairs I’ve tested and rejected.

The solid Ash looks stunning and feels like it would last a lifetime.

I found the cushions offered a really good level of comfort and support, and although I don't normally like chairs with hard backs, these seem to be made at an angle that offers a lot more comfort than most.

You can order up to five fabric swatches for free, so you can get a hands-on feel for the quality and color before ordering.

The Allen ships in 4-6 weeks, and white glove delivery costs $135.

They Say: The Chontales Arm Chair is handcrafted by artisans in Nicaragua from sustainably sourced wood. Featuring a neutral Reynaga pattern. Modern yet timeless, this chair will make a statement in any home.

We Say: I love a good statement piece, and the Chontales Arm Chair is just that.

I’ve used/recommended Made Trade many times in the past. They sell beautiful, handmade products that are sourced ethically.

The Chontales Arm Chair is handmade by Nicaraguan artisans from sustainably sourced local wood.

The neutral handwoven Reynaga pattern looks stunning.

A low-VOC natural oil finish is used, and 100 trees are planted for every order. The Eco-credentials just keep coming!

In terms of usability, these also scored very highly with me. The soft backs made them ideal for reclining with an after-dinner drink and gave me all the support I needed during mealtime as well.

I would also use this chair to work at the table on my laptop for longer periods of time and they offer a really good level of comfort.

This is a pricey chair. However, you get what you pay for with quality furniture. This is a statement piece that would look great in any home.

Free U.S. delivery is available on all orders over $100. You can also return for free in the first 15 days for either a store credit refund or exchange if you’re unhappy with your purchase.

They Say: Coca-Cola and Emeco collaborated to solve an environmental problem: Up-cycling consumer waste into a sustainable, timeless, classic chair. Made of 111 recycled PET bottles, the 111 Navy Chair is a story of innovation.

We Say: The range on offer at Made Trade is so good that they make the list twice in this article!

This time it’s the turn of Emeco's quirky 111 Navy Chair.

I love a good backstory (especially a good sustainability back story), and the Emeco 111 Navy Chair ticks all the boxes.

It’s made from recycled materials. Each chair stops 111 PET bottles from ending up in landfill (or the ocean) and that's something that definitely works for me.

What's more, these chairs are built to last and would look damn good in a funky dining room. Maybe even a set of all different colors?

They're also suitable for outdoor use, so can double up as patio furniture if you're having friends over for some alfresco dining.

I also found them to be surprisingly comfortable. I usually don't enjoy sitting on dining room furniture for long periods, but these chairs were different and I was able to linger for second helpings without my backside going to sleep!

Hands down the best plastic chair on the market for me.

Delivered to your door, free of charge, by a Climate Neutral Certified company. LOVELY STUFF!

They Say: Our beam bench utilizes reclaimed pine logs for a rustic bench. Narrow and backless, the simple lines express the natural texture of the end grain of each species. The 12" x 12" beam is milled and finished to sit on a modern steel base. The beam bench brings primitive beauty. The wood will continue to move and the finish to patina over time.

We Say: The final offering in the article is not actually a dining chair. It is, however, a stunning piece of solid wooden furniture that I simply had to include.

I first became aware of Alabama Sawyer when researching eco-friendly furniture and instantly fell in love with what they make and how they make it.

The Razor Base Beam Bench sums up the whole Alabama Sawyer ethos perfectly. Take a sustainable piece of naturally fallen wood. Add some steel legs. And voila, you have a piece of furniture worthy of any modern dining room.

This is a heavy bench so make sure you have help when moving it around.

Also, due to the weight, there is a hefty delivery fee of $350. However, if you live local to Birmingham, Alabama, and have a big enough truck, you can collect for free

Green Dining Chairs: The Ultimate Buyers Guide

When shopping for your next set of chairs, there are many things to look out for to avoid bringing the unwelcome dinner guests of formaldehyde (and its posse of toxic chemical friends) to the table.

Solid Wood Vs. Engineered Wood

When it comes to wooden chairs, your best bet is to go with solid wood.

This is because engineered wood products (like MDF, particle board, and plywood) often contain formaldehyde-based adhesives. These adhesives can off-gas over time, exposing you and your family to harmful chemicals.

On the other hand, solid wood furniture doesn’t have any adhesives holding it together. It’s also less likely to off-gas in general since wood is a naturally stable material.

Other Materials

The best dinner chairs are usually made from wood. However, other options are available. Such as:

Coatings And Finishes

Many conventional chairs are coated with harmful chemicals that release VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air over time.

When you’re shopping for non-toxic chairs, be sure to look for products that contain low-VOC or zero-VOC finishes.

Some safe and non-toxic finishes to look for include:

  • Water-based polyurethane
  • Natural oils (linseed oil is my favorite) and waxes
  • Unfinished wood that you can treat yourself with non-toxic paint or zero-VOC finish.

Fabrics

If you’re looking for upholstered chairs, pay close attention to the fabrics. Many conventional fabrics are treated with harmful chemicals like flame retardants and stain repellents.

These chemicals also off-gas over time, so when you’re shopping for upholstered chairs, be sure to look for sustainable fabrics, such as:

  • Organic cotton
  • Linen
  • Hemp

Seat Cushions

In addition to paying attention to the fabrics, you’ll also want to ensure the seat cushions are made from safe materials.

Look out for options such as:

Certifications

Just like CertiPUR-US and GOLS, seeing one or more of the following respected third-party certifications on your new non-toxic chairs gives you added peace of mind that things like sustainable business practices, zero-VOC glues, and zero-VOC stains have been used.

  • 1% For The Planet
  • Certified B Corporation (B Corp)
  • Fair Trade Certified
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
  • Formaldehyde Free
  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
  • GREENGUARD
  • MADE SAFE
  • OEKO-TEX
  • Responsible Down Standard
  • Responsible Wool Standard
  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative
  • Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC)

Find out more about these and much more in our ultimate guide to eco-certifications here.

Electromagnetic Fields

As mentioned in my article Metal Vs Wooden Bed Frame: Which Is Right For You, some people suffer adverse health when exposed to electromagnetic fields (EMF).

So if you have your heart set on metal chairs and want an extra level of protection, look for chairs that are EMF-shielded or have low EMF emissions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Pottery Barn Furniture Really Non-Toxic?

I did not test anything from Pottery Barn so can’t comment on where they stand in the table of non-toxic furniture brands.

However, they offer plenty of non-toxic and eco-friendly options. Look for their ’CERTIFIED NON-TOXIC’, ’SUSTAINABLY SOURCED’, and ’THIS PURCHASE PLANTS A TREE®’ labels.

Does IKEA Furniture Contain Formaldehyde?

According to this PDF, “IKEA puts a lot of effort and resources in lowering formaldehyde emissions, targeting the glue used when producing wood-based products. This work also comprises improved material sourcing and production techniques. Further, IKEA works closely with their suppliers to continually improve and implement quality routines and procedures”. 

Can You Remove Formaldehyde From Furniture?

It’s often not feasible to remove formaldehyde from furniture because it’s usually in the glue that holds it together.

However, you can reduce some of the effects of off-gassing by following the tips in this article.

Does All Furniture Have Prop 65 Warning?

No, not all non-toxic furniture has a Prop 65 warning.

Only products that contain formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity are required to have this warning label.

Why No Metal Dining Chair Options?

None of the metal chairs I tested were up to scratch. I’ll keep looking/testing and update this article as soon as I find a worthy contender.

Does Alabama Sawyer Make Bedroom Furniture?

They do a small range of storage units, but not bedroom-specific furniture. However, they can make bespoke pieces to specific requirements if you ask.

The Final Word

There you have it! A comprehensive guide to choosing the perfect non-toxic chairs for your green home.

Remember, when you’re shopping for non-toxic chairs, be sure to look for products that are made from solid wood, have low-VOC or VOC-free finishes, and are upholstered with sustainable fabrics.

You’ll also want to ensure the seat cushions are made from natural materials.

By following these simple tips, you can be sure you’re choosing a safe and stylish set of non-toxic chairs for your dining room…and keeping the toxic chemicals (and indoor air pollution) to a minimum.

Get In Touch

Where do you buy your non-toxic furniture? Do you prefer traditional solid woods? Or are you more of a recycled plastic kind of person?

Do you pay as much attention to the eco-credentials of chairs as you do for dining tables? Or are you ok with standard furniture and chemical fire retardants? Drop me a line and let me know.

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James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.
James Miller
James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.

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