Home Eco Friendly Guide Striking, eco-savvy decor from recycled paper and cardboard

Striking, eco-savvy decor from recycled paper and cardboard

by DrPrem Jagyasi

Most of us don’t think twice before tossing our paper and cardboard waste in the bin. When we feel particularly conscientious, we throw that “trash” in the recycling. However, there are plenty of creative souls out there that can look at that same pile of trash and look at their next masterpiece.


In fact, these days there entire lines of furniture, decorative accessories and even art in recycled wood pulp.  SmartDeco, a company owned by Trent Mayol, specializes in furniture made from heavy duty cardboard. The former neuroscience major at the University of Southern California came up with the idea for cardboard furniture when he was going through his fifth move through college housing. The logistical and packing hassles prompted the entrepreneur to start a campaign for a new kind of furniture through the crowd funding program Kickstarter and raised $15,478 in capital in a month.

Each item in the SmartDeco line is suited to what Mayol calls the “one-year lease” lifestyle. Hence, each item is easy to move and lightweight though it still is engineered to hold weights in excess of 400 lbs. a reinforcing panel and multiple layers of fiber that make them super versatile. Created for the economically savvy, the SmartDeco line features dressers, a side stand and a desk all of which can supplement regular beds and couches.


The items are offered in white or the natural cardboard brown finish called Kraft though each item is also offered with a protective plastic snap-on shelf for custom looks. Repurposed cardboard boxes are also the basic material used by Graypants, a design studio based out of Seattle. Dubbed Scraplights, the studio’s light fixture line boasts of pendant lamps that come with a fire retardant coating and dramatic shapes.

Of course, décor items made using old magazines and newspaper are a lot more common. We have Etsy seller Amy Gibson who creates mirror frames and one-of-a-kind wall art out of recycled periodicals; the origami-folded paper bowls from Israeli artist Ruti Ben Dror; papier-mâché style typographic sculptures made out of recycled paper from Restoration Hardware Baby & Child and clocks made from old colored paper that are an exclusive item handmade and sold by San Antonio artist Shannon Ruby. With so many wonderful furnishing and décor options made using recycled paper and cardboard out there, you’ll never have to settle for second hand furniture to reduce your carbon footprint.