With costs of necessities rising, people are taking a closer look at their spending. When a non-essential purchase must be made during this time, many people put it off or compensate by choosing lower cost items. The problem with that is lower cost almost always means lower quality. No matter how good the sale, there is no such thing as a free lunch. The result is a lower cost product with a significantly shorter lifespan. In addition, warranties and guarantees are many times honored. It is as if furniture produced nowadays were intended to survive only a couple of years.
Today’s Furniture and Its Shortened Lifespan
We are familiar with our grandparent’s furniture because it was built to last. It may be worn, dilapidated, and ugly, but it is still comfy and serviceable, unlike furniture nowadays. The majority of the 9 million tons of furniture tossed every single year was made within the last 10 to 15 years, according to Ashlee Piper, a sustainability expert and author of Give a Sh*t: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet. If a leg breaks or the fabric is torn, the piece ends up in the dump instead of being repaired because it is most often easier and cheaper to buy new than to fix an “old” piece. For us to repair a newly manufactured piece, it either costs a pretty penny or is utterly impossible. This is because furniture built today is made of plastic, acrylic, polycarbonate, cardboard, and other artificial materials rather than solid wood as in the past.
How Did Fast Furniture Come to Be?
The shift began in the 17th and 18th centuries when consumers’ demand for exquisite furniture increased. To meet this higher demand and decreased value placed on quality, mass-produced furniture took over the industry by the 20th century. Machines replaced carpenters and craftsman, producing hundreds of pieces per day. Furniture that was once crafted in weeks, if not months, can now be completed in minutes. And so, the mass-produced furniture industry grew until it reached a value of nearly $510 billion in 2020.
What’s the Price We Pay for Fast Furniture?
New replacement sofas and living room chairs are likely to have fragile frames, a weak cushion support system that sags in about a year or two, foam that ceases to be comfortable within two years, and faux leather that shows signs of wear in a few years. Dining room and bedroom furniture are subject to the same issues. Soft wood splits easily, or breaks. Joints are prone to failure and so on.
Stay Tuned for Tips on How You Can Add Years to Your Furniture’s Life
We’ve received many requests asking for inexpensive solutions to restore brand new furniture. Yet, as you have read, in most cases, there aren’t any. However, over the next few emails, I will provide you some tips to help you extend your furniture’s life, whether that is defined through maintenance practices or understanding how the investment made now can pay off in the long run.