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Home is where the sustainable furniture is

“Home is our base, our favorite place, our beginning and end to each day…” once wrote the British poet Ms Moem. Indeed, I have always felt that the difference between a house and a home is that hard-to-define, easy-to-understand warm feeling – the feeling of security and safety that people everywhere should be able to enjoy as they wake up or go to bed. 

And, of course, furniture plays a key role in creating that special homely feeling, filling spaces with memories and personality. Spaces where our families live and thrive, where our children grow, and where the safety of our environment should be guaranteed – at all times, without exception. 

It may be surprising for people to learn, then, that two-thirds of furniture coatings everywhere are based on solvent-based, crude-oil solutions. Can you imagine that? Around the world, we are literally coating our homes, our safe places, with solvent-based products made from crude oil– products that are damaging to the air we breathe and the planet we live in. 

Does it have to be this way? Or can we create furniture coatings that are healthier, less polluting… in short, homelier? Can we use science to unlock the secrets of paint and resins technology? Can we create coatings that are both sustainable and perform to the high standards that end consumers deserve and expect? And how would this work? 

I’m very proud that these are the questions that my company, DSM, has been tackling head-on for some time now. Since the middle of the last century, we have pioneered the use of sustainable paint coating technology, developing ingredients that are equivalent or better than non-sustainable market alternatives on functional and aesthetic performance. For us, sustainability is not just “nice to have” – it’s the only way. 

Among many other solutions, our Decovery® family of resins has taken the performance of bio-based furniture coatings to new levels. This unique family of paint resins for indoor and outdoor applications contains nearly 50% plant-based content, enabling a carbon footprint reduction of up to 34% compared to solvent-based coating systems.What’s more, this eco-friendly paint resin is durable and chemical-resistant; it enables great furniture finishes with no yellowing effect and feels smooth to the touch.

It was great to see so much interest in our Decovery® resins and other eco-friendly solutions for furniture at the recent Salone del Mobile (Milan Furniture Fair). From my conversations there, I get the strong feeling that coating manufacturers are beginning to wake up to certain inevitabilities: both consumers and regulatory stakeholders are becoming increasingly critical of solvent-borne furniture coatings. All eyes are on developments in waterborne and plant-based coatings, and this will only increase moving forward.  

But really making a difference and driving the transition of the furniture coatings market toward a more sustainable future will take time and it will take hard work. I’m confident, though, that if we all work together – industry, regulators, and consumers – sustainable furniture can become the norm, and we can shape a better world. 

Does this sound good? If so, come with us on our journey to more sustainable furniture coatings! 

Curious to find out more about how we drive the market for sustainable furniture? Read our blog on customer-centric innovation here.

All view expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of DSM. 

Brigitte Jacobs, Marketing Manager Furniture

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