Cardboard Furniture: From Cheap to Artsy to DIY

Most cardboard has a pretty high recycled content — and can be easily re-recycled or composted to boot. Plus, cardboard’s also an inexpensive material that’s light and, usually, flat — characteristics that make cardboard furniture affordable (usually, at least) to make and ship. All these qualities are making cardboard — something we often think of as a low quality, one-use, disposable product — a popular material for serious eco furniture designers!

Cardboard’s an especially popular material for children’s furniture — perhaps because easy-to-recycle cardboard makes sense to use for pint-sized chairs and little cradles kids will quickly outgrow. Green Lullaby’s Eco-Cradle (above), for example, is an all-cardboard cradle made with over 60% recycled pulp! Eco-Cradle ships flat and can be assembled quickly without tools — and can also be disassembled and re-flattened to be easily stored away for the next baby. The Eco-Cradle’s available for $99.50 at Olive and Bean Boutique.

Another cardboard baby bed option’s the customizable cardboard cot by Album di Famiglia (above). However, this boxy cot’s very pricey! Parents will have to spend $220 Euros plus UPS shipping to the U.S. at the Little Fashion Gallery to get this cot.

Lots of other kid furniture’s available at Cardboardesign, a company that offers a basic kids’ drawing table ($58) and chair (2 for $45) — but then thinks outside the cardboard box to create everything from an all-cardboard lemonade stand to a rocket to a play castle too (above). The kids can certainly enjoy playing with and using these toys and furniture, but half the fun seems to be in the assembling and decorating of these cardboard structures. Each product comes with assembly instructions — and a packaway flat box for storage.

Cardboardesign also makes furniture for adults! The light, easily assembled, flat-packed tables and chairs are especially popular with eco-companies with booths at expos and conferences, since the furniture travels easy. I see them being great for bake sales or other community events. Why lug big heavy tables and chairs around when you can easily get the same setup from a flat cardboard box?

Those cardboard pieces can apparently withstand 600 lbs of weight according to Cardboardesign’s website, but even more sturdy looking shelves, chairs, and desks — like the one above — are also available from the company.

For those willing to shop for their furniture from afar, ReturDesign Studio in Sweden offers a very large variety of furniture, ranging from basic tables and chairs to beautiful sofas (above), functional display units, and gorgeous lamps. According to CNET, ReturDesign gets many customers from U.S.! To be one of them though, you’ll need deal with currency exchanges and international shipping.

Big spenders can browse Frank Gehry designs, made by Vitra. These high end seats are gorgeous show pieces — and will put you back $480 – $985 a piece at All Modern.

Not willing to fork over that kind of cash for — cardboard? Then try your hand at making your own cardboard furniture. Foldschool has free patterns and detailed instructions for making a stool, chair, or rocker for kids!

Up for a bigger challenge? Check out this Instructables post on how to design your own cardboard furniture. These instructions were taken from a video — How Things Are Made: Cardboard Furniture — featuring Eric Guiomar of the Les Cartonnistes, a collective of French cardboard furniture makers! (via Apartment Therapy)

For more cardboard inspirations, read about the offices of Nothing, a commercial creative agency, and Beast, an ad agency (via Treehugger). Both offices were designed entirely by cardboard!

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