Organic & Sustainable Upholstery Practices

What is organic upholstery and why should I care?

This is a common question in my work, which includes restoration and customization of vintage upholstered furniture. Our mission is to educate as well as offer the option of organic & sustainable upholstery materials – an important choice for those who are chemically sensitive, as well as those looking to create a cleaner indoor environment.

It is helpful to know what kinds of questions to ask your furniture dealer or upholsterer when purchasing new furniture or rehabilitating your favorite sofa or chair. Confusion runs rampant with the current trend toward greenwashing everything from vitamins to kitchen sinks, partly due to a lack of guidelines which consumers can trust. Two Sisters Ecotextiles, an organic textile manufacturer who walks the talk, addresses this issue in some depth in their blog.

Happy sheep in Montana grow organic wool used in sustainable furniture

Some of our certified organic wool comes from a local sheep ranching and wool producing operation

‘Organic’ vs ‘Natural’

Not all upholstery materials are available as certified organic products, so we have to do the best we can by offering the “next best thing” alongside the certified products, while keeping an eye to the horizon for new and better options as they become available. The certified organic upholstery foundation materials used in our Living Home Furniture line include latex foam organic cotton batting, and organic cotton ticking. See the shop for more details.

The wool batting must be covered with a layer of tight-weave ticking fabric to prevent ‘migration’ of the wool fibers through the cover fabric.

Layers in organic upholstery: sustainably grown alder wood, organic wool batting, organic wool felt

Certified organic wool batting and felt wrapped over a hemp canvas base layer

The remaining fabrics we are currently using include non-organic natural fibers, such as hemp canvas (used as a base layer over the springs) and jute burlap.

Both wool and latex are widely touted as natural barriers to dust mites, mold & mildew, which are known allergen sources in many home environments.

Join’s mailing list to receive our monthly newsletter with reupholstery tips, creative inspiration, and resources for using natural, non-toxic materials for upholstery.

By | 2017-06-03T13:32:13+00:00 January 3rd, 2010|design & inspiration, green home, natural upholstery materials|4 Comments

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Making - Learning - Sharing. These are actions I find essential to a happy life! I'd love to hear from you - what are you creating in your life right now? How can I help?


  1. Anne Perry January 12, 2010 at 6:35 am

    I like the whole idea of sustainable furniture.
    Also, instead of tossing old stuff in the landfill, rehabilitate it.

  2. casulo1 January 13, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Yes, I imagine we’ll be ‘mining’ from the landfills some day, though it’s better to rescue those treasures before they are needlessly buried. The older furniture pieces have the best bones, with hardwood frames that will out-last most commercial furniture on the market today.

  3. Tina Ortman January 14, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    You are a very clear and concise writer. I look forward to more of your insights, when you find the time (wink-wink).

  4. Travon January 25, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Most help articles on the web are inaccurate or incoherent. Not this!

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