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For decades now, our society has favoured quantity, convenience and cheapness over all else. These damaging tenets have created our primary consumer culture, one that is irresponsible, environmentally unfriendly and fundamentally wasteful. Not only has this culture damaged the planet for decades, leaving us to try and heal it, but, on a smaller scale, it has also allowed small, dedicated businesses and craftspeople to struggle while retail conglomerates have reaped the benefits. 

Fortunately, with environmental activist groups leading the way, shopping attitudes have slowly begun to change, and quality products are once again being recognised as a superior investment, not just for the customer, but for the way we run our businesses all over the world. 

In this post, we’re going to reveal just how broken the furniture production industry has become over the years and share with you how, after over 50 years, we at Delcor have retained our dedication to crafting beautiful, bespoke furniture from the highest-quality materials that are each designed to offer clients a lifetime of satisfaction.

Unsustainable Furniture Manufacturing

Before we take a look at how we at Delcor have dedicated ourselves to changing the furniture manufacturing industry, let's first look at what is in such desperate need of change and the consequences of an industry that has become complacent to their responsibilities to their customers and the planet as a whole.

On average, a sofa is said to last seven years before showing visible signs of wear and tear, such as broken springs, sagging cushions or worn upholstery, at which point it is replaced either immediately or after its condition has gotten progressively worse and it is no longer usable. 

There are many problems that arise with this short lifespan, the first of which is that, often, sofas don’t even make it to the end of this seven year span, instead being replaced early in favour of newer couches or to make the most of the highly discounted prices that are seen year on year to encourage a wasteful lifestyle. This frivolous spending is ultimately damaging to both the environment and the industry, not to mention to the customers that are expected to pour their savings into something that they don’t need and that won’t last.

While the consumerist culture is damaging in itself, the true problem comes after the replacement of sofas, when they inevitably need to be disposed of. There are a number of ways this can be done, none of which are easy or good for the environment. The first, and arguably the best way of disposing of your old sofa, is to donate it to a charity. This method, however, is becoming increasingly difficult. So many people are now replacing their furniture regularly that charities cannot accept all donations and now have a very high standard for sofas in particular. Because of this, couches that have visible damage such as stains, rips or pet scratch marks will be refused. 

Upon refusal from a charity, people usually have two other options for disposal, the first of which is recycling. Unfortunately, this is no easy process. Due to the way mass-produced sofas are constructed, they can be extremely difficult to recycle as they must be properly dismantled and the components all safely separated before beginning the recycling process. This is a highly labour intensive and time consuming process, made worse by the fact that, where sofas have been through more modern manufacturing processes in which corners are cut in order to make sofas faster and for less, some of these components and materials are inseparable, making the dismantling and recycling process even more difficult. 

All of these problems combine to make the recycling process extremely costly and many people instead opt to have their old couches taken to landfill - where they will only contribute further to a growing environmental waste crisis. 

Every aspect of the modern furniture manufacturing industry suffers from these problems, all the way from design to disposal, and we at Delcor are extremely proud to distance ourselves from this wasteful system. Refusing to succumb to ease and convenience, we continue to deliver the Delcor difference to our sustainably driven customers.

The Delcor Difference

Established in 1967, we’ve never lost the belief that high-quality, sustainable furniture will always be in demand by those who reject the throw-away culture and place their trust in 100% British master craftsmanship, and we are proud to serve those clients every day. 

In order to show clients exactly how we’re combating the mass-production market for sofas, chairs and beds, we’re going to take you through our three main missions, all of which make our bespoke, handmade furniture more sustainable, long lasting and, when the time comes, easily recyclable.

Entirely Bespoke furniture at Delcor

The first step in our sustainability strategy is how we craft our sofas. 

All of our furniture is entirely bespoke and every aspect is designed and crafted according to client's exact specifications. We produce highly personal pieces of furniture at Delcor so, whether you want the arm of your chair a little wider, the back a little taller or the cushions a little firmer, we can accommodate your every wish. 

This bespoke design also extends to the upholstery of your Delcor furniture as we have an amazing choice of over 10,000 designs for you to choose from. A small sample of this collection is available to view online, and you can choose five free samples to view at home, or you can visit us in one of our incredible furniture showrooms where our design experts will personally help you to choose the perfect material, style and colour for you.

Because of our design process, much of which is completed with your input, we can ensure that, not only are the absolute best materials and practices used to create your masterpiece, but also that you will love it for years to come.

50 Year Guarantee

At Delcor, we don’t hold ourselves to the seven year lifespan of a sofa. Instead, each of our solid, hardwood frames that make the base of all handcrafted furniture from Delcor enjoy a 50 year guarantee, lengthening their lifespan and limiting waste. When we say our pieces are designed to last a lifetime, we truly mean it, and know that our master craftsmen and women produce only the best furniture frames - because we source the wood ourselves in our Delcor Northumberland mill.

Delcor Refurbishment Service

While we do everything we can to ensure that our frames are made to the highest crafting standards, we can’t provide the same guarantee to the upholstery of our sofas. 

Short of covering your furniture in an uncomfortable layer of plastic at all times that would only ruin your enjoyment of the piece, small stains and other visible signs of life are ultimately inevitable after time. While we do our best to protect your sofas from this, recommending sturdy, premium fabrics from well-established suppliers and going the extra mile to recommend longer-wearing fabrics for families with pets and young children - the very nature of our bespoke furniture designs are built to offer a lifetime of joy and happiness, and small stains or marks are inevitable after years of use. 

Instead, we offer a refurbishment service that can prolong the life of our bespoke furniture designs, without having to replace it. In this service we strip down the piece, whether it be a bed frame, sofa, armchair or anything else, and inspect the frame. The majority of our refurbishment projects show the frame in excellent condition, but, should anything need fixed or replaced, we will do this and return your frame to top condition. After this, we then reupholster the piece according to your exact specifications. We can either return your piece to you with the same fabric to remain true to your interiors, or you can choose to breathe new life into your sofa by choosing a completely new colourway or fabric - the choice is always yours. 

The Delcor refurbishment service is the perfect way to return your sofa to its original, immaculate condition without having to buy an entirely new set of furniture. This anti-waste mentality significantly reduces the number of sofas going to landfill and saves our clients a lot of money in the long run.

Invest in Sustainable Furniture from Delcor

Tired of replacing your sofas every seven years? Reject the modern attitude of irresponsible consumerism by investing in a beautifully bespoke, long-lasting sofa from Delcor. 

To start your design process, take a look at our furniture base designs online or visit your closest Delcor showroom to chat design with our talented team of furniture specialists. 

*50-year guarantee applies to Delcor’s solid hardwood frames only. For further information on our warranty, or our excellent Manufacturing Guild Mark - please refer to our guarantee page.