Making sustainable choices for the long-term

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We are looking into a new 3 piece suite. We inherited the one we’ve got from family and it’s not in the greatest condition. All the seats are sagging badly and the fabric is starting to fade. We looked into getting it all re-sprung, but it was going to cost 1/3 price of a new set. By the time you’ve factored in re-covering, on a cheap suite- it’s just never worth it. We hope that we can either sell or give away this one to someone in need as it’s quite modern. But it got us thinking- what happens to your old suite when you get rid of it? Well it turns out it can’t be recycled, so it just ends up as landfill. Horrifying!

In reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette, the author recommends a wooden frame suite as a financially sound choice. As she points out, it can be endlessly repaired, recovered and repainted. I was on board! I’ve also been watching a documentary series called Tiny House Nation and I was intrigued by some of the sofa designs they came up. Usually wooden, with built in storage underneath. Really useful if you are short on space! They even mentioned using pallets- there seem to be endless uses for them- much greater than the compost heap we recently made!

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I remembered reading about the Ercol Studio couch/ day bed. It has become somewhat of a design classic. In looking into that, I have really begun to appreciate the beauty and quality of good design. I remember that my Grandma had an Ercol 3 piece suite- she believed in investing in good quality brand names- giving you furniture for a lifetime. In fact, it can even be handed down- as one of her daughters (my Auntie) now has the suite and it’s still going strong. I am certain it will be handed down again in the next 20-30 years- a wise investment indeed! I guess, at the time I thought it old-fashioned but I always remember it being very comfortable. So comfortable my Dad would always fall asleep in one of the chairs (a knack he has!)

So, as you can see pictured above- we’re looking into getting a studio day bed/ couch which has the added benefit of doubling up as a single bed when required. Additionally, we would like 2 Windsor armchairs- just like my Grandma had. We are looking into second hand, as a preference if we can find some near enough and at the right price. A lot of traders are asking as much as new for these pieces and that doesn’t make any financial sense if you’ve got to fix them up. However, with the amount of years it will take us to save up for these, something may come up!

I popped into a local showroom to see if they had some I could try sitting on, look at fabric swatches etc, but they didn’t have any in. Of course, the sales person tried to talk me into some other suites from the Ercol range. But I explained how we specifically wanted a set that could be recovered, so that we wouldn’t be sending a suite to landfill every 20 years or so. This really seemed to get her thinking, as she said- “We pay a company to take our customers old suites away. I’ve never really thought about what happens to them”. I pointed out that it probably wasn’t worth their time to take them apart for recycling, so they probably just end up in landfill. She seemed pretty thoughtful about that! I do hope that my chance conservation maybe makes that company reconsider their waste policies and the products they sell!

I just thought I’d share my recent thoughts on the subject- another area of minimalist and zero waste living to consider!