Sustainable furniture design: better living in the future

Everything you need to know about sustainable furnishing trends and the most important labels and certificates in the furniture industry.

Sustainable living with Thonet furniture

Better living with sustainable furniture trends

Sustainability is everywhere: in the supermarket, in the wardrobe and, slowly, in the furniture store. As furniture become ever more like clothing with ever furnishing trends awakening ever new desires, from the coffee table to the new kitchen lamp, the question of environmental sustainability naturally arises. And while many pay attention to good quality and durability when buying furniture, criteria such as organic, eco and fair are often neglected in this area. The furniture industry offers various options for planning an all-round sustainable furnishing concept. If you orient yourself towards eco-labels and follow some “green” principles, not only the environment benefits, but also your own attitude towards life: for many the apartment, house and garden are the most important retreat and a comfort zone par excellence.

5 eco trends to embrace  

When shopping you often have to decide whether to purchase the products of organic or conventional production? Many big brands already offer products with eco-certification or, for example, rely on recycling for packaging, and increasingly consumers are critical, buy consciously and, if in doubt, prefer to do without than harm the environment. What possibilities are there to counter the impending climate crisis and actively work for an environmentally friendly future? We are confident that these eco-trends have potential:

1. Buy regional
One of the main causes of global warming is the continuously increasing global CO2 emissions. A relatively simple means of reducing this is to focus on shorter transport routes through regional production. When buying furniture, the same applies as to apples, eggs, potatoes, etc.: Products produced closer to you are are generally better for the environment than those imported goods from far off continents.

2. Conserve resources
Consumption always means the consumption of resources. Starting with the energy for production, through the material consumption for the packaging, through to transport to the shelf. Many companies therefore rely on resource conservation in production: Quality furniture is often made from renewable raw materials such as FSC-certified wood, bamboo or recycled plastic. Clever constructions also enable reduced packing dimensions and thus economical packaging.

3. Demand durability
One of the cornerstones of sustainability of sustainability is product that can be used for many years or even decades; however of late a negative trend of products, especially in the electrical sector, which are deliberately made to be finite and break after a few years has established itself. Fortunately, more and more quality manufacturers are now taking a stand against this planned obsolescence and are instead offering high-quality materials, modularity, spare parts and extended warranties. Good products last and appeal for a long time - and like real design classics are made to last
4. Upcycling
While new raw materials are obtained through recycling, many materials that are no longer required can be converted directly into new products through upcycling. The DIY trend is particularly popular when it comes to furnishing, and always provides exciting impulses in furniture design: old wood is built into new furniture, lacquered records become the basis for watches or a collection of old leather belts becomes a unique carpet.  
5. Consume consciously
Even if we wanted to, we can't live entirely without consumption. Sometimes you can't avoid purchasing - and especially when it comes to furnishings, every now and then the longing for change is too strong to resist. Regional production and sustainable use of materials are good parameters for an environmentally friendly purchase decision; however, the most important questions for conscious consumption are and remain: Do I really need the product? And will I enjoy it for a long time?

Less is more: sustainability through minimalism?

What does sustainability mean? The ubiquitous term is primarily associated with the topics of environmental protection, recycling and longevity. In general, however, the phenomenon means a principle of action for the use of resources. Sustainability is lived in our modern society in very different ways: If you think of fair fashion and second-hand clothing, car sharing, organic food, zero-waste cosmetics and the regional production of furniture, practically all areas of life can be designed sustainably . One thing is always in the foreground, namely conserving resources or (re)using materials in an intelligent way.

And so sustainability relies on less instead of more - just like minimalism.....? In contrast to the principle of sustainable production in context of products or resources, minimalism is an individual lifestyle choice and relates to the handling of one's own property. The reduction of one's own household is a conscious renouncement of consumption, which is usually also reflected in the furnishings: Minimalists live simply and free from superfluous things. Furniture, decoration and everyday objects are limited to the essentials. Minimalism is always sustainable insofar as both approaches aim at reduction and renunciation and make a conscious handling of the things that surround us a premise.

Thonet chair

Fair living, but properly - the most important labels, seals and certificates for sustainable furniture


From shampoo bottles to e-cars, our everyday lives are full of green alternatives. After all, the megatrend also has great economic potential. Despite all the love for the environment, consumers should always be well informed, not least because there is often more greenwashing behind the green philosophy of some companies than truly sustainable innovations. In the food sector, the labelling is relatively transparent thanks to the two large organic seals, beauty items have a natural cosmetics label, and there is even an official label for vegan products. When buying furniture, the situation is not always so clear, but here too there are some eco-labels that offer a solid basis for decision-making:

Blauer Engel

The Blaue Engel - Blue Angel - has been awarded in Germany since 1978. The seal certifies particularly environmentally friendly products or services. Furniture with the Blue Angel is characterized by its low-emission production, for example with wood from sustainable forestry. In addition, furniture with the seal is harmless to health, i.e. free from harmful solvents, formaldehyde, plasticizers an similar substances.

blauer engel

PEFC Council

Similar to the FSC seal the PEFC is a mandate for sustainable forest management. The Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes is an international forest certification system designed to guarantee ecological, social and economic standards on the basis of a standardised self-assessment by the forest managers. In addition furniture made from PEFC wood also represents a particularly responsible use of raw materials.


In addition to labelling in the food sector, Naturland also certifies wood from ecological forestry. Naturland stands for the strictest criteria in terms of sustainable forestry. In addition to wood products made from Naturland-certified wood, the seal also recognizes responsible supply chains.

Naturland logo

GS Zeichen

The GS seal offers guaranteed, tested product safety. Furniture, toys, lights and various other everyday objects are tested by an independent body. In contrast to the CE marking, this is a voluntary specification by the manufacturer.

GS Siegel


The Öko-Control seal of approval was created especially for products made from renewable raw materials, such as wood and cotton. Products such as wooden and upholstered furniture, as well as mattresses and bedding, are checked for harmful substances. It is a voluntary commitment by organic retailers and stands for high standards and products that are as free from harmful substances as possible.

Öko Control


One of the best-known labels for textiles and textile products is OEKO-TEX. In addition to quality and freedom from harmful substances, the social standards in the production facilities and the environmental aspects in the manufacturing process are also checked. ÖEKO-TEX certification is particularly common in clothing but increasingly also in context of home textiles and upholstery fabrics for upholstered furniture.

Oeko tex


Sustainably produced textiles and textile products are awarded the GOTS seal in both the clothing and home textiles sectors. In addition to very strict ecological criteria, the Global Organic Textile Standard also ensures that social responsibility and environmental management requirements are met during production.


Golden M

As a seal of approval from the German Furniture Association (DGM), the Golden M distinguishes furniture that meets strict criteria in terms of quality, safety and health as well as environmental protection. Above all, durability, stability and manufacturing quality as well as pollutant emissions are tested.

Goldenes M

SA8000 Standard

Fair and safe working conditions, among other criteria, are controlled via the Social Accountability Standard SA8000. The seal is awarded to socially responsible companies that conscientiously pursue compliance with human rights in the workplace. Decisive for the examination are, for example, the subjects of child labour, forced labour, occupational safety and the right to freedom of assembly and collective bargaining. The company must strive to continuously improve social standards.

SAI Siegel


The BSCI seal is primarily used to monitor socially just working conditions in production facilities in emerging and developing countries. Dealers and importers whose products are certified by the Business Social Compliance Initiative are demonstrably committed to compliance with social standards in their supply chains.

SCI Siegel


It should always be remembered that all certificates and seal involve costs. Small businesses are often unable to finance these fees, which are sometimes incurred annually. However, that does not mean that the product quality is worse. On the contrary, the carpenter around the corner may even work more sustainably. And as a rule, furniture manufacturers who employ short transport routes and small team tend to operate in a socially sustainable manner.

FSC Seal

For wooden furniture, the FSC label of the international non-profit organization Forest Stewardship Council is the eco-seal par excellence. Founded to ensure sustainable forest use, the FSC developed standard criteria for maintaining and improving the economic, ecological and social functions of forest operations. FSC furniture comes from environmentally friendly and socially responsible forestry.

Gubi Lounge Chair manufacturing
Skagerak daybed otdoor

Eco and fair: the top 3 sustainable furnishing tips

While sustainability is an established component of everyday life in many areas, when furnishing an apartment the motto “eco and fair” is rarely heard. Furniture is always relatively expensive, so it is automatically a long-term purchase. And while, yes, durable materials and robust manufacture are sustainable per se there are even more furnishing tips for an environmentally friendly lifestyle. A clear conscience is guaranteed to come via:

Restore Muuto storage box

1. Sustainable materials

Furniture made of wood is generally considered to be environmentally friendly, but there are materials that have a particularly good ecological balance. When buying look out for PEFC or FSC-certified wood from local forests, furniture made from fast-growing bamboo or recycled plastics .

Vitra Lounge Chair

2. Timeless style

Manufacturers such as Vitra and USM rely on timelessness instead of short-lived trends in their furniture designs. We recommend not to blindly follow every hype, but always to consider before buying whether the style will also be enjoyable in the long term and whether the piece of furniture fits your existing or growing space.

FSC certified

3. Responsible production

When manufacturing furniture question arise not only about the material, but also about the place of manufacture and the production conditions. The Bavarian furniture manufacturer Nils Holger Moormann produces 100 percent of its wood designs within a radius of 40 kilometres. In terms of social sustainability, only local specialist workshops are included in production. While Thonet Thonet still produces Bauhaus classics using old manufacturing methods at firms long established base in central Germany.

Vitra sustainable furnishings

The organic apartment - How we (could) live in the future

Not just furniture, but entire houses can become an organic project. Energy-efficient insulation, eco-friendly building materials and green roofs are no longer a dream of the future. Anyone who already lives in such an "organic apartment" can think even further about the vision of an all-round sustainable life, for example with LED solar lamps, vegetables from their own raised beds and pollutant-free paints and varnishes. For a future worth living in, our living philosophy must also be sustainable.

Muuto Cover Chairs
Pyramid Table
Chair 209/210
String Furniture