I'm so excited to share today's post with you! Andrew and I have been working on our ethical living room overhaul, bit by bit, for ages and it's so exciting to have everything finally put together.
Our living room still contains a few conventional pieces- my old bookcases and lamps from IKEA- but everything else has been either repurposed, thrifted, or sourced from ethical companies. I wanted a colorful, eclectic look with a touch of glamour, and I think that we were able to achieve that look even with a more limited amount of resources and shopping options.
What we started with
In order to furnish our living space as ethically and sustainably as possible, we did a lot of "search and rescue" operations for our furniture. We found our couch for $85.00 at a charity shop, and our Chairs for $5.00 each. The coffee table was a Craigslist find- the black marble top was cracked so I got it for next to nothing. When we got the couch and chairs, they were in rough shape. The couch was covered in faded chartreuse fabric covered in cat hair and all of the foam was disintegrated inside the sagging cushions. The chairs were covered in a brownish-yellow vinyl that was brittle with age.
We gutted the couch down to the wooden frame and springs, and built it back up from scratch. We tried our best to find ethically produced materials for our re-upholstry needs, which was not easy! We settled on fabric from Company C, a US- based company that focuses on ethical overseas production standards (their rugs are goodweave certified) and USA manufacturing. We found recycled foam, and did all of the labor ourselves. Not a perfect process, but as close as we felt that we could get!
To replace the cracked marble tabletop, I simply had a piece of glass cut to fit the table at my local hardware shop. I painted the table the same bronze color that we used for our reupholstered chairs. I highly recommend reupholstering a simple chair before attempting anything too crazy... we practiced on these chairs before we worked on the couch and it was so helpful!
The candle we have on the coffee table is from Prosperity Candle (when this one is used up, I'll repurpose the bowl in my kitchen and order a refillable Forever Candle), the books and vase are all antique shop finds, the carved wooden box belonged to my mother. I found the wooden tray at a thrift shop and painted it white.
All of the frames on the wall were thrifted. Most of the maps were cut out of vintage atlases, and I made the typography art and had it printed. The block printed pillows are from JOYN and the white silk ones are from Artisan Connect. I made the quote pillows from some organic cotton scraps that I had laying around, and a set of brand-new pillow inserts I found at a thrift shop.
Everything on our bookshelves was either thrifted or picked up on our travels- antique glass bottles picked up by a diver in Bermuda, A painting from a local artist in Haiti, a house-in-a-bottle I got from a market when I lived in the Philippines...
We store all of our blankets in a wonderful, enormous ethically made basket from The Dharma Door USA. We hide our internet router behind it, too. ;-)