The DIY boom of 2020 and a renewed interest in how our homes feel has added fuel to the fast-homeware flames. In an effort to encourage consumers to repair their furniture rather than repurchase, IKEA will be selling replacement parts.
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The flatpack furniture favourite will be offering assembly pieces like dowels, nails, and bolts for most of the furniture. In the future IKEA also plans to offer extra armrests, cushions, and wood planks.
That means if your Billy bookshelf needs a dowel replacing it’s an easy fix. You won’t need to shell out on a new piece of furniture. ‘You can find most of the spare parts that you might need through IKEA customer service,’ says the company’s website. Great news for the planet and our wallets.
IKEA also says that ‘by 2030, the potential to repurpose, repair, reuse, resell or recycle will be built-in to every IKEA product’. The flat-pack furniture firm is also launching a ‘Buy Back‘ scheme so second-hand items will be available in store.
This reflects our heightened preoccupation with the impact of our homeware purchases. Over the years, fashion retailers from H&M to PrettyLittleThing have entered the homeware arena. This means we’re now able to buy our pyjamas and pots and pans without even opening a new tab.
And it’s not to say we should feel guilty for enjoying an H&M Home browse. We’re certainly not aiming to dampen the joy of marveling at new decorative pieces. But with the ultra-convenience of online shopping and the pull of next-day delivery comes responsibility.
Looking around our homes, most of us will be confronted with the uncomfortable truth that a fraction of our furniture had a former life. Perhaps there’s a vintage side table you love, a bedframe donated by a friend and a desk nabbed from Facebook Marketplace. But could there be a few more charity shop treasures?
Shifting our mentality so that repairing our furniture is no big deal will help us form more sustainable habits. Likewise, we need to make sure buying mass-produced items is not the default. ‘It’s not about saying no to new or mass-market products completely, but about finding a balance and choosing wisely,’ says Hannah Rouch, Gumtree’s Chief Marketing Officer.
‘Taking the time to explore and track down a pre-owned, vintage or second-hand good find, allows you to breathe new life into items and ensures that a less than box-fresh piece of furniture or decorative item doesn’t go to waste. It’s also, often, far less expensive than buying something brand new,’ Hannah adds.
Hannah also points out that having a mix of shop-bought and second-hand homeware has positive impacts beyond reducing waste. It creates an ‘eco-system’, supporting tradespeople with knowledge and skills around repairing furniture. It also makes for a more dynamic market for small businesses that sell reclaimed items.
Before you donate that Malm dresser, see if it isn’t beyond repair – with spare parts easily available, we now have no excuse.