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 antique 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. And through the years, these natural wonders have become an integral part of the Nell Hill's look. 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, such as 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 weather-worn, freshen them with new slipcovers. Or just slip them into a king-sized pillowcase, tucking the open end underneath the cushion.
Furniture made from sustainable materials such as bamboo, rattan and wicker is hotter than ever right now. When I went to the huge High Point furniture market this year, I was so impressed by the range of beautiful pieces that I ordered hutches, dressers, accent tables, desks and chairs made from bamboo and wicker.
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 put bamboo and wicker in unusual places, too. 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.