What is “fast furniture”?
Recent research shows that millenials prefer to spend their money on experiences rather than investing it back into anything but essentials for their homes; and other constraints can often mean that the money to invest in furniture is just not available.
Due to this, people are looking to mass-produced furniture that is first and foremost cheap and functional. If you are looking for a quick fix, fundamentally there is no problem with this. However, the furniture is not built to last. Cracking when being put together, and not withstanding day to day life (especially when there are children involved!) can mean replacing the furniture within two or three years – so altogether a false economy.
To produce furniture at this low cost, wood used is generally not from a sustainable source. Cheap imports from Russian and Eastern European forests are illegally logged meaning the devastation of natural fish and wildlife habitats, and the decline of many varieties of trees including oak, ash and birch. The demand for cheap, Chinese made furniture has started a cycle which is destroying the worlds forests and wildlife at an alarming rate. And surprisingly, a lot of furnitures big players are not impartial to this.
Another way of producing cheap furniture is to get it made by a cheap workforce. Vietnamese and Indian children are often employed on a mass scale to produce the parts for the desks and tables, while earning an absolute pittance. Cheap furniture equals child labour: a good reason to buy British.
Flatpacking the furniture also keeps the price down – it all allows for more economical logistics both from manufacturer to retailer, then from retailer to consumer. Ergo, it’s down to the consumer to put it together; loose dowells, missing screws (or the extra one at the end which causes panic over the one that you forgot) and maybe even divorce, flatpack furniture is by no means a happy experience.
I’m sure you think that the point of this blog post is me telling you to buy expensive furniture. It’s really not. The advice here is to find British made, sustainable goods that can be delivered to your door fully assembled if possible. And this doesn’t always have to be an expensive option. Just well made, good value and environmentally guilt free.
IronFire. Affordable, aspirational and non-divorce causing.