Wood is a renewable resource, especially when it comes from responsibly managed forests. And there’s another way to help the planet when purchasing wood furniture — one that can also help your budget: buying used!
If you think about it, flea markets are green markets, and I can’t help but get that pat-myself-on-the-back feeling of satisfaction when I give a piece of furniture a second chance at life.
I had one of these flea market shopping highs a few weeks ago, when I found a solid wood cabinet that would work perfectly as a TV stand. (We had been hunting for a toddler-proof one for months!) It’s not going to win any design awards, but it has a classic look that makes it easy to match our other furniture, plus a phenomenal price tag: $40. Much cheaper than anything I was looking at new, and with a lot more character. All it needed was a few hours of elbow grease and some white paint.
With garage sale season now in full swing, here’s how to take wood furniture from trash to treasure while stepping lightly on the planet.
- Strip it down to the wood the non-toxic way. With soybeans?! Yup. SOYGel removes paints, urethanes and enamels and it appears to really work. Better than sanding since no hazardous airborne particles are released.
- Remove stickers and other adhesives with a natural alternative to paint thinner. Citrus Solvent is an eco-friendly, health-friendly alternative to paint thinner, turpentine and mineral spirits.
- Enhance the antique look with organic milk paint. Milk paint is completely biodegradable and is as safe to drink as whole milk (but probably won’t make a very yummy latte). Since it was the paint of choice in Colonial America, it gives a more authentic look to older pieces of furniture.
- Stain wooden furniture without releasing VOCs. Conventional wood stains release about 500 grams per liter of volatile organic compounds. BioShield wood stains come in 8 finishes and are solvent-free and VOC-free. White stain is very popular here in Scandinavia, so it’s good to know there’s an eco-safe way to get the look.
Flea market finds are an open invitation to be creative, so have fun shopping!