Wicker furniture works incredibly well in any room

  • By Mary Carol Garrity Scripps Howard News Service
  • Tuesday, August 17, 2010 5:29pm
  • Life

I still remember the glee I felt when I moved into my very first apartment. After years of decorating and redecorating my childhood bedroom (and every other room Mom would let me get my hands on), I finally had a place of my own to trick up. To stretch my decorating dollars,

I liked to hunt for finds at flea markets and antiques malls. It was in these dusty gold mines that I fell hard for furnishings and accents made of wicker and bamboo.

Today I’m still just as smitten by the organic lines, rustic texture and romantic grace of wicker and bamboo.

Here are some tips for incorporating these beautiful and Earth-friendly pieces into your home.

Today’s wicker furnishings have come a long way from that crazy, creaky chair you had in your college dorm room. Now, wicker is not only sturdy, it’s incredibly chic. In fact, today’s wicker is so stylish it will be at home in every room of your house.

Wicker is so neutral you can pick pillows in just about any style or hue, and it looks great. My favorite color combination right now is cream and brown jazzed up with an infusion of green, gold or orange. I like to pick a mix of fabrics that weave in a variety of patterns, such as buffalo checks, geometric shapes and images of nature, like palm leaves.

If you’ve confined your wicker furniture to your back porch or patio up until now, why not invite it in when the weather gets cooler? Instead of storing your wicker chaise, sofa, chairs and ottoman in the garage or basement, work them into your interior decor.

If the seat cushions are a bit weatherworn, freshen them up with new slipcovers. Or, for a super-easy and inexpensive alternative, slip them into a king-sized pillowcase, tucking the open end underneath the cushion.

Furniture made from sustainable materials like bamboo, rattan and wicker is hotter than ever right now.

If you’d like to experiment with bamboo or wicker in your decor, start by adding just a piece or two. Put a bamboo end table in your living room. Ring your dining-room table with rattan chairs.

Spice up your bedroom with a wicker chest of drawers. Store your china in a bamboo hutch. Or tuck a wicker bench at the foot of your bed.

You can even put bamboo and wicker in unusual places. For instance, a few years ago, I bought a cute bamboo vanity for my downstairs powder room. After 20 years, I still love it. It hasn’t lost its beauty and is so neutral that I can put anything with it.

If you’d like to add rich texture to the displays in your home, work in some accents made of natural materials like wicker, bamboo and rattan. You’ll find all sorts of interesting items made of these wonderful, eco-friendly materials, from rattan baskets to willow cake plates.

For example, I like to put vintage-looking bottles that come in willow baskets on the shelves of my hutch.

Whether they are made from willow, wicker or bamboo, eco-friendly baskets are wonderful. Stack a few on top of your armoire, bookcase or secretary to create an interesting display.

Place one on the floor by a chair, top it with a tray, and you have an instant table. Put one by your back door to hold mittens. Or place one on your hearth to collect kindling for winter fires.

Adapted from nellhillsblog.com, which can be linked from the nellhills.com home page.

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