Bamboo is one of the hottest sustainable materials right now, and for good reason. Using bamboo for furniture and home decor is an excellent way to reduce your environmental impact. Bamboo is a renewable grass that can grow back to maturity in just 3-5 years, without the need for replanting. This rapid growth cycle makes bamboo a much more sustainable material than traditional woods. Bamboo also requires very little water, pesticides, or fertilizer to thrive.
In this post, we will discuss the pros and cons of bamboo furniture, the top 5 most popular types of eco-friendly bamboo furniture, what to look for when choosing sustainable bamboo pieces, and frequently asked questions about bamboo. By the end, you’ll be ready to make the switch to green bamboo furniture!
The Benefits of Choosing Bamboo Furniture
Bamboo furniture offers many advantages over traditional materials:
- Sustainable & Renewable: Bamboo regrows rapidly without replanting and requires very little resources to grow. This makes it much more eco-friendly than slow-growth woods.
- Durable & Sturdy: Properly treated bamboo is often harder and more scratch-resistant than many wood varieties. Quality bamboo furniture can last for decades.
- Antibacterial: Bamboo contains an antimicrobial agent called kun that reduces mold, bacteria, and fungi growth. It’s the perfect material for kitchens and bathrooms.
- Customizable: Many bamboo furniture makers offer custom sizing, stains, engravings, and more. You can get pieces tailored specifically for your space.
- Affordable: Bamboo furniture is typically comparable in price to similar wood pieces. There are budget options under $100 as well as intricate furniture from $200-$500.
- Aesthetics: Bamboo has a beautiful natural grain pattern and color that ranges from light tan to deep amber. It can work in any decor from traditional to modern.
The Top 5 Most Popular Types of Bamboo Furniture
1. Bamboo Chairs & Stools
Bamboo chairs and stools are a popular choice for sustainable, comfortable seating. Bamboo dining chairs add warmth and nature to any eating space, while bamboo bar stools make an eco-friendly statement in kitchens or game rooms. Rocking chairs and armchairs made from bamboo have an organic feel perfect for porches and patios.
When choosing bamboo chairs and stools, look for:
- High quality joinery for durability
- Smooth sanded edges that won’t snag clothes
- Comfortable seat cushions/ergonomic shapes
- Protective finishes and treatments
Brand highlight: Greendigs makes sturdy bamboo chairs and stools with comfortable fabric or bamboo cushion seats. Their pieces blend sustainability with on-trend styles.
2. Bamboo Beds & Bed Frames
For the ultimate sustainable sanctuary, choose bamboo bedroom furniture. Bamboo bed frames are an eco-friendly alternative to wood. Bamboo has natural antibacterial properties that make it perfect for bedding. Platform beds and headboards crafted from bamboo have an earthy, minimalist look.
When shopping for bamboo beds and frames, look for:
- Durable, high-quality joinery in the frame
- Non-toxic stains and finishes
- Slatted support systems for comfort
- Simple yet stylish designs
Brand highlight: EcoChoices makes solid bamboo slat bed frames that are low VOC, antimicrobial, and sustainable. Their pieces feature dovetail joinery for strength.
3. Bamboo Desks & Office Furniture
As working from home becomes more popular, bamboo office furniture allows an eco-friendly workspace. Bamboo desks have an airy, minimalist look that enhances productivity. For open concept offices, choose a bamboo shelving unit or credenza to conceal clutter.
When selecting bamboo office furniture, consider:
- Adjustability features like height adjustable legs
- Cable management holes to corral wires
- Sturdy joinery that can support devices
- Simple organization and storage
Brand highlight: Totally Bamboo makes adjustable height desks perfect for stand-up work. Their office pieces are durable and sustainable.
4. Bamboo Dining Sets & Kitchen Items
The kitchen is the heart of the home, so furnish it sustainably with bamboo dining sets and kitchenware. A bamboo dining table surrounded by chairs creates an inviting, nature-inspired eating space. Bamboo cutting boards, utensils and organizers keep your kitchen green.
For bamboo dining and kitchen furniture, opt for:
- Dining sets sized appropriately for your space
- Non-toxic, food-safe finishes on surfaces
- Comfortable, durable dining chairs
- High-quality craftsmanship
Brand highlight: Bambu Home offers beautiful 6 and 7 piece dining sets made from 100% renewable moso bamboo. Their tables and chairs are handcrafted for quality and sustainability.
5. Bamboo Shelving & Storage
Declutter your home with the help of eco-friendly bamboo shelves and storage solutions. Bamboo bookshelves have an airy, modern look that showcases items beautifully. Modular cubbies and drawers crafted from bamboo seamlessly store clutter.
When selecting bamboo shelves and storage, look for:
- Customizability and flexibility
- Hidden hardware for a streamlined aesthetic
- Materials and finishes resistant to moisture
- Proper support for heavy items
Brand highlight: Wayfair has a vast selection of bamboo shelving units and drawer sets with eco-friendly assembly. Their modular pieces maximize storage with style.
How to Choose Sustainable Bamboo Furniture
Once you’ve selected the type of bamboo furniture you need, here are some tips for picking out quality sustainable pieces:
Look for Trusted Environmental Certifications
Reputable certifications like FSC, Greenguard Gold, and ISO indicate sustainable sourcing and manufacturing processes. These include:
- FSC certification shows bamboo was ethically harvested to protect forests and communities.
- Greenguard Gold certification means the furniture meets strict standards for limiting VOC emissions.
- ISO 9001, 14001, and more verify quality, environmental, and health and safety practices.
Evaluate Construction Quality and Design
Higher quality bamboo furniture will last longer and shed less emissions over time. Look for:
- Bamboo ply construction rather than low quality veneers which can peel or de-laminate.
- Expert joinery like mitered corners that won’t loosen or split. Avoid cheaper doweled joints.
- Simplicity in design – more minimalist pieces allow the natural beauty of bamboo to shine.
- Smooth sanded edges that won’t snag on clothes or pose a splinter risk.
Choose Non-Toxic Finishes and Treatments
Many mainstream furniture brands use toxic glues, stains, and lacquers. Seek out eco-friendly alternatives like:
- Food-safe oils and waxes that protect bamboo naturally without hazardous chemicals.
- Low-VOC or no-VOC stains made from plants, minerals, and other safe ingredients.
- Water-based glues and adhesives that don’t release harsh fumes like chemical varieties.
Shop Small and Local for Sustainability
By purchasing bamboo furniture from small suppliers, artisans, and local stores instead of big retailers, you support sustainable businesses and reduce environmental impacts of shipping.
Do Your Research
Ask plenty of questions before you buy:
- Where was the bamboo sourced and manufactured? Ethically-sourced moso bamboo is best.
- What assembly is required? Look for eco-friendly, low-VOC adhesives and finishes.
- Can the furniture be repaired or recycled at end of life, rather than sent to the landfill?
- Does the company offer warranties or guarantees? This often indicates durable, quality products.
- What types of certifications, emissions testing, or sustainable practices does the brand employ? Do your research to make sure their values align with yours.
Find the Balance Between Cost and Quality
Cheaper bamboo furniture often doesn’t last as long or shed more emissions during manufacture. But the highest priced pieces are not always the best either. Seek out reasonably priced items from reputable sustainable brands.
Read Lots of Reviews
Reviews often reveal important details about comfort, durability, and quality. Bamboo can vary greatly between brands, so choose carefully.
Test in Store First When Possible
If buying locally, test pieces firsthand to assess comfort and functionality. Examine joinery, finishes, storage space and more up close.
Consider Customization for a Perfect Fit
Many eco-friendly bamboo companies let you customize furniture with special dimensions, colors, engraving, and more. Get pieces tailored specifically for your space.
Match Your Decor Style
Bamboo can work in any aesthetic – match your furniture to your taste. Go for sleek and modern, rustic and natural, or classic and traditional styles.
By carefully evaluating each piece using this criteria, you’re sure to find quality, sustainable bamboo furniture perfect for your home.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bamboo Furniture
1. Is bamboo furniture high quality and durable?
Yes, good quality bamboo is often harder and more durable than many wood varieties, like oak or pine. When properly treated and sealed, bamboo has incredible scratch-resistance and tensile strength. That being said, some cheap bamboo products may warp or deteriorate faster under daily use. Stick to reputable brands.
2. Does bamboo furniture splinter easily?
Quality bamboo that is treated with non-toxic finishes will not splinter easily. Bamboo can split when manufacturers use low-quality adhesives or lacquers to assemble and finish the furniture. Opt for pieces with mitered joints and food-safe waxes and oils to prevent splintering.
3. Is bamboo furniture expensive to buy?
Bamboo furniture is typically comparable in price to similar wood furniture pieces. There are very affordable options like small stools or shelves starting under $100. More intricate bamboo pieces like dining sets, desks, or sectionals can range from $200 to $500 on average.
4. Does bamboo furniture require special cleaning or care?
One of the advantages of bamboo is that it’s relatively easy to care for. Simply dust frequently with a soft, dry cloth. For deeper cleaning, use a mild soap and water solution and dry thoroughly after wiping. Avoid excessive moisture and oil buildup on surfaces. Unlike some wood furnishings, bamboo does not require seasonal polishing or special treatments.
5. Is bamboo truly sustainable and renewable?
Yes, bamboo is one of the most renewable resources on the planet! Some species of bamboo can grow a remarkable 39 inches in just 24 hours. Unlike slow-growth trees that take decades to mature, most varieties of bamboo reach maturity within 3-5 years without ever needing to be replanted. With responsible harvesting, bamboo manufacturing has relatively low environmental impact.
6. Are there different grades and colors of bamboo?
There are a few common species of bamboo used in furniture. Moso bamboo is the highest quality – it’s dense, durable, and stunning. Moso bamboo has a light tan coloration and appealing grain patterning. Maohou bamboo is a more affordable, faster growing species with a slightly more variable grain. There are also carbonized bamboos that use steam to achieve darker color tones ranging from light amber to nearly black.
7. Does bamboo have natural antimicrobial properties?
Yes! Bamboo contains a substance known as kun that acts as a natural antimicrobial agent. The kun in bamboo restricts the growth of bacteria, mold, mildew and other microbes. This makes bamboo furniture an excellent choice for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and outdoor spaces where mold could otherwise be an issue. The antimicrobial qualities contribute to the low maintenance needs of bamboo.
8. Can you custom order bamboo furniture?
Many high-quality bamboo furniture brands and local artisans offer customization options. From sizing to finishes to engravings, custom-made bamboo allows furniture tailored specifically for your space and needs. Expect to pay 10-15% more for customized bamboo pieces. But the investment may be worth it for long-lasting, eco-friendly furniture designed just for you.
9. Is bamboo good for outdoor furniture?
With proper preparation, bamboo can make excellent patio, porch and outdoor furniture. Look for pieces specifically designed for exterior use with finishes and treatments to resist moisture, fading, rotting, and UV damage. Untreated bamboo will quickly deteriorate and warp outdoors, so make sure to choose exterior-rated pieces.
10. Where can I buy good quality, eco-friendly bamboo furniture?
Some of the best places to shop sustainable bamboo furniture include local eco-friendly furniture stores, online retailers like Wayfair and Amazon that carry green brands, or directly from bamboo specialty manufacturers. Carefully read reviews, product details, certifications, and warranties before purchasing. Always dig into a brand’s sourcing and production practices as well. Shop mindfully and you’ll find beautiful, sustainable bamboo furniture for your home!
Go Green With Bamboo Furniture
Bamboo offers an eco-friendly, renewable alternative to traditional furniture woods that is gentler on the planet. When produced sustainably, bamboo furniture even sequesters carbon, helping combat climate change. By thoughtfully selecting pieces made from ethically-sourced bamboo and non-toxic finishes, you can furnish your home with health and sustainability in mind.
The natural beauty of bamboo adds warmth and texture to any space. Its antimicrobial properties and durability make it perfect for busy homes. With customization options, you can get creative with tailored bamboo furniture for your exact needs and style.
While cheap bamboo imports have given it a reputation for being lower quality, there are plenty of stellar options made by reputable brands devoted to sustainability. Do your research and invest in well-made bamboo furniture for a green home that will last for years to come. The planet and future generations will thank you!