The rapid increase in popularity enjoyed by bamboo for use in interior product design mirrors the speed with which the plant grows. It is prized for its strength and environmental benefits. Many designers and their clients are turning to this wonder material for the modern, vibrant aesthetic it provides. Bamboo is a 21st century alternative to your grandmother’s heavy, ornate, and perhaps dated, traditional wood furniture.
Abundance and Sustainability
To start, we should understand that bamboo is not a tree. It is a grass. That means it has a fast growing cycle. For designers with clients concerned about deforestation and sustainability, bamboo is the perfect solution. The stalks can grow up to nearly 50 feet and are remarkably thick. Bamboo has an interconnected root system that allows groves to regenerate a lot faster than timberland. Planters can harvest bamboo without having to replant.
A Sound Environmental Choice
Bamboo is one of the plants that breathes in carbon dioxide and emits oxygen. That helps clean the air inside the home. Clients who come to designers with concerns about health issues, like allergies and other serious respiratory ailments, can be easily accommodated with an introduction to bamboo furnishings.
Bamboo doesn’t require pesticides for healthy growth. Clients who are opposed to having their homes furnished with materials that may contain the remnants of harsh chemicals or possible carcinogens can feel confident when designers suggest incorporating bamboo into contemporary decor. For clients with light sensitivity issues, bamboo is a perfect choice because it absorbs ultraviolet light. It also has the added benefit of absorbing sound, making rooms quieter and more serene.
Because of its elasticity bamboo lends itself to an infinite variety of designs. There are contemporary designers stretching the boundaries of the material and creating furniture that tests the limits of its potential for maximum flexibility in ways that underscore bamboo’s strength and lightness.
Designers can give clients their choice of styles and finishes in tables, chairs, beds, flooring, wall finishing, and even bed sheets. Many homeowners associate bamboo with the far east in style. In fact the wood is used as much to create rustic furnishings as it is to create contemporary designs.
The characteristics that make bamboo such a popular wood for furniture are the same that make it such a good choice for flooring. Flooring is often made from engineered bamboo. This has the advantage of being more durable and less likely to warp if it is exposed to constant moisture. It can be used for outdoor patios and porches. Flooring can also be made from stranded bamboo. This uses shredded bamboo fibers and adhesive components to create flooring sheets that are more durable than 100% bamboo.
Designers and architects love bamboo for its strength and elasticity. Bamboo is stronger than steel. It has been used for making a lot more than just furniture. The material is used in the construction of bridges, boats, and scaffolding. Because of its strength, bamboo furniture can be created with sleek modern design that looks deceptively fragile yet has the same weight bearing capacity of much heavier tables and chairs.
Bamboo is lightweight. That makes transporting it easier and cheaper. It also makes redecorating a snap. Traditional hardwoods are subject to swelling and shrinkage depending on the amount of moisture they absorb. This makes traditional wood furniture susceptible to warping. But, the furniture doesn’t have the same reaction to moisture. Its original shape and design will remain unchanged over the course of time.
The downside is, continuous exposure to sunlight and inclement weather will have a negative impact on it, that’s why, outdoor bamboo furnishings should be kept under patio overhangs or on protected porches.
Ease of Maintenance and Preservation
It’s natural resistance to water is one of the reasons bamboo is so easy to maintain. A damp cloth is all that is necessary to keep it clean. Caution should be taken if using cleaning fluids. There is no need for messy polishes or chemical laden cleaners to preserve the wood. Termites, mold, mildew are not problems for homeowners who choose this material. Bamboo is more scratch resistant than other hardwoods. It keeps its color when other woods have faded or become uneven in color.
Designers and their clients are becoming increasingly aware of their responsibility for protecting the limited natural resources available on the planet. The use of bamboo is one way to do that. It is sustainable and environmentally friendly as well as durable, versatile, and visually stunning.