Today Chris writes:

My partner and I are remodeling our 40 year old house and we have hit a major roadblock! We both have agreed on wood cabinets, but neither of us know what type to get. The problem is we want something environmentally friendly but don’t know how to make a good choice in this realm.What environmentally friendly kitchen cabinets would you choose?

When it comes to environmentally friendly kitchen cabinets, you’ve got a few options to choose from. What works best for you guys really depends on your style and how environmentally conscious you wish to be. Because you’ve said that you both want wood, here are your two main options when it comes to being environmentally friendly:

#1 Use your old cabinets! Repainting, refacing or re-staining your existing cabinets will help keep them out of a land fill and stop new resources from being used up! Obviously this option doesn’t work for every kitchen remodel, but if you like the layout of your existing cabinets, the size and quality work for you, refinish the existing instead of replacing. This will save you hundreds to thousands of dollars. And there are many options out there from refinishing your own cabinets to hiring someone else to do it.  However let me stress the most important point here. In order for this to work, you need to love your existing cabinet layout and size. Otherwise reusing your existing cabinets will do you no good. And no matter which direction you go, you can make sure the paints, stains or glues are low VOC and environmentally friendly.

Environmentally Friendly Kitchen Cabinets

#2 Renewable resources! Consider going with a fast growing renewable resource like bamboo.  Since bamboo is actually a grass and not a tree it grows at a much quicker rate, it only takes 3-7 years to reach maturity and be ready for construction purposes.  While trees are a renewable resource, they’re a slow growth renewable resource. Depending on the tree species, it’ll take closer to 30-70 years for a tree  ready to be harvested. If you’re going with a wood cabinet, it’s important to make sure that it is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified. This means that an independent certifier has followed the wood from the forest to the manufacturing plant, making sure sustainable forestry practices were being followed. If you go with something like bamboo or a FSC wood kitchen cabinet, it’ll be an environmentally friendly choice either way!

Now I know you asked specifically which cabinets I would go with and I didn’t really answer that question directly. This is because I don’t know any of the specifics of your kitchen or your style?

There really is no secret here, you’ve just got to go with something that suits your life and your home. You probably already know what type of wood or even the color you like. So stick to that and just ask if it’s FSC certified!

One other thing. Each region of the country has its own environmentally friendly kitchen cabinet companies, so you may not even be able to find my suggestion locally. In addition, cabinets are expensive to ship, plus eat up a lot of natural resources to be shipped. So you will do better going with someone locally if you intend to truly stay environmentally friendly.

Do you have questions about the selecting or the installation of: tile, carpet or wall treatments (window blinds, etc)? Then email me your tale of woe(diva(at) and perhaps I will be able to answer your questions right here at the Home Makeover Diva Blog.

Written by Amanda Hartley