How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint With Vintage and Upcycled Furniture

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint With Vintage and Upcycled Furniture

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint With Vintage and Upcycled Furniture


Decorating your home with vintage and upcycled furniture is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint. By reusing and repurposing old furniture, you prevent those items from being disposed of in landfills. You also avoid the carbon emissions associated with manufacturing and transporting new furniture. In this article, I will provide tips on finding, refurbishing, and incorporating vintage and upcycled pieces into your home decor.

Finding Vintage and Upcyclable Furniture

Check Local thrift Stores and Consignment Shops

Your local thrift stores and consignment shops are great places to uncover hidden vintage gems. Take your time browsing to find solid wood pieces that have good bones but need a little TLC. Inspect items closely for quality construction and fixable flaws. High quality older furniture is built to last using real wood joinery and durable fabrics. With some restoration work, these discarded pieces can become statement pieces.

Look on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace

Scour Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for free or cheap vintage furniture being given away or sold by local residents. Search using terms like “vintage,” “antique,” “retro,” or the name of a decade. Be prepared to pick up heavy pieces yourself or pay delivery fees. The bargains are worth it for quality items that just need cleaning or minor repairs.

Visit Estate Sales and Auctions

Estate sales and auctions often have vintage and antique furniture being sold off. Arrive early for the best selection. Examine pieces closely for damage. Check drawers and undersides for signs of woodworm or other pests. Minor issues can be fixed through refurbishing. Pay attention to pricing and don’t overbid.

Check Architectural and Decor Salvage Stores

Stores like Habitat for Humanity ReStores sell salvaged building materials, including vintage wood furniture and decor. The inventory is varied and changes often. Shop frequently to find hidden gems. Stores like these keep used house parts out of landfills.

Refurbishing and Restoring Finds

Clean Stained or Dirty Surfaces

Clean stained, dusty or dirty surfaces using naturalmethods. For wood, use a mild dish soap and water solution. For upholstery, sprinkle baking soda, let sit briefly, then vacuum. This lifts dirt without chemicals. Use a vinegar and water mix to clean glass or metal surfaces.

Repair Loose Joints and Refinish Surfaces

Make repairs to loose joints, broken legs or damaged wood surfaces. Use wood glue and clamps to resecure joints. Patch holes with wood filler. Sand down rough spots and refinish wood surfaces with stains or oils to protect the wood. Retouch painted finishes or give a updated color makeover.

Reupholster or Replace Seat Cushions

Reupholster worn upholstery using eco-friendly fabrics like cotton, linen or hemp. DIY is possible for beginners. Other options are having pieces reupholstered professionally or replacing seat cushions yourself. Use recycled polyfill stuffing or materials like organic wool.

Repair or Replace Hardware

Clean or polish vintage hardware like brass pulls or ceramic knobs to restore luster. Replace missing or damaged hardware with period-appropriate pieces found online or in antique shops. Vintage style reproductions work well too. Correct hardware preserves the character of old pieces.

Incorporating Vintage Finds into Your Decor

Mix Styles and Eras

Don’t limit yourself to furniture from one era. Mixing vintage pieces from different styles and decades adds depth and character to a room. A mid-century credenza can pair nicely with an industrial farmhouse table and velvet reading chair, for example.

Use Neutral Backdrops

Set vintage furnishings against backdrops of neutral solids and natural materials. Whites, beiges, light woods and leather create blank canvases that allow each unique antique piece to shine. Avoid busy patterns that compete visually.

Add Pops of Personality

Add pops of color and personality through accessories. Paintings, throw pillows, rugs and greenery complement vintage furniture without overwhelming. Select accessories in colors drawn from the pieces themselves for a cohesive look.

Arrange for Visual Balance

Arrange mixed vintage pieces deliberately for visual balance. If furniture varies widely in size, shape and color, think about balance. For example, place a large rugged farmhouse table on one side of the room and a dainty antique chair on the other.

Consider Purpose and Function

Assess the purpose and function of each vintage find. An art deco bar cart may serve as quirky dining room storage. A carved antique bed frame could transition into a tidy breakfast nook bench. Repurposed vintage furniture shows creativity.


With some searching, vision and elbow grease, decorating with vintage and repurposed furniture is an eco-friendly approach. Plus, giving cast-off pieces renewed life and purpose through restoration aligns with sustainable living values. Vintage and upcycled furniture adds individuality, visual interest and a sense of history to living spaces in an environmentally responsible way.