Five places to use bamboo at your home
Photo via iStock.com
By Madelyn Dinnerstein for ProudGreenHome
If you like the look of wood but want a more sustainable alternative, properly sourced and manufactured bamboo products could work for you.
While it is as durable as wood from trees, bamboo actually is a form of grass, and its fast growth means the plants recover quickly after harvesting.
“Bamboo is used for a whole lot of things,” said Lisa Kamphaus, an associate professor of interior design at La Roche College in McCandless, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh.
She said there is an Asian saying that “a man is born in a bamboo cradle and leaves in a bamboo coffin.”
Kamphaus, also the chairwoman of the Design Division at La Roche, said bamboo boards, beams and plywood can be used in homes.
Aurora Sharrard, executive director of the Green Building Alliance in Pittsburgh, said the use of bamboo is growing in the United States: “Bamboo definitely has become more of a mainstream product over the last 20 years.”
While it once was hard to find here, she said, “now, you can buy bamboo flooring at Home Depot and Lowe’s.”
There’s no shortage of places in the home to use bamboo, and there’s no shortage of places where you can get ideas.
The Houzz website has a gallery of “Modern Bamboo Kitchen Home Design Photos” that shows a wide variety of cabinets made with bamboo.
Pinterest has more than 1,000 photos in the category of “Design Trends: Bamboo Bliss,” including a contemporary and elegant kitchen featuring bamboo flooring, countertops and cabinets.
The most common uses for bamboo in U.S. homes are in floors and cabinetry, said Asa Foss, LEED residential technical director for the U.S. Green Building Council, based in Washington, D.C.
“Bamboo products can have a similar look and hardness to other hardwood floor options, although it is very product specific,” he said.
“Typically, manufacturers tend to promote the strength, flexibility and natural resistance of bamboo.”
Designtrends.com includes a web page on “Modern Bamboo Living Room Designs and Ideas” that shows photos of living rooms featuring bamboo.
Several have bamboo flooring, and there is a wide variety of stains and grains.
Others feature bamboo wall paneling or ceilings, and there are some unusual uses, such as bamboo frames for sliding glass doors.
Much like in living rooms, bamboo flooring and paneling are used in bedroom design.
The About Home website’s gallery of “Bamboo Bedroom Floor Pictures and Ideas” notes that “bamboo has an intrinsically serene demeanor” and can be a good choice for bedrooms because it promotes “a sense of soothing energy” in the room where people sleep.
Bamboo has a place in the bathroom, too, where it can be used for vessel sinks, vanities and cabinets.
Examples of bamboo vessel sinks, along with other uses of bamboo in the bathroom, can be found in the Houzz gallery of “Bamboo Sink Home Design Photos.”
Outside the home, bamboo is an attractive material for privacy fences and can be used to create a lot of different looks.
Photo ideas showing bamboo fencing abound on Pinterest.
Read more about sustainable flooring options.