Non-Toxic Furniture and Couches

We will take a look at some non-toxic options for sofas, tables, chairs, desks and other household furnishings. Many of the same stores that offer sofas also offer a wide range of other home furnishings. For mattresses and bed frames see my post on mattresses and bedding

Non-Toxic Sofas and Couches


For upholstered furniture you want to look for:


-Natural cushion fill such as natural latex, cotton, down and wool (See my warning about natural latex here. The concerns may be more related to beds because of the moisture that we expel at night, but I can't say for sure)

-No chemical treatments on the fabric (such as stain and water resistant coatings)
-Solid woods 
-Zero or low-VOC glues, stains and varnishes
-No flame retardants 


urbannatural.com
Urban Natural: Start at $1400

They carrry Cisco Inside Green and Essentials collection, see section below on Cisco. Another line they carry is Younger + Co which is a more or less standard sofa.


viesso.com
Viesso: Start at $1300

Their most eco brand STEM, is made with either polyurethane or natural latex,
 0 VOC glues, no FR, fabric options that are all natural, organic or both, solid alder frames, organic cotton internal frame lining.


Urbangreenfurniture: Start at $3400

They carry Cisco's sofas made with the "Inside Green" option. More below.


Cisco Brothers: Start at $2300

Locations throughout the US and Canada. Any of their sofas can be made with the Inside Green option. The Inside Green option contains natural latex or wool, down, certified solid woods, organic fabrics with no toxic treatments, WOCA natural stains, no flame retardants. The more affordable green line is called Essentials Collection which contains hardwood (no plywood, typically alder or maple), polyurethane with soy, cushion with goose feathers & down, water-based wood stains from WOCA. Fabrics are also washed to remove any residual dust or chemicals. (Check to see which WOCA stains they are using if super sensitive, as there is a discrepancy between what Cisco is saying and the SDS sheets).

You can also order online from some of the sellers.


ciscobrothers.com




EcoBalanza: Average price $6800

These handmade, customised sofas are made to last many generations. They use wool, organic cotton, and natural latex with no flame retardants. They use GOTS certified fabrics. They use non-toxic glues and Rubio Monocoat stains. They can use a different finish if the customer is sensitive to Monocaot. They can also accommodate a latex allergy by replacing latex with their other materials.

An option from a mainstream store, are a little less eco but may be good for some:

Pottery Barn Eco Sofa - $2000-$3000

You choose between polyester and down. The down blend is 50% polyester fiber, 45% duck feather, 5% duck down. They don't contain flame retardants and they have organic cotton covers. What's inside may still bother sensitive people such as glues. There is some solid and some engineered wood in here. After emailing the company it sounds like there is no foam in here. For someone not extremely sensitive, on a budget and wanting to avoid both latex and polyurethane, this would be the best option.


If you want a simple wooden bench see my custom made sofa here

If you are too sensitive for wood, or typical couches, you could try a metal daybed from Walmart, IKEA or Amazon and put a mattress of your choosing on it.





Non-Toxic Tables and Chairs: 
Urban Natural

For chairs and tables look for solid wood (with zero-VOC stains and varnishes) and zero or low-VOC adhesives. For some people, the terpenes in wood might not be tolerable. Low odour woods are preferable to pine, cedar and douglas fir for many. Avoid laminated wood, plywood and MDF board.

Many of the same companies above offer green furniture. For example:

Urban Natural use either natural oils and beeswax finish or a zero-VOC water-based catalysed varnish finish. The glues vary by manufacturer. One brand uses a Cradle-to-Cradle certified (toxicity level yellow) glue. 

UrbangreenfurnitureTheir wood furniture is treated with low-VOC stains. They use non-toxic, low-VOC glues.


Viesso - Uses ECOS 0-VOC finishes on non upholstered items, or natural oil and wax finishes. 0-VOC glues.

Vintage or reclaimed wooden furniture might be tolerable for some if you are sure it hasn't been refinished recently with conventional products, and it has not been exposed to chemical cleaning products, smoke, mould, or other chemical substances.





Here are a few ideas for alternatives to wooden furniture:

Glass and metal are generally the safest options. Metal may need to be washed down in order to remove factory oils; powder coated metal is the best option, but all metal finishes become inert quite quickly. Hard plastics are fairly safe and are tolerable for most people. With marble tables keep in mind that a resin is used to fill in the fissures and a sealer is often used as well. There is no data on the VOC levels of those sealants.


Click on pics for links:






You can also find metal furniture at Target, IKEA and other stores. 

You might also want to consider furniture made of rattan and seagrass or consider using outdoor furniture which some people find quite tolerable. 




IKEA always has a good selection of rattan furniture that can look good inside. 

Non-Toxic Desks

Urban Green
Here are a few ideas for desks:

Solid wood desk (pictured) with a low-VOC finish from Urban Green. Solid wood desks from speciality stores tend to be pricey.

Here are some simple (and affordable) options: 

Solid wood, unfinished - Standard glue, but very little used. 

Metal and Glass, there are a few different styles of metal and glass desks on Amazon that are affordable. Look for powder coated metal. 
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18 comments:

  1. Hi - Nice article. It may also be worth noting that the wood finish makes a big difference in emissions. Ask for zero or low VOC wood finishes (many wood finishes can emit formaldehyde, even though solid wood is used). Polyurethane foam is usually OK, if you ensure it is flame retardant free. Also ask for non PFC coated textiles and textiles without antimony (which is a catalyst used in polyester textile).

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    1. Thank you for this information. I anyhow don't want poliester in my life. But, I guess I need to be informed about wood. So much to worry about.

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Both are chrome so yes would consider both to be non-toxic. Wash metal with soap and water for those extremely sensitive.

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  3. You should check out EcoBalanza as a green Sofa maker too!!! My friend just bought beautiful custom stuff from them, and I'm researching but they're not on your list!

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    1. Thanks for the tip. How much did she pay for hers?

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  4. What is the name of the cream 5-pillow sofa above the ciscobrothers.com?
    Great article and thank you!

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  5. So sad... Ekla home closed it's doors. I love my couch from them!

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  6. Check out EcoSelect Furniture. (http://www.ecoselectfurniture.com/) They have great customer service and products with no toxins. I got a sleeper sofa. Locally sourced USA wood. Recycled coil springs. And they have great ratings on FaceBook!

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    1. I wouldn't recommend polyurethane because of the levels of offgassing

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  7. Hi, I am trying to buy a dresser for bedroom. I am very concerned about the chemical smell / formaldehyde with the dresser / drawers. any brand can be recommended? thanks

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  8. Our bedroom furniture from americanecofurniture.com had a formaldehyde free finish and had no smell at all when it arrived. They are made in the US and they are the most beautiful pieces in all our house.

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  9. Loved this article! I would add Quatrine Furniture to the list, as everything is made in the US without formaldehyde and other toxins. The foam is Certi-Pur US, and the sofas are covered in machine washable slipcovers. Prices are comparable to Cisco Brothers.

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    1. Those look like standard couches to me. The only green certification listed is certipur which is really just standard polyurethane which is not non toxic. It does off gas. Any polyurethane could reach that standard. I don't see any steps taken like with the brands listed here.

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  10. I have recently started a blog, the info you provide on this site has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work. House Renovations

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  11. Interesting and amazing how your post is! It Is Useful and helpful for me That I like it very much, and I am looking forward to Hearing from your next.. unique decor

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  12. This will make kind of style lift-up that is way simpler to rearrange if necessary contemporary sofas.

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