Investing in Furniture: The sustainable side of Design Icons

Investing in Furniture: The sustainable side of Design Icons

In the world of furniture design there exists a timeless allure where style and craftsmanship meets longevity, where each piece tells a story on its own. For those who value authenticity, craftsmanship and sustainability, taking a deep dive into furniture as a value investment is well worth the time.

Whether it be a second-hand piece that is already seen as a design classic - think Parker, Hans Wegner and Eames, to name but a few - or a well made piece from a modern designer that has all the hallmarks to make it a future classic; money spent on quality furniture is a good investment whichever way you look at it.

So what elusive qualities come together to make a piece of furniture an ‘Icon’?

Aesthetics and Functionality: these two aspects are intrinsically linked. The most important quality of a piece of furniture is to be functional. A chair must be comfortable, a table must be steady. All the furniture that has endured through time, the functionality of the piece is undisputed. The Eames Chair is a perfect example with its slightly tilted back that cradles its user in its soft leather seat. Aesthetics is a little harder to define but to be aesthetically pleasing a piece of furniture must have a balance. Its curves and lines need to be in proportion to each other.

Craftsmanship and enduring quality: in addition to being beautiful and functional, a classic piece of furniture needs to be well made. It needs to be produced with exceptional attention to detail and consideration given to the longevity of the materials and finishes used; a design classic is built to last.

Broad Appeal: An iconic piece of furniture must appeal to the masses. At a price point that may not necessarily be easily attainable for everyone it should not be beyond comprehension for most.

Why buy a 'used' piece?

Sustainability: In today's world, sustainability is a crucial consideration for many of us and second-hand furniture provides a sustainable choice that aligns with environmental values. By opting for pre-loved design classics, you contribute to the circular economy, where items are reused and repurposed rather than discarded. This not only reduces waste but also minimises the carbon footprint associated with new furniture production.

Investment Potential: Beyond their intrinsic beauty, design icons often appreciate in value over time, making them savvy investment choices. Unlike mass-produced furniture that depreciates rapidly, iconic pieces from renowned designers tend to hold or increase their value. So not only do you get to enjoy the beauty of them today, you stand to reap a financial reward in the long run.

The classic Eames Lounge and Ottoman are a perfect example - when first sold in 1956 this pair would have set you back $US310 (that is approximately $4000 in today’s money) but an original chair in excellent condition will now cost you around $US10k. Even a brand new genuine version (Herman Miller do still make them) will cost you about $US8.5k.

Getting it right: If you do decide to invest in an iconic piece of furniture be sure to do some research into the ways to identify it as genuine. There are many replica products out there so be sure you aren’t paying top dollar for something that isn’t the real deal.

Identifying Future Design Classics

As trends evolve and tastes change, identifying modern pieces that will become design classics requires a keen eye for innovation and enduring appeal. Characteristics such as timeless design principles, innovative use of materials, and a strong cultural impact often signal a piece's potential to become a future classic. Designers and brands that push boundaries while respecting heritage often create pieces that stand out amidst the transient nature of contemporary trends. By understanding these factors, you can make informed decisions that not only enhance your living space today but also hold promise as valuable investments for the future.

Here a few furniture pieces that we think have the potential to stand the test of time:

Chromeo Arm Chair and Ottoman by Sarah Ellison


H chair by estudio persona



Rib Table by Nau

Lockers by Mustard Made 

Convex Stool by Made by Morgen

Time to embrace Timelessness
Investing in well made classic furniture offers more than just a furnishing choice —it's a statement of values and an investment in enduring beauty. Whether for their craftsmanship, sustainability, investment potential, or personalisation opportunities, these pieces enrich living spaces with stories of heritage and design excellence.

For those who appreciate the blend of history, craftsmanship, and sustainability, iconic furniture designs represent a compelling choice that transcends trends and embodies a commitment to a stylish, sustainable lifestyle.


Image credits:

Eames chair -

Parker table -



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