Need help finding nontoxic furnishings for my new apartment in New Orleans. Any stores or websites you recommend?


Need help finding nontoxic furnishings for my new apartment in New Orleans. Any stores or websites you recommend?

Asked by Danny Garrett

I recently moved into an apartment in New Orleans, LA, and I need help finding inexpensive eco-friendly, nontoxic furniture (mainly a bookcase, a computer desk, and a TV stand). I searched online for these products, but they are all too expensive (hopefully, I can find some of these items under $100). Any stores or websites you can recommend?

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Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS's picture

Dear Danny,

I commend you for your desire to furnish your abode with eco-friendly furnishings.

Your best affordable option is probably used furniture from Craigslist, garage sales or consignment shops. If used furnishings happen to be made out of "old-style" particle board, chances are they have already offgassed the majority of the formaldehyde or other noxious chemicals.

  • In your specific locale, try the Smart Homeowner website.
  • If you can't find satisfaction there, realize that a variety of retailers -- such as Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Room and Board, West Elm (catalog only), and Ikea -- offer select pieces fabricated with FSC-certified woods, organic fabrics, etc.
  • However, it is difficult to find detailed information on the total product. For example, the furniture piece may be made of FSC-certified woods, but it can be very challenging to determine if the upholstery is chemical-free.

To obtain a higher level of certainty, you can go to Greenguard Environmental, where you can find a variety of furnishings that have been certified to not adversely impact indoor air quality. Natural Home & Garden magazine is a great resource for finding articles and advertisers that specialize in sustainable furnishings. Green Industry Resources is a website that features about two dozen manufacturers of sustainable furniture; however, you will have to do some investigating with each company to determine if their products meet your sustainable criteria.

In the not-too-distant future, we can anticipate Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for furniture.

  • EPDs document the full environmental lifecycle of a product -- cradle to grave.
  • Chances are, EPDs will be developed first for the commercial/hospitality market before they are developed for the residential segment. Stay tuned.

For more information:

Here are some helpful archived GreenHomeGuide posts to help you with your furnishing decisions.