One design element that I love to use is faux bamboo furniture. I think the warmth and patina of these antique or vintage pieces layer well with new and antique furnishings. It can be a wonderful element of a “collected interior”! Faux bamboo has been popular since the 1860’s and was introduced to the West via the China trade in the 18th century.
American faux bamboo is fairly rare because only one company, R.J. Horner, really specialized in manufacturing it, and not much was made. It was bought in the 1890’s mainly for the large shingle-style summer houses in Newport and Maine. There were numerous pieces manufactured, such as beds, armoires, desks, bookcases, dressing tables, and lots of fanciful chairs. Although many of these pieces look rather delicate, they are surprisingly sturdy.
The English made their faux bamboo with oak, pine and burlwood. American pieces were often maple, especially bird’s-eye maple. French faux bamboo was made of pine, with maple turnings. If a piece of faux-bamboo furniture has a marble top, it is likely French. If you don’t love the color of faux bamboo, of course you could always give it a fresh coat of paint in a color that works into your color pallet. Personally, I like the warmth of the nature finish of all of the vintage pieces. Recently I used one of my favorite pieces from my lake house, a faux bamboo bookcase, for my Cashier’s Designer Showhouse bedroom.
Below are a few more beautiful pieces!
You can use faux bamboo in so many ways… the possibilities are endless!