Fawning Over Faux Bamboo


October 3, 2012 by Decorum DIYer

Aaaah, two of my favorite words in the English language:  faux bamboo. (Well, faux is technically french, but still a romance language, right?) I get chills when I see decor using faux bamboo.  I get even more excited when I find a faux bamboo treasure or two on Craigslist.   In case you didn’t know, faux bamboo is quite collectible right now, but that is not why I like it.  Actually, I really admire an Asian aesthetic and adore the small-scale and details that many of the faux bamboo pieces have.

There are really two general camps of faux bamboo, antique, like those from the 18th century and before, and vintage, those items that were made within the last century.  There are still some furniture manufacturers that produce faux bamboo-looking products today, but they tend to be more ostentatious  in their designs.  My preference is the vintage style from the 1960’s through late 70’s.  The pieces are well-made and stylish, but still affordable.  I have acquired a few pieces from Craigslist and am always on the hunt for more.  Many designers (not that I am including myself in that camp) search for these same pieces just to paint them in trendy hues.  Nothing wrong with that, but I prefer the original finishes.  I just hear the folks over at “Antiques Roadshow” in my head complaining about the value of a piece being diminished because a piece has been repainted or refinished.  I don’t expect the vintage faux bamboo pieces to become bona fide antiques, but I hesitate to change the finish, although I do like the look of many of the repainted pieces.  Here are a few examples of painted faux bamboo pieces:




(could not locate source)


Allow me to show you some of my treasures:

One of my first pieces that I acquired last year from Craigslist. A Thomasville Allegro piece in a soft, neutral yellow.

As you may or may not know, I am quite the savvy Craigslister.  I view almost every ad in both the ‘free’ and ‘furniture by owner’ listings everyday, just to look.  I do it mostly just to see what is out there, what items generally cost, and to educate myself to know a good deal when I see one. It is my virtual way of yard sale-ing or antique shopping.

When I found the ad for the above three-drawer dresser, it was a plainly titled ad ‘miscellaneous furniture pieces’ and included a photo of another piece, but my eye was drawn to the above piece that was in the background of the photo.  I e-mailed the owner to inquire and was told that he had two identical pieces and two headboards in the same style.  I was so excited!  Thanks to my husband, we were able to acquire all three, three-drawer dressers and the two faux bamboo, twin headboards for $50.  I think $50 was a great deal for three dressers and two headboards, but I soon found out that the items I purchased were worth much more.  It is nice to know that the pieces have worth to someone, but I enjoy them no matter the current value.

One of the two faux bamboo headboards that I purchased.

The proof that I indeed had a Thomasville made piece.

I did eventually sell the two headboards and one of the dressers, but kept two of the dressers to use as night stands in my master bedroom.

Recently, I spotted an entire bedroom set, sans the bed, for sale on Craigslist for $100.  Although it wasn’t Thomasville (my personal favorite), it was manufactured by Henry Link and from the Bali Hai (yes, just like ‘South Pacific’) collection.  All the pieces were also in the sweet, soft yellow finish.  Here is what I have now and am contemplating using the pieces throughout the house, or as a full set for Claire’s next room:

Faux bamboo desk and chair from the Henry Link Bali Hai collection.

The matching lighted hutch from the Henry Link Bali Hai collection.

Six-drawer dresser and matching mirror from the Henry Link Bali Hai collection.

Night stand/end table from the Henry Link Bali Hai collection.

View of the super durable tops and how the furniture pieces fit together efficiently.

A view of the beautiful and original hardware.

This week I found the matching twin, four post bed for only $85!  The bad news, it was sold before I had a chance.  Here is a photo of what I was hoping to score:

Twin, four post bed (footboard and rails not shown) from the Henry Link Bali Hai collection. The one that got away. 😦

If you like this style, there are usually pieces readily available on Craigslist and ebay, but for a hefty price.  The key is to search Craigslist for these pieces.  Many times the ad will not even state that the style is faux bamboo, rather the seller will refer to the pieces as old or vintage.  Here is a listing on Craigslist currently in Harford County, if you are interested in a desk and chair of this style:

White desk and chair for sale via Craigslist. I am pretty sure this is also from the Henry Link Bali Hai collection, based upon the specifics of the details, particularly the rounded edges outlining the faux bamboo rails/posts. The best way to determine is to look inside the drawer. Both Thomasville and Henry Link engraved the furniture maker’s name there and in some cases the style name, in this case ‘Bali Hai’, in the bottom of the drawer.

I hope that you have enjoyed my mini-education about faux bamboo furnishings and have gleamed a view into what makes my heart flutter.  Until next time…, happy Craigslisting!


13 thoughts on “Fawning Over Faux Bamboo

  1. I specifically remember accompanying your husband on a Craigslist pickup outing for faux bamboo. It is very pretty indeed.

  2. Jess says:

    I definitely think you should use this in Claire’s next room. It is beautiful!

  3. These are lovely. I bet it would be easy to make your own bamboo embellishments by cutting some actual bamboo and attaching it to furniture. Instant Chinoiserie!

  4. Diana Koehn says:

    I, likewise, was excited to find a Thomasville faux bamboo dining table on Craigslist. Now I’m looking for the leaf that goes with it. Let me know if you come across one!

  5. […] bamboo, and a great price of $50 for the pair.  You know my love for faux bamboo, remember this post? They would have been perfect for my one day living room.  I even included them in my […]

  6. April Havens says:

    HI, I have this same Thomasville bedroom set from my childhood. Has been in the same bedroom since my parents bought it. I am looking to sell the desk and chair for $150 There are no rips on the chair, desk has a fold down writing area. Both are in super good shape on the exterior. Desk interior could use a good cleaning, I did an awful lot of homework on here! Also selling the vanity, stool and mirror for $200. They are in excellent shape! Vanity has two nice size drawers and the stool has no rips. Located in the Northern Va area. Photos available.

    • Wow, April! Just now reading this. How exciting. Have you posted a Craigslist ad? If so, I’d be happy to share your advert on my blog and via my Decorum DIYer facebook page. Please, feel free to post a link as a reply to this thread or simply send me an e-mail at decorumdiyer@comcast.net .

      • Dorothy says:

        I have a Thomasville faux bamboo dresser, desk (no chair), night stand, 2 twin beds for sale in good condition. Can sell together or separately. Would like to get $100 each for desk, night stand and beds and $200 for dresser. I have pictures. Dorothy

  7. Thanks For following my blog. I am going to have to look Craigslist over soon. Been ages since I have.You have inspired me. This furniture from that time period is just beautiful painted bright.

  8. […] I’ve shared with you my major victories in the past with a previous post. […]

  9. Margaret says:

    Hi there – I just purchased a thomasville dresser from CL. Does anyone know how to paint the top part which appears to be covered in Formica? Thanks for any and all suggestions.

    • Yes. (Although, I prefer not to, if it can be helped.) It is made of melamine in most cases. Tried and true: clean, sand, wipe with cloth, paint with OIL BASED primer, let it cure well, lightly sand, wipe clean, and paint as many coats as necessary. That has been my understanding and experience.

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