When hunting for the perfect piece of wood furniture, we usually base our decisions on factors like style, size, how it will look in a room, and whether it’s trendy or classic. But how often do we pay attention to the type of wood it’s made of?
Most of us don’t realize that buying certain types of furniture wood contribute to deforestation and the wholesale destruction of earth’s precious ecosystems. If you believe that preserving the planet’s trees and forests is imperative, then you need to be aware of how to buy furniture that’s both beautiful and sustainable.
A sustainably-harvested forest will clean our air and provide timber for generations to come, without long-term damage to the environment. So, keep an eye out for these four types of furniture wood that will not only enhance your decor, but will please mother earth, too.
1. Mango Wood
We’ve been touting the benefits of Mango wood for years. Mango wood comes from fast-growing trees that can reach heights of 80-100 feet in as little as 15 years, as opposed to traditional hardwoods like oak and maple which take 50-100 years to mature. Mangoes are one of the most popular fruits in the world and are grown in mass quantities on plantations. Once mango trees reach mature height, fruit production slows or stops, so the tree is cut down and sold for timber, and a new one is planted. Mango is just as strong as cherry and oak, but it’s inexpensive for manufacturers to work with and an affordable option for modern decor. Mango wood can be used throughout the home and comes in many colors. It makes distressed gray look sophisticated in a pedestal dining table or a rustic modern coffee table. It also pairs well with metals, and its “tiger-eye” grains and patterns add a layer of warmth to modern accent furniture, such as a modern industrial or mid-century modern accent table.
2. Sheesham Wood
Sheesham is one of the most durable and sustainable woods on earth. The tree, native to India, thrives in poor soil, severe drought, high rains, extreme cold, and temperatures over 120 degrees. All of this makes it cheap and easy to grow on large plantations almost anywhere in the world. It’s the second-hardest wood on the planet (second only to Brazilian cherry), making it an heirloom choice that will require little to no maintenance for years to come. Sheesham is the ultimate multitasker. It’s the perfect choice for a piece that can be both the star of the show and withstand the rigors of daily life – such as a gorgeous wood counter stool or a dramatic but functional dining table.
3. Acacia Wood
Acacia is a fast-growing tropical tree that’s easy to harvest and reproduce on plantations in warm climates throughout the world. Similar to Sheesham, Acacia is a tough hardwood with beautiful grains that will last for many years under the rigors of daily life. Acacia’s rustic charm harmonizes with almost any decor. Colors can range from light amber to dark mahogany, and no two are alike. Look for acacia wood furniture that puts its originality on full display, such a rustic industrial coffee table or console table.
Pine is a fast-growing tree that’s now mostly grown on sustainable plantations. This light-but-strong wood has been used for generations for everything from roof beams to broom handles. As a result, reclaimed pine is also widely available as a popular way repurpose the wood and enjoy it for years beyond its original function. Pine is the ultimate workhorse in any decor. It’s equally at home as a solid rustic console or a sleek, mid-century modern counter stool, and everything in between.
People are becoming more aware of the environmental effects of mass deforestation. Luckily, sustainable wood options are affordable, widely available, and fit into any decor. You just have to know where to look!