Decorating Lesson: Faux Bamboo

August 31, 2012 | By | Comments (16)
Roxy Owens of Society Social

Roxy Owens in her signature hostess gown. / Courtesy of Society Social

Everywhere we look, we are seeing faux-bamboo furniture. It’s chic, airy, and striking — perfect for the fresh interiors that we strive for in the South. Because bamboo’s slim reeds are such a breezy contrast to our climate’s thick humidity, the furniture was originally intended for porches and patios.

It didn’t take long for Southern decorators to recognize bamboo’s potential for interiors. Why? We love to link our outdoor spaces with our indoor spaces and we love to create interiors that are both beautiful and hospitable (Hospitable — that’s our code for comfortable.). Bamboo makes this an elegant possibility. It’s rare to find a piece that works just as well on the porch as it does in your foyer. Imagine a vinyl lawn chair in your living room. No thanks. Now, picture a pair of Chinese Chippendale chairs mixed into a formal living room. Ah, yes! Can you feel the fresh air circulating again?

Just a piece or two of bamboo can instantly downplay a formal space or liven up a boring room. Recently, we’ve noticed our Southern design staple gaining in popularity especially amongst the preppy and glamorous New York set. The renewed interest has inspired fresh takes on the classic. Now it comes in a rainbow of colors and finishes that feels very right now.

North Carolina native, Roxy Owens is the leader in the bamboo furniture movement. She designs and sells her own line through her company Society Social. She recently introduced her second collection of furniture in her Manifesto Manalog, which features contributions from several of her chic design blog friends (Mrs. Lilien, Jamie Mears from I Suwanee,  Mimi & Meg, to name a few).  Below, Roxy, herself, was kind enough to share a quick lesson on the history and the manufacturing technique of bamboo.

Loren Console

Loren Console from Society Social

It has passed the trend test. Faux bamboo originated in Asia. Western traders discovered it along the Silk Roads and brought it to the West during the 18th century. Even Louis XIV used the faux-bamboo motif at the Palace of Versailles!

Beverly Loung Chair

Beverly Lounge Chair from Society Social

Not to be confused with natural rattan, faux-bamboo is man-made through a meticulous process. Each piece is cast from a hand-crafted mold and then assembled together. The look varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Society Social’s slim reeds are a decades old, well-kept trade secret.

It works anywhere, from beach retreats to city flats. Peruse through the portfolios of celebrated Southern designers like Phoebe Howard, Celerie Kemble, and Tobi Fairley for bamboo inspiration.

If you’re ready to buy, Roxy recommends a few ways to incorporate bamboo into your home according to your personal style.

Hayworth Bar Cart

Hayworth Bar Cart from Society Social

If Hollywood Regency is your style, try an over-the-top gilded headboard or vintage-inspired bar cart.

Angie Hranowsky

Charleston designer, Angie Hranowsky, stands beside the faux-bamboo chandelier in her own dining room. / Photo by Laurey Glenn

Are you more of a neo-traditionalist? An ornate mirror or intricate chandelier stands out against clean-lined furnishings.

Faux Bamboo Chairs

In a natural finish, faux bamboo chairs feel right at home in this Little Rock living room. / Photo by Alexandra Rowley

If your taste is still evolving, but you know you want bamboo choose a natural-like finish that will blend easily into any room.

What other classic decorating pieces would you like to know a little bit more about?

Decorating with Bamboo Furniture

Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

You can also look through our gallery of Bamboo-Inspired Decorating for more style inspiration.


  1. Bamboo Armchair Score – Moonfield Interiors

    […] Southern Living […]

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  2. Mercedes

    I’ve been using faux bamboo in all my homes for decades. It’s a classic look and always feel fresh. Especially the gilded versions. Thanks for this wonderful overview and for the great sourcing information.

    September 25, 2012 at 11:38 am
  3. Kelly

    I love the gold bamboo mirror in the 1st picture. Can you tell me where it came from?

    September 23, 2012 at 8:12 pm
  4. Amy @ Triangle Honeymoon

    Such a great article. Faux bamboo is definitely a trend, but so timeless at the same time. Spoken by a true Southerner I suppose.

    September 19, 2012 at 10:52 am
  5. neatsmart

    I love the faux bamboo trend. I keep trying to find pieces of it on Craig’s list so I can bring it home and paint it. It really does go with everything!

    September 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm
  6. mimi

    Love the Bamboo trend, It reminds me of growing up in Hawaii!!!

    September 10, 2012 at 8:17 am
  7. Bromeliad

    Bamboo seems to fit more styles than I imagined.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm
  8. Bridgitte Betty

    Great items, but does not ship to Canada or so it seems by site. And although a great range, seems a copy of other lines in the past. Inspiration or copying? A fine line it would seem?

    September 6, 2012 at 12:27 am
  9. Dominique DeLaney

    Love Roxy and all of her faux bamboo!!!

    September 5, 2012 at 5:58 pm
  10. kayce hughes

    Thanks Zoe!

    September 5, 2012 at 1:59 pm
  11. Zoë Gowen

    Hi Kayce, It’s nice to hear from you! I believe the chairs were a part of Martha Stewart’s collection with Bernhardt that has been discontinued.


    September 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm
  12. Shannon Nelson

    These are some great inspiration photos, and the Society Social Loren console is amazing! Roxy convinced me to go faux!

    September 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm
  13. Heather | Vivid Hue Home

    Love Roxy, she rocks and society social is to die for! What a great write up about her

    September 5, 2012 at 11:20 am
  14. kayce hughes

    I am a big fan of bamboo. Do you know where the chairs are from in the last photo?

    September 5, 2012 at 11:10 am
  15. mollyhillll

    This is AMAZING! Congratulations Roxy!!!!

    September 5, 2012 at 10:51 am
  16. SunKissed Sisters

    We’re big fans of Society Social and bamboo! it’s such a fun colorful line.

    September 5, 2012 at 10:41 am

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