Please help me buy a couch without fire retardants
December 10, 2015 6:41 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find an affordable, healthy couch. I'm looking for a couch without flame retardants like PBDE and without polyurethane foam. But everything I find is WAY out of my price range.

Here's my ideal couch:
- no chemical fire retardants
- no polyurethane foam
- low offgassing frame (e.g., solid wood, low VOC / non-formaldeyde glues and finishes
- has a low back, lower than maybe 28" (so it can go in front of a window)(less important)

For example, I found this one that is great except that (once you select the latex cushion option) it costs $5700! Here's another for the comparatively low price of $4400.

If I could have one more wish, it would be for a couch that's deep enough for someone to easily lie down. I'm currently kind of in love with this sofa, though an upholstered and angled arm (like the options above) would be more comfortable for leaning back against.

I'm not necessarily looking for a couch we can use forever, as we're likely to move. But I do need something I can use for a couple years, and those years will include years 1-3 of our soon-to-be newborn's life, so I'm trying to get something healthy. So, something somewhat casual would work, or I could finally buy a real, adult sofa ... just not one that costs $5000. Thanks!
posted by slidell to Shopping (9 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
"All Ikea couches manufactured after January 1, 2015, are made without chemical flame retardants. But until Ikea sells out its 2014 stock, check product labels to ensure that you are buying a 2015 flame retardant chemical-free model."
http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2015/03/five-couches-without-flame-retardants-you-can-buy-right-now
posted by RoadScholar at 7:01 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The couches listed on the page RoadScholar links still have polyurethane foam. I think that's what's driving your price up much more than the absence of flame retardants.

What about a futon with a natural mattress? But probably when you say "adult sofa" you're not thinking "futon." Or again, maybe a pretty daybed with a non-PU mattress? But even just a plain latex or wool mattress can be pretty expensive.
posted by mskyle at 7:22 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Does it need to be brand new? If you have the time to shop, there are multiple avenues (Craigslist, local consignment shops, etc) for finding used couches that might meet your criteria while being much cheaper than new.
posted by cubby at 7:27 AM on December 10, 2015


Does it need to be brand new? If you have the time to shop, there are multiple avenues (Craigslist, local consignment shops, etc) for finding used couches that might meet your criteria while being much cheaper than new.

Unless you go really old (midcentury at least) used couches will not be flame retardant free. IKEA is a good option. West Elm also often has sales and has switched its stock to flame retardant free.
posted by three_red_balloons at 7:57 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh whoops, missed the no foam requirement. West Elm does have down sofas.
posted by three_red_balloons at 8:01 AM on December 10, 2015


We ended up going with Elka Home (your 'cheaper' pick) when we faced this conundrum. Yes, they're still expensive and their designs tend more to mid-century modern than your pick, but they still have some good options at a lower price point (~$3000). All the Elka pieces have organic latex foam, organic cotton/wool upholstery, no VOC wood finishes and FSC certified wood frames.

Apartment Therapy also has a top ten green furniture companies listing for further shopping.
posted by givennamesurname at 8:05 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Another option is to take the ikea couch or something similar and have the foam cushions replaced with latex. The foam shop near where I live will take your cushions, replace the existing foam with latex and take your old foam off your hands. It's still on the pricey side and you'll still have the frame issues but it might be worth checking out.
posted by snez at 9:10 AM on December 10, 2015


Check with your local furniture reupholstering companies. They may have furniture that has been done to your specifications, but was never claimed. They would then be eager to sell it to you. Or, ask them if they have any furniture that is pending reupholstering, but they are looking for a customer to buy it.

I have been told by these guys that old furniture pieces have much more sturdy frames.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 10:42 AM on December 10, 2015


Thanks! There are some ideas here that I hadn't considered! We are currently looking at futons, actually, but the idea of simply replacing the foam is also a good one. Unfortunately, down is also a no-go due to a close friend's allergies. Thanks again!
posted by slidell at 7:54 AM on December 12, 2015


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