Cheap furniture attracts sustainably minded young people despite existence of more sustainable alternatives; can a struggling antique and upcycled furniture sector convince them otherwise?

A new (made in China) chest of drawers has a carbon footprint 16 times higher than the antique equivalent per year, according to research commissioned by the International Antiques and Collectors Fairs (IACF).

But buying antique and upcycled furniture remains a niche activity despite its green credentials, the enthusiasm of designers and success of upcycling websites like Remade in Britain and Etsy. The Antique Collectors Club Annual Furniture Index reports that the English antique furniture market is struggling, while a study into furniture retailing by Mintel, published in December 2014, shows growth in the new furniture market. UK customers spent nearly £14bn on new furniture in 2014.

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