The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable Furniture in Canada
Recently, I have started to consider the need for new furniture in my home. With the expansion of the Zero Waste Creative project, I have begun to recognize a need for a suitable office space where I can film helpful videos and tutorials for you all, as well as expand my workable table space.
As you probably know by now, I do not take big purchases lightly and do my best to research far in advance of making a decision. Going zero waste has taught me how to be a conscious consumer and only spend money and encounter waste on items I actually need. I am a BIG believer in purchasing second-hand where possible. While I am still considering this as an option for this furniture should something catches my eye at the thrift store or Facebook marketplace, this is one area that I much rather ‘splurge’ on newly made sustainable pieces because they are something I plan to use every day.
All that being said, I hope that my research can be of your benefit if you are on the hunt for some great sustainable furniture companies. This list will cover my favourite finds from across the country and share a bit about each of the company's or designer’s sustainability efforts. I’ve included a vast array of price ranges, styles, and materials to help you find a great match for your needs.
New Brunswick based, sustainably sourced materials
What they sell: Innovative, collapsible plywood furniture
About them: Founder Erik LeBrun had to move several times throughout his undergraduate and masters studies in architecture. His innovate thinking and furniture salesman experience drove him to start creating furniture for himself that better suited to his lifestyle than classic furniture.
Sustainability: Agile prioritizes impeccable work conditions here in Canada for workers and for the partners and suppliers who they work with. The furniture is made from Purebond Plywood; a product made by Canadian Sawmill Columbia Forest Products. Both the core and face of this product are made from sustainable (FSC-certified) Canadian birch, with patented glue that is free of formaldehyde and phenols, like no other plywood.
About them: Quagga Design is trying to make a difference in terms of zero emissions on their finish, recycled cardboard stock, eliminating metal parts and using water-based glue for our panels. By manufacturing their products in Canada, their carbon footprint is significantly reduced.
Sustainability: Each bed frame is made from authentic Birchwood, commonly used in furniture making, because of its solid and durable characteristics.
They care about their employees and value life-work balance.
Designed and manufactured in Canada
What they sell: Sofas, Sectionals, Chairs, Sofa Beds
About them: Brentwood Classics has designed and manufactured made-to-order sofas for Canadians since 1978. Their renowned fabric library includes over 1,000 patterns in a multitude of colourways, including transitional to contemporary design.
Sustainability: All of Brentwood Classics products are made of foam that is CertiPUR-US® certified. It is made without ozone depleters, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals. It is made without any harmful flame retardant chemicals (FR's): CFC's, PBDEs or TDCPP (Tris). Made without formaldehyde. Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million). It is performance-tested, durability-tested, emissions-tested, and content-tested. Brentwood Classics is also a member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council.
What they sell: Bedside tables, desks, coffee, and console tables
About them: Alex and his wife Magalie founded their furniture business in 2017, though Alex has been crafting furniture since the 90s. They design and build furniture and lighting as functional pieces of art. Fusing the natural wood look with modern concrete. Each idea for a potential Curly Woods product is thoughtfully vetted through countless hours of research, design, and crafting.
Sustainability: Shopping small is always a more sustainable choice. CurlyWoods makes all of their pieces by hand and in-house from carefully selected sustainable materials. They intend for their pieces to last, and as such highly value the customer experience.
What they sell: solid wood living, dining, bedroom, and office furniture
About them: Durham furniture has been making solid wood pieces since 1899. Their pieces are available in traditional, transitional, contemporary and cottage styles. The company uses sustainably harvested maple and cherry wood to make it’s solid furniture right in Durham.
Sustainability: The company employs 170 local craftspeople to help produce their made to order pieces. They hold themselves to a high standard of providing proper wages and working conditions for all employees. They have set up a liaison committee made of local residents to communicate what they are doing to protect the environment and make living conditions in and around the plant continuously better. The company is also a member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council.
Winnipeg based, Modern Design
What they sell: Living, Dining, Bedroom, Office, and Outdoor Furniture
About them: EQ3 prides itself in creating and selling furniture to last. They maintain a timeless look and value function. Although not all products are made in Canada, they are always made in consideration of the quality and process.
Sustainability: Eq3 keeps things local with a corporate headquarters, R&D, and manufacturing facility all operating under the same roof in Winnipeg. Their upholstery products are made to order. They are also working towards going more circular by finding second homes for any returns or gently used pieces they receive through our Outlet stores in Canada and EQ3 ReHome.
Canada wide, second hand stores
What they sell: Preloved furniture, home decor, fixtures, and building supplies
About them: A Habitat for Humanity ReStore accepts and resells new and used building materials, furniture, and other home essentials. The funds generated by Habitat ReStores support local Habitat for Humanity home building projects. Please consider these stores for donating new or gently used furniture to promote a circular economy and help families on a budget.
Sustainability: Choosing to purchase from Habitat for Humanity supports local humanitarian efforts as well as reduces the need for new materials. It goes without saying that buying second hand is always a more sustainable option. A lot of brands will donate returned or gently used floor models to the cause so you will be surprised at how many great pieces you will be able to find.
Quebec based, in house design and manufacturing
What they sell: bedroom, home office, dining room, and living room furniture
About them: Huppe has been in Canadian homes since 1967, originally selling cedar chests. The company has grown in innovative product variety over the last fifty years and now crafts pieces for your entire home.
Sustainability: Huppe has invested $350,000 in next-generation heat recovery and air exchanger technology to recover the heat generated in their stain and varnish chambers to use to heat the furniture factory. This reduces their natural gas consumption by 75%. For each bed sold, Huppe also donates $4 to trees for Canada for a ratio of one bed sold, to one tree planted.
Toronto based, furniture designer
What she sells: bedroom and office furniture
About her: Kate handcrafts each piece by utilizing traditional joinery and manufacturing techniques. She has spent over 20 years perfecting her craft and developing a defined and distinctive aesthetic. She takes heavy influence from the architecture of the Brutalist movement, made popular in the 70’s and 80’s.
Sustainability: Each piece takes 12-15 weeks as it is handmade and made to order. The pieces in her collections use sustainably harvested solid North American hardwoods, thick leather accents and original solid brass hardware. The pieces are beautiful investments that are intended to last generations. Each customer can select finishes, and dimensions to fit their needs.
Mississauga Ontario, Mid Century Modern
What they sell: bedroom, living room, & dining furniture
About them: Mim’s furniture design is intentionally compatible, so it is easy to pair pieces that look great together in a space. They use a combination of solid wood and steel to create pieces that will last.
Sustainability: Mim uses one factory in Binh Duong, Southern Vietnam that shares common values of sustainability, accountability and transparency. While there is not much more information listed on their website, they encourage visitors to their factory to display the ethical standards that they uphold.
What they sell: Handmade sofas
About them: Tim Zyto made the first Montauk sofa in 1995. These luxury pieces are hand made right in their Montreal based factory in St Henri. They are composed of a solid wood frame, springs held in place with fla rope, and covered by memory foam and down-filled feather cushions. Customers rave that these sofas' comfort is unmatched.
Sustainability: Montauk is continuously working towards greenhouse gas reduction, clean biodegradability, and closed loop recycling. They are transparent that their efforts aren’t ‘quite there yet’ but are striving to prioritize these three issues. Currently, they are proud to produce furniture with little negative impact on the planet.
Toronto Based, Etsy Store
What they sell: One-of-a-Kind Furniture, and home decor
About them: Nos Natura offers luxury wood furniture, home decor, bridal jewelry, fashion jewelry and a variety of other specialty goods for urban living. They value premium quality and sustainable products to bring beautiful natural elements into your space.
Sustainability: The company uses a solid wood that is sourced from trees that are not fully cut down, instead the trunk is left intact and the tree is left alive. They also utilize soon-to-be discarded trees and work with partners who practice fair trade. By working with local communities, they promote women's employment, fair pay, and create positive change. Interview source
Salt Spring Island, BC Based, Wood-Free
What they sell: 100% wood-free handmade bamboo furniture
About them: Reforest Design thoroughly impressed me with their transparency. Not only do they sell amazing, sturdy, sustainable furniture, but the entire company is built around reducing furniture waste, collaborative, conscious design, and socioeconomic equality. Founder and furniture maker Ewelina E. Pankowska majored in environmental design and is currently the sole producer of these handmade pieces.
Sustainability: Reforest Design has a mission to preserve forests and reduce global furniture waste. They offer replacement parts for damaged furniture so that pieces can last for years to come instead of ending up in a landfill.
What they sell: Canadian Modern Home, hospitality, corporate, institutional, and retail furniture
About them: Stylegarage specializes in functional and timeless made-to-order modern furniture.They allow customers to work closely with designers to create something personal and functional for their space, minimizing waste. They also have a wide variety of in-stock furniture and fixture selections.
Sustainability: Stylegarage uses FSC-certified hardwood frames, PET-fill cushions (a vegan down alternative made from recycled post-consumer plastic) and local manufacturing in their own community. Their made-to-order designs utilize materials of the customer’s choice, and they strive to use sustainable materials ‘wherever possible’
Waterloo Ontario, Based, Made-to-order
What they sell: Handcrafted furniture made from solid reclaimed wood
About them: St. Jacobs Furnishings is a 30 years old company own by a family in Waterloo. They offer traditional, long-lasting, high-quality furniture that will last for generations.
Sustainability: All furniture is made-to-order so there is you can customize and save the planet at the same time. The materials include oak, maple, pine and walnut. They also repurpose wood from barns by reusing the barn board furniture made from reclaimed wood from decade-old pine barns.
Vancouver Based, Made-to-order
What they sell: Handcrafted furniture made from solid reclaimed wood
About them: Union Wood Co scours demolition sites and old buildings for the best old wood. They also make use of leather and metal to meticulously craft timeless products that are intended to last a lifetime.
Sustainability: All furniture is made-to-order so there is no extra waste encountered. Each piece is crafted with the best materials and the intention of longevity. The pieces are always finished with natural vegetable oils and waxes which are derived from renewable resources.
What’s your favourite Canadian sustainable furniture store or designer?
Send me a message so I can add it to the list!
Hey, Claudia here
I am a senior graphic designer, a dog mom, an advocate for a zero-waste lifestyle, climate change, and sustainability. My articles are based on personal experience and well researched to give you the best source of information for all things zero-waste.