While our clients fall in love with our transforming furniture, it’s not the furniture itself they value — it’s the ability to live a more intentional, meaningful life.
Asked what they value most in life people tend to respond with a similar list: family, friends, contributing to their communities in some small but meaningful way, perhaps. Notice that none of these are material things; no one ever says they value their cars or swimming pools more than their relationships. Still, many of us tend to use the word value in a way that confuses the perceived monetary worth of an item (or service or experience) with what we really mean: its usefulness or importance to us personally.
We know from talking to our clients that while they fall in love our transforming furniture, it’s not the furniture itself they value. It’s the additional square footage they acquire by replacing a traditional dining table with one of our converting coffee tables or consoles — or by turning a dedicated guest room into a multi-functional space that everyone in the household can enjoy when it’s not being slept in.
Space is what’s useful and important to our clients — especially urban apartment dwellers. Space becomes valuable by the economic definition, too, when you consider the difference in cost between one- and two-bedroom apartment rentals in major metropolitan areas. The purchase of a wall bed with a built-in sofa allows you to enjoy the comforts and functionality of two rooms while only paying for one. That upfront investment may pay for itself within a year — and the benefits are long-lasting.
While space to enjoy our lives and loved ones is obviously something we value, Americans are trending towards smaller-space living overall — and that doesn’t always have to do with rental costs or purchase prices. The things that once signified “having made it” in America — a big house, expansive lawn, fancy car — hold a decreasing level of importance in our lives and play less of a roll in our idea of what it means to be successful.
Seeking experiential pleasures over material possessions, Resource Furniture clients opt to trade clutter and excess for more streamlined, simplified accommodations that are better suited to their unique needs and lifestyles. Whether that means downsizing when the kids leave home or deciding to make do with existing space instead of upsizing when a new child enters the picture, the secret to this kind of success has more to do with how to utilize existing space than the available square footage itself.
A growing or shrinking family may not be a high-priority concern of the younger population, but the environment most certainly is. American Millennials demonstrate a desire to conserve more and waste less across every area of their lives. From up-cycling and thrift store shopping to co-living and micro-apartments, young adults are continually pushing eco-friendly trends into the spotlight, setting an example for both older and younger generations of Americans.
But concern for the environment is driving consumers of all ages to shop for sustainable products, including home furnishings. Resource Furniture has been at the forefront of the sustainable furniture market for years; our wall beds, tables, seating, and storage pieces are manufactured using highly sustainable materials and methods; they provide the same level of comfort and functionality as conventional furniture pieces and are designed and built to last – so they’ll never end up in a landfill.
Remember that there is a difference between “green” and “sustainable” furniture. “Green” is a designation that usually refers to material sourcing; most sustainable furniture-makers focus on reducing the environmental impact of their items by using reclaimed materials and non-toxic furniture stains. While responsible sourcing of materials is important, to be truly sustainable a piece of furniture should be able to exist in perpetuity from an environmental and resource consumption standpoint. You can have a piece of furniture made of responsibly-sourced materials, but if it falls apart after a year and winds up in a landfill it’s not sustainable.
Resource Furniture takes sustainable manufacturing and supply chain transparency very seriously. Our furniture will last a lifetime — and we back up that promise by offering a lifetime warranty on all our wall bed mechanisms.
Another important concern, previously overlooked but receiving more attention in recent years, is the air quality of our home environments. Traditional sofas, beds, and other furnishings are major polluters of indoor air due to “off-gassing” which occurs when manufactured items release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals. You shouldn’t have to worry whether your new cabinets or coffee table are subtly poisoning you with formaldehyde or benzene.
Resource Furniture’s products all comply with CARB2/TSCA Title VI, the formaldehyde emissions standards set forth by the EPA. Our wall beds are produced under the most stringent standards: composite wood products are composed of a minimum 90% recyclables and new chipboard panels are made of renewable, controlled virgin wood rated E1 or better. Ultra-high-tech panel manufacturing enables sealed routing and edge-binding with sawdust recapture and gas by-product capture and recycling. Our furniture does not contain any formaldehyde and all our paints and lacquers are VOC-free, water-based, and non-toxic.
To effect lasting change, consumers need to be conscious of the impact their lifestyle choices and purchasing decisions have on the environment. One valid criticism of this “conscious consumerism movement” is that people need a good deal of leisure time to independently research and identify their purchasing options and for many, that’s simply not possible.
Facilitating consumer education around sustainability is the collective responsibility of everyone in a position to do so; that’s why Resource Furniture works closely with nonprofit organizations around the world to support and promote sustainable, efficient living. We provide ongoing financial and material support to organizations like Citizens Housing & Planning Council, a New York City-based housing research and education nonprofit, and the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, a design challenge for student scientists, engineers, and architects to design and build highly efficient buildings; among many others.
We also sponsor major educational initiatives like the Making Room: Housing for a Changing America exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. (watch the video below for an overview).
These values are what define us as a company; at the heart of Resource’s work is a deep-rooted passion for mindful, sustainable living. Beyond our products, we are dedicated to protecting human rights throughout our global supply chain, working only with companies that pay living wages, maintain safe and healthy working environments, and treat their employees with dignity.
When you invest in a piece of our furniture, you may not be thinking about our values — you may not even be thinking about your own. But you can take that wall bed or convertible coffee table home and feel good about the furniture in every way: how it provides you with more space to enjoy the company of your loved ones; how its production supports a worker and her family; how its materials and manufacturing process cause no harm to the environment.
The decisions we make as consumers have the power to effect change in the world and they enable us to live in line with our personal values. It’s why we say our furniture transforms lives.
Responsible material sourcing is important, but it does not necessarily make something sustainable.