5 Sustainable Upholstery Fabrics to Consider for Your Home

Sustainable fabrics are becoming increasingly popular as more people look for ways to reduce their environmental impact. Not only are these fabrics better for the planet, but they can also be healthier for you and your family since they don’t contain harmful chemicals or toxins.

Many people are becoming more aware of the many benefits of sustainable fabrics. As stated in a comprehensive research report by Market Research Future (MRFR), the sustainable fabrics market is projected to experience a significant growth rate of 12.50% CAGR and reach a valuation of USD 69.5 billion by 2030.

While sustainable fashion has gained popularity in recent years, sustainable upholstery has yet to receive the same level of attention from consumers. Most consumers prioritize aesthetics and comfort when choosing upholstery for their homes, without considering the environmental impact of the materials used. However, the production of conventional upholstery fabrics often involves harmful chemicals, excessive water usage, and high carbon emissions.

Why You Should Choose Sustainable Upholstery Fabrics

The furniture industry has long relied on conventional upholstery fabrics, such as polyester, leather, vinyl, and acrylic, which have a significant impact on the environment. The production of polyester, which is used in over 60% of upholstery fabrics, is responsible for approximately 706 billion kilograms of carbon emissions annually.

Leather is another popular yet unsustainable upholstery fabric. The leather industry is responsible for the emission of 17kg of CO2 per square meter of leather produced. Don’t think Vinyl is a better alternative. Vinyl, which is commonly used as a cheaper alternative to leather, is not biodegradable and can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. Moreover, the production of vinyl involves the use of toxic chemicals, including phthalates, which are known to have negative impacts on human health and the environment.

Acrylic, another popular upholstery fabric, is produced using fossil fuels and has been found to be a significant contributor to microplastic pollution in oceans and waterways. Conventional upholstery fabrics typically require large amounts of water and energy during the production process, contributing to water scarcity and energy waste.

The negative environmental impact of conventional upholstery fabrics highlights the need for the furniture industry to turn to more sustainable options. Sustainable upholstery fabrics, such as recycled polyester, organic cotton, and linen, are becoming more readily available and offer a more eco-friendly alternative to conventional materials.

The furniture industry can significantly reduce its carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future by switching to sustainable fabrics. Furthermore, as consumer awareness about the environment continues to grow, companies that prioritize sustainability will be better positioned to attract environmentally conscious customers and stay competitive in the market.

In addition to the environmental benefits, sustainable upholstery fabrics also offer advantages in terms of health and safety. Traditional upholstery materials can contain harmful chemicals, such as flame retardants and formaldehyde, which have been linked to health issues such as cancer, respiratory problems, and skin irritation. Sustainable fabrics, on the other hand, are produced using natural materials and are free from toxic chemicals, making them safer and healthier for both consumers and workers.

Several furniture companies have already recognized the importance of sustainability and are leading the way in offering eco-friendly upholstery options. IKEA, the giant Swedish furniture company, has committed to using only renewable and recycled materials in its products by 2030. The company has already introduced sustainable upholstery fabrics made from materials such as recycled polyester and organic cotton.

Consumers also play a critical role in driving the production of sustainable upholstery fabrics. While the furniture industry is beginning to offer more eco-friendly options, consumers must be intentional about choosing sustainable upholstery fabrics to create demand and encourage further production.

By choosing sustainable upholstery fabrics, consumers can help reduce their environmental footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future. As more consumers opt for sustainable options, furniture companies are more likely to prioritize sustainability in their production process. This, in turn, can help drive down the cost of sustainable materials, making them more accessible to a wider range of people.

Sustainable Upholstery Fabrics to Choose From

To make intentional choices about sustainable upholstery fabrics, consumers can look for certifications such as Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which ensure that the materials used are responsibly sourced and produced in an environmentally friendly manner.

Here are some popular sustainable fabrics you should look out for when purchasing upholstery fabrics or products:

  1. Organic Cotton
Organic cotton

Organic cotton is one of the most popular sustainable upholstery fabrics available today. It is made from cotton that is grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or other harmful chemicals. According to the Organic Trade Association, organic cotton production uses 91% less water than conventional cotton and emits 46% less greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, organic cotton farming is better for the health of farmers and their communities since they are not exposed to toxic chemicals.

  1. Linen

Linen is another sustainable upholstery fabric to consider. It is made from the fibers of the flax plant and is known for its durability and natural texture. Linen production requires fewer pesticides and water than conventional cotton and can be grown on marginal land that is not suitable for food crops.

  1. Hemp
Hemp fabric

Hemp is a versatile and sustainable upholstery fabric that is gaining popularity. It is made from the fibers of the hemp plant and requires fewer pesticides and water than conventional cotton. Additionally, hemp can be grown on the same land for many years without depleting the soil.

  1. Recycled Polyester
Recycled Polyester fabric

Recycled polyester is a sustainable upholstery fabric that is made from post-consumer plastic bottles. According to the National Association for PET Container Resources, recycling just one ton of plastic bottles saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 1.54 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

  1. Tencel
Tencel fabric

Tencel is a sustainable upholstery fabric that is made from the fibers of eucalyptus trees. It is known for its softness, durability, and moisture-wicking properties. Tencel production requires less water and energy than conventional cotton and can be produced in a closed-loop system that minimizes waste.

Upholstery Brands Making a Difference: Companies Committed to Sustainability

There are many upholstery brands that are making a difference by prioritizing sustainability in their products and manufacturing processes. By choosing to work with eco-friendly materials and reducing their environmental impact, these companies are leading the way towards a more sustainable future for the furniture industry. Here are just a few examples of upholstery brands making a difference:

  1. Bemz

Bemz is a company that offers sustainable upholstery fabrics that are designed to fit IKEA furniture. Their fabrics include organic cotton, linen, and recycled polyester, and they use eco-friendly manufacturing processes to minimize their impact on the environment. Bemz also has a recycling program for their fabrics, which allows customers to return their old Bemz covers for recycling and receive a discount on their next purchase.

  1. Libeco

Libeco, a Belgian company, has been producing linen fabrics for over 160 years. They are committed to sustainability in all aspects of their business, from using eco-friendly production methods to sourcing their linen from flax growers who practice sustainable farming. Libeco’s linen fabrics are durable and naturally textured, making them a popular choice for sustainable upholstery.

  1. Rawganique

Rawganique offers a range of hemp fabrics, including upholstery fabrics, that are sustainable, organic, and non-toxic. They are committed to using eco-friendly production methods and are transparent about their manufacturing processes. Rawganique also offers a wide range of products, including bedding, clothing, and accessories, all made with sustainable materials.

  1. Revive Fabric

Revive Fabric’s sustainable recycled polyester upholstery fabrics are made from post-consumer plastic bottles. Their closed-loop production process minimizes waste, and they offer a range of fabrics that are suitable for upholstery, drapery, and other home decor applications. Revive Fabric is committed to sustainability and transparency in all aspects of its business.

  1. Altizer

Altizer offers a range of eco-friendly upholstery fabrics made from Tencel, hemp, and organic cotton. They are committed to sustainability and transparency in all aspects of their business and work with mills and factories that share their values. Altizer’s Tencel fabrics are moisture-wicking and durable, making them a great choice for sustainable upholstery.

There are many sustainable upholstery fabrics to choose from, each with its own unique benefits and characteristics. Whether you choose organic cotton, linen, hemp, recycled polyester, or Tencel, you can feel good knowing that you are making a positive impact on the environment