Lately it seems like everyone has been jumping on the green trend, whether it’s using eco-friendly cleaning products, choosing paperless post, or even having a green pregnancy! While eco-conscious initiatives are taking over the public mentality, the concept of “green furniture” is one that may not yet be on your Save the World checklist. We spoke to the experts over at SofaSale for some tips on how to implement green initiatives when it comes to your furniture – yes, it is a thing!
Can you tell us more about the concept of “Green Furniture” and why it’s important, especially in Hong Kong? Green furniture is wide and diverse. It can be as complex as innovators like the French Designer Jean Marie Massaud creating an indoor Green Vegetation Island or as simple as using environmentally-friendly, recycled materials. At SofaSale, we’ve been inspired by the idea of finding high quality wood in China. Recycled wood carries the right character and after treatment we can re–use the wood to craft eye-catching furniture pieces. We collect and recycle a lot of this wood in the traditional village houses in China, and re-make it into everything from dining tables to cupboards to bed frames.
What are some types of “Green Furniture” and where can they be sourced? There are many types of Green Furniture. The latest trend is upcycling, which is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. An easy and cost efficient way of upcycling furniture is to look for secondhand furniture. In Hong Kong there are many marketplaces, both small stores and online sellers. Hand it over to a handyman or roll up your sleeves, put on your gloves and DIY. A simple re–paint job of an old cabinet can work miracles.
What are the best ways to recycle furniture at home? When you’re buying furniture for a new apartment, think ahead to how long your lease is and when you might need to move again. Can you take this furniture with you into your next apartment? For example, when you buy an L-shaped sofa, can the L-shape easily switch from right to left? Sometimes you can combine a 3-seater sofa with an ottoman to create the Chaise lounge function, but keep the flexibility of different sofa configurations.
Secondly, look for sofas with removable/replaceable cover sheets; in this way you can replace the cover of the sofa, without being forced to replace the complete sofa. Just be aware that a small accident with a glass of red wine or an overactive cat may force you to change your covers quicker than the lifespan of your sofa.
Finally, consider secondhand furniture before buying new pieces! In Hong Kong, you can buy nice pieces from secondhand markets and with a brief touch up or redecoration you can give them a second life, saving the pieces from being buried into the growing Hong Kong landfill.
Refurbish old furniture and optimise space
What are the best ways of optimising floor efficiency? How can these steps help those who have smaller HK homes? In Hong Kong we are all dealing with the same interior problem; our living space in general is too small to support all our living space wishes. In order to deal with this, we suggest optimising your floor efficiency, which means making use of every tiny little space available, and filling it with economical furniture pieces.
It always starts with planning: draw your layout to scale on paper and find out the maximum dimensions of your key furniture pieces, like sofas, tables and cabinets. Search for retailers who offer the furniture pieces in the same dimensions, or opt for a retailer who can support customisation. Secondly, if needed, look for double functions in the furniture: use storage inside the sofa, or a sofa that doubles as a bed. Use a bench next to your table, instead of individual chairs, to host more people at you table and use less space.
How can you recycle / refurbish furniture without sacrificing style? Think outside the box – use a new finish, which will be recognised by everyone, but is not directly linked to “traditional” furniture. In this way you both make a green statement and create a unique furniture piece outside the norm. At SofaSale we’ve developed a recycled jeans program for a leading jeans retailer: “Go Green, recycle your Blues”. Through this, customers donate their old jeans back to the store, from which we produce a new sofa for them.
Go Green, recycle your Blues campaign
What are some top tips for furniture shopping in HK, and picking pieces best suited to optimising your space?
Re‐think buying new or secondhand!
Decide on your timeline – how long can you effectively use these furniture pieces in the current set up? Are they flexible enough to move to your next apartment / home?
Study your layout and make a plan to fit in economical furniture pieces. Do not hesitate to consult retailers and ask for their advice, and opt for tailor-made furniture solutions.
Last but not least, ensure the furniture can be delivered to your house. Does it fit in your elevator? You’d be surprised to know how many cases we encounter of larger sofas and tables being stuck at the entrance of a high-rise!