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.
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!
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.
If you’re ready to buy, Roxy recommends a few ways to incorporate bamboo into your home according to your personal style.
If Hollywood Regency is your style, try an over-the-top gilded headboard or vintage-inspired bar cart.
Are you more of a neo-traditionalist? An ornate mirror or intricate chandelier stands out against clean-lined furnishings.
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?
You can also look through our gallery of Bamboo-Inspired Decorating for more style inspiration.