Cardboard Furniture – What’s the fuss about?

Cardboard furniture has been around for many years, but has recently gained a lot of popularity due to the focus the world is putting on sustainable living. Cardboard is of course fully recyclable, so can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way even after the furniture has served its purpose.

More than just eco-friendly, furniture made from cardboard is also durable and lightweight, and fairly easy to assemble.

One of the most iconic pieces of cardboard furniture ever made is the Wiggle Chair by world-famous architect Frank Gehry. This funky chair was created by cutting the design out of many pieces of cardboard that are kept together with hidden screws and fibreboard edging.

This ability to cut or mould pieces of cardboard in just about any shape you want, is also making it popular with both manufacturers and end-users. It makes it so easy to produce a personalised piece of furniture or décor. Think asymmetrical coffee tables, Victorian-style tables and fold-away desks and tables that can be taken with you wherever you go. They make for great conversation starters too!

Aside from flat cardboard pieces, designers are also using cardboard tubes to create chairs and benches. Some combine the two to create one-of-a-kind pieces. And if you think all of this brown material makes for boring décor pieces, think again.

Cardboard furniture is modern and fresh, with the secret to its beauty lying in its simplicity.



Everyone is getting in on the act

It’s not only designers that are getting on board with this trend though. DIY and décor stores are also cashing in. It’s been reported that Australia’s DIY Living and Ikea ship some of their products with instructions or ideas on how to make furniture pieces from the boxes you receive your order in. Ikea’s ideas differ slightly in that they don’t suggest you fold the boxes in any weird way – you just build a bed or table with them.

In South Africa, it seems that only a handful of designers and design companies are experimenting with cardboard. One company that seems to have taken to this material is They import beautiful cardboard furniture and playthings for children from Israel. They have, for instance, a colourful fire station for boys and a gorgeous doll house for girls. You’ll never say they’re made from plain old cardboard!

Make your own – it’s not impossible!

If you’re now feeling inspired and unable to wait around for a local manufacturer to pick up on the trend, why don’t you have a go at making your own cardboard furniture? You don’t have to start with a bed; start small with a desk or chair. Even if you fail, you’ll have a lot of fun experimenting!

Chantel Harris

Don’t know where to start? A Google search will do. And if you don’t have cardboard lying around, ask for it at grocery shops (just ensure what you get is sturdy) or buy boxes from packaging companies if you’re willing to make a small investment.

Remember that you won’t only be learning a new craft – you’ll also help protect the earth, one cardboard box at a time. It’s a win-win situation!