8 min read

Chemical-free Furniture, Explained

Written by:

Christi Farrell, RA, Leed GA


November 8, 2022

Image source:

Studio Marlowe

In recent years, the demand for healthier, more sustainable living spaces has surged.

An essential aspect of creating such environments is selecting the right furniture — specifically, chemical-free furniture.

This article explores what chemical-free furniture entails, its importance in healthy interior design, and highlights key companies leading in this niche market.

What is Chemical-Free Furniture?

Chemical-free furniture refers to furniture products made without harmful chemicals and toxins that are traditionally used in manufacturing processes.

These chemicals can include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, flame retardants, and various solvents, which are known for their potential health risks, such as respiratory problems, skin irritations, and long-term effects on human health.

The Relevance in Healthy Interior Design

Incorporating chemical-free furniture is crucial in healthy interior design as it reduces indoor air pollution and minimizes health risks, especially in environments frequented by children, the elderly, and those with sensitivities or compromised immune systems.

By prioritizing furniture that supports air quality, homeowners can significantly contribute to a healthier living environment.

Benefits of Chemical-Free Furniture

  1. Improved Indoor Air Quality: Reduces the emission of harmful pollutants.
  2. Safe for Sensitive Groups: Ideal for households with allergies, asthma, or chemical sensitivities.
  3. Environmental Impact: Often made from sustainable materials with eco-friendly practices.
  4. Durability and Longevity: Typically high-quality and less likely to degrade into harmful substances over time.

How to Identify Chemical-Free Furniture

Certifications to Look For

When shopping for chemical-free furniture, look for certifications that guarantee low-to-no emission of toxins.

Some of the most reputable certifications include:

  • GREENGUARD: Certifies products that meet stringent chemical emissions standards.
  • OEKO-TEX®: Ensures that products, including those made from textiles, are free from harmful substances.
  • Cradle to Cradle Certified™: Assesses products across five categories of sustainability including material health.

Materials and Production

Opt for natural materials such as solid wood (with natural finishes), organic cotton, or wool, which are less likely to have been treated with harmful chemicals.

The production method also matters; seek out manufacturers who commit to sustainable and responsible manufacturing practices.

A few companies consistently stand out for their commitment to chemical-free furniture:

  • Medley Home: Offers a wide range of eco-friendly furniture that's customizable and made without harmful toxins.
  • Savvy Rest: Specializes in organic and natural bedding, as well as furniture free from chemical flame retardants.
  • West Elm: Provides a line of GREENGUARD Gold Certified furniture, ensuring low chemical emissions.

Case Studies and Success Stories

Example 1: Savvy Rest
Savvy Rest’s journey to sustainability and chemical-free products highlights the consumer demand for healthier furniture options.

They utilize natural latex, certified organic cotton, and organic wool, all geared towards reducing environmental impact and boosting consumer health.

Example 2: West Elm
West Elm’s commitment to sustainability is evident in its extensive range of GREENGUARD Gold Certified products.

This certification is proof that furniture can be both stylish and health-conscious, appealing to environmentally aware consumers.

FAQs about Chemical-Free Furniture

Q: Is chemical-free furniture more expensive?
A: Initially, it might be. However, considering the durability and health benefits, the long-term value often outweighs the initial investment.

Q: Can I find chemical-free furniture in mainstream stores?
A: Yes, more mainstream retailers are beginning to carry chemical-free options, especially those with eco-friendly lines or certifications like GREENGUARD.

Q: How do I take care of chemical-free furniture?
A: Care practices are similar to conventional furniture, though it's best to use natural cleaning products to maintain the chemical-free integrity.

Q: Is all "natural" furniture chemical-free?
A: Not necessarily. It's important to check for certifications or specific details about materials and manufacturing processes to ensure they are truly chemical-free.


Choosing chemical-free furniture is a significant step towards healthier living spaces.

With the growing accessibility of such products and the expanding awareness of their benefits, homeowners now have the opportunity to make choices that align more closely with health and environmental sustainability.

By prioritizing materials and certifications that ensure low emissions and by supporting companies that adhere to these standards, consumers can positively influence both their own well-being and that of the planet.

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Christi Farrell

Christi is a licensed architect and interior designer specializing in sustainability. She enjoys teaching design and bringing transparency to the impact that furniture has on our planet.

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