Properly sourced and manufactured bamboo can be an alternative to wood if you like that look but want to use something that is more sustainable in your home.
â€œBamboo is considered a rapidly renewable material, meaning that it can be harvested in less than 10 years and is used in the interiors of many types of projects,â€ said Lisa Kamphaus, an associate professor of interior design at La Roche College in McCandless, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh.
Although it is durable like wood, bamboo actually is a form of grass.
â€œIt is lightweight, strong and versatile,â€ said Kamphaus, who also is the chairwoman of the Design Division at La Roche.
â€œWhile it is commonly used as flooring, it is becoming more widely used for furniture, textiles and window coverings.â€
Bamboo traditionally has been used in many ways in Asia. In fact, Kamphaus said, there is an an Asian saying that â€œa man is born in a bamboo cradle and leaves in a bamboo coffin.â€
Now, bamboo is becoming more common in the United States. â€œBamboo definitely has become more of a mainstream product over the last 20 years,â€ said Aurora Sharrard, executive director of the Green Building Alliance in Pittsburgh. She said bamboo flooring even is available at Home Depot and Loweâ€™s.
Bamboo can be used in many places at your home, from the outside in.
Outside the home, bamboo is an attractive material for privacy fences.
Fences can be made from bamboo stalks for an Asian look or from bamboo formed into slats for a look similar to a traditional wooden fence.
Check out a variety of styles by searching for â€œbamboo fencingâ€ on Pinterest.
Designtrends.com has a web page on â€œModern Bamboo Living Room Designs and Ideasâ€ that can give you plenty of ideas for ways to use bamboo in that room.
Photos show examples of bamboo flooring and the wide variety of stains and grains.
You also can see examples of bamboo wall paneling and ceilings and even bamboo frames for sliding glass doors.
The uses of bamboo in the kitchen include flooring, countertops and cabinets. You can find more than 1,000 photos on Pinterest in the category of â€œDesign Trends: Bamboo Bliss.â€
At the Houzz website, you can check out the gallery of â€œModern Bamboo Kitchen Home Design Photosâ€ to see different styles of bamboo cabinetry.
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. â€œBamboo products can have a similar look and hardness to other hardwood floor options,â€ he said.
Bamboo flooring and paneling also can be used in the bedroom.
The About Home websiteâ€™s gallery of â€œBamboo Bedroom Floor Pictures and Ideasâ€ says that â€œbamboo has an intrinsically serene demeanorâ€ and can be a good choice for bedrooms because it promotes â€œa sense of soothing energyâ€ in the room used for slumber.
Bamboo has a place in the bathroom, too, where it can be used for cabinets, vanities and even vessel sinks.
Go to the Houzz gallery of â€œBamboo Sink Home Design Photosâ€ to see some of those sinks, along with other examples of bamboo in bathroom design.