Antiques aren’t just attractive heirlooms. Using them is another way to reduce the impact on the environment. Shanon found a vintage coffee table at a Maryland antiques dealer. In the bedroom she had an antique slipper chair recovered.
Another good idea is to look for returns and floor samples. The blue wool carpet in the living room was made in the wrong color. Shanon snatched up the mistake from the showroom. The two crystal bedside lamps and the dressing table in the bedroom are floor samples from Brunschwig & Fils. Items such as these are good for your home’s indoor air quality because they have been off-gassing for a while.
Beyond saving the planet, think about this: You can lessen the impact on your bank account. “You’re getting a deal for used stuff that is still new to you,” Shanon explains. “This is recycling at its most basic.”
Choose plant- and animal-based fabrics over synthetic materials. Leather is a great choice for its durability and long life. There are different grades of leather (bonded, split grain, top grain, and full grain), so research before shopping to choose the best grade for your lifestyle and budget.
- Buy floor samples. This is a great way to find used furniture. Plus, you’ll pay less.
- Use low-VOC paints. “It’s so easy. You’re not sacrificing a thing. You don’t have to change your color selections. You’re just specifying a different kind of paint,” says Shanon.
- When buying furniture, opt for American hardwoods. Nearly twice as much hardwood grows each year as is harvested in the U.S., according to the American Hardwood Information Center. The volume of hardwoods in American forests today is 90% larger than it was 50 years ago. For more information visit www.hardwoodcouncil.com.
- Choose quality items that you can refurbish and refinish over time. “People are hasty. They run to a discount store and get a bookcase that’s not going to last. They think they’re getting a better deal,” Shanon says. “Purchase a quality piece. Think of furniture as an investment.”
"Lasting Elegance" is from the May 2008 issue of Southern Living.