Vegan furniture – natural alternatives for your home
According to a study by market research institute Skopos, 1.3 million Germans identify as vegan – and their numbers are on the rise. Opting to switch to a vegan lifestyle not only protects animals, but also has benefits for your own health and the world we live in. According to a study by the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, eating a balanced vegan diet can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and type-two diabetes, as well as lowering cholesterol. There are huge environmental benefits, too: The UK’s VeganSociety, founded in 1944 as one of the world’s first groups representing vegan interests, says that we can all lower our carbon footprint dramatically by consuming fewer animal products.
Eat vegan. Live vegan.
But what does being “vegan” actually mean? According to the definition by animal rights organisation PETA, “vegans avoid the use and consumption of animals or animal products in all areas of their life. Usually, they choose to do so for ethical reasons, because they don’t want to be responsible for the suffering and death of animals. But environmental concerns and health considerations are also often cited as reasons for opting for a vegan lifestyle”. The food industry is already awash with innovative new vegan options for those looking for alternatives to meat and dairy products. But what about the world of interior design? Leather, animal hides and wool are all popular additions to home interiors, and wooden furniture is often still glued together using adhesives made from animal hide and bones. But there are vegan alternatives out there – if you know where to look.
1. Apple peel and cactus leaves: Leather substitutes for vegan furniture
Mexican entrepreneurs Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez have developed an innovative leather substitute made from cactus leaves. “Desserto” is soft, breathable, biodegradable and can even be dyed any colour. The material is currently being used to make handbags, shoes and clothing, but the company is keen to start turning its plant-based invention into furniture in the very near future. The cactus leather alternative has already won the 2020 Green Product Award.
Apples have also been a fruitful source of inspiration for plant-based leather substitutes: “Appleskin” is another exciting innovation for those looking to veganise their interior. With this Italian innovation, the woody stem and peel of apples left over after industrial processing are pulverised. The resulting fibres are then woven into fabric to produce a supple, eco-conscious and animal-friendly leather alternative that is available in a wide range of colours.
2. Shaped by nature: Vegan lamps made from mushroom fibres
As unbelievable as it may sound, mushrooms can also be used to create vegan lifestyle products. In partnership with British researcher Milena Ivanova, the London-based design studio run by Sebastian Cox has created a range of furniture, lamps and everyday products made from wooden strips and mycelium fibres.
Cox discovered the material somewhat by accident, when he stumbled across a fungus holding two branches of a tree together on a walk through the picturesque Kent countryside. The designer’s Mycelium + Timber collection uses mushroom fibres as a glue to bond wooden furniture and to create organic lampshades for the ultimate natural look.
3. Ethically sound: Vegan furniture manufacturers launch innovative products
Many larger manufacturers are also responding to the vegan trend with new collections for those adopting a plant-based lifestyle. One such manufacturer is Höffner, the company behind Switch, which is the first vegan upholstered furniture range of sofas, armchairs and loungers. Allnatura (not to be confused with food producer Alnatura) has also added a vegan sofa to its portfolio. “Fino” has cotton or viscose covers and is completely free of animal materials.
Vegan furniture manufacturer “Room in a box” has gone down the minimalist route, with shelving, lamps, standing desks and even beds assembled from corrugated cardboard modules with no need for glue. Vegan mattresses and pillows are sourced from SnoozeProjekt. And seeing as though summer is just around the corner, why not add a fully recyclable vegan HängemattenGlück Camino M hammock made from certified eco-friendly cotton to your outdoor space?
Our top tip: If you want to buy vegan furniture, look for clues such as the V-Label from proveg, a vegan certificate from the vegan society in your country or the PETA-Approved Vegan logo. You can also consult animal rights organisation PETA for advice. The PETA website lists the ingredients used to make various materials and suggests alternatives.
It’s easier than ever before to live a vegan lifestyle – and with vegan designs and materials like linoleum, cork, cardboard and even cactus making their way into interior design, you can save the planet without sacrificing style.
Have you added any vegan furniture to your home? Tell us about it in the comments.