Why Cardboard Furniture Is the New Trend in Interior Design

Why Cardboard Furniture Is the New Trend in Interior Design

Many sustainable trends around interior design aim for the return of nature in our spaces. Whether it’s an office or a living room, experts tried blending smart buildings with natural tones and minimalist spaces to enhance natural resources, such as light, and mitigate sustainability. 

Considering that green buildings are energy-efficient and not much more expensive than building regular establishments, innovations in interior design are truly making sustainable changes to develop better solutions for the environment. 

A recent trend in interior design regarding sustainability includes using cardboard from furniture and other elements inside a building. However, it may be controversial for some to choose this type of material for furniture because it doesn’t seem to provide enough stability. 

Interestingly enough, cardboard is stable and good-looking. Here’s why. 

How is cardboard furniture possible?

Cardboard furniture is not what you think ―its composition consists of various paper-based boards, such as corrugated fibreboards, heavy paperboards or honeycomb boards. This concept is not something new in the world of design. Frank Gehry, a Canadian architect, created the iconic Wiggle chair in 1972, which is still manufactured to this day. 

Cardboard furniture is included in the RTA sector (ready-to-assemble) due to the fact that products can be flat-packed easily. However, each type of product has a special mix of cardboard and similar components. But any kind of product can be created with cardboard, from beds, benches and chairs to tables and stools. 

Considering that cardboard is highly recyclable, it’s easy for companies to contribute with their own cardboard products and transform them into furniture. For example, collaborating with Mil-tek for using cardboard balers helps avoid waste and convert this material into something useful. 

Pros and cons of using cardboard for furniture 

Unlike many other materials, cardboard is an easy element to bend and transform into unique shapes, which is why you see mainly unusual designs made from cardboard. Plus, cardboard is cost-efficient since cardboard boxes and similar materials required are inexpensive, and their manufacturing, delivery and installation don’t require considerable financial effort. Cardboard furniture is also better for clients since it’s easy to move around the house. And given its environmentally friendly and lack of harmful substances, it appeals to many Gen Z customers. 

However, using cardboard has a significant disadvantage: it loses its strength and characteristics if placed in a humid room. Given that cardboard furniture already lasts only for more than a year, humidity would substantially decrease the product’s lifespan. 

Care guidelines 

Being a more sensitive piece of furniture, you must ensure proper care of cardboard products to increase their chances of being reliable for longer. So, it requires several layers of varnish to avoid stains. At the same time, being composed of combustible material, cardboard-based products should be kept as far as possible from heating appliances. These pieces require daily dry cleaning with a feather panicle or a soft dry cloth. 

What can you make with cardboard?

Cardboard is one of the best materials to enhance designers’ creativity, being so easy to mold. It is flexible, pliable, and can take almost any form in the hands of someone skilled. Some pieces of furniture are effortless to create, such as the following:

  • Shelves in the shape of squares or curved;
  • A computer desk with enough strength due to multiple layers glued together;
  • An office desk is possible with adequately processed cardboard;
  • A cardboard bed can also be a lightweight and elegant choice for your framing;
  • A coffee table along with two unique chairs;
  • shoe rack with triangular segments;

How to choose the proper cardboard material 

When building something that could last for longer, you need to research the required cardboard types and construction guidelines. There are many types of cardboard, with multiple layers and consisting of small waves, with thickness depending on the layer. Before starting such a project, begin analysing cardboard based on its front side and inside-out design to determine what’s best. Here are some tips on buying the piece that first your design vision:

  • Single-layered materials are great for creating curved subdivisions inside a bigger furniture piece;
  • Two-layered materials are perfect for designing vertical walls in cabinets or drawers;
  • Three-layered materials are best for framing the outer walls of furniture;
  • Five-layered materials are great for making walls, countertops and shelves;
  • Cellular cardboard used to be included in aircraft manufacturing, but currently, it’s the base for soundproof interior doors and insulating entrance structures; 

Strengthening cardboard materials 

Choosing the best type of cardboard is not enough; you also need to provide enough support to increase the product’s lifespan. The most common way to do it is by protecting the cardboard with parquet varnish, which should be applied to the finished product before creating it. You can make the structure long-lasting with the help of PVA construction glue. 

When designing it, choose symmetrical structures instead of irregularly shaped ones because they provide more stability and strength. At the same time, support should be included, especially in the case of making a chair or bed. And the last tip is always to opt for dark cardboard as it’s stronger than white materials. 

Why is sustainable interior design so important? 

The trend of using cardboard for interior design has deeper reasoning. Sustainability concerns are rising and are affecting the planet, for which experts, designers, and artists are looking for solid alternatives. Moreover, eco-friendly interior designs can lead to a warmer building, less humidity and more happiness. Employees and families are happier living in a bright, economical and natural environment, for which plants are introduced anywhere possible and less toxic construction materials are used more than ever. The common goal is to make the planet a better inhabitable place from both the environmental and human perspectives. 

Final thoughts 

Cardboard furniture is the latest trend in interior design materials, but it has been around for a while. With current climate change concerns, this alternative to other materials is the best way to reinvent interior design and minimise waste from companies. What is your opinion on creating furniture from cardboard? 

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.