Oct 31st 2017

13 Ways to Use Bamboo Plywood in Your Next Project

Victoria Schulte

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Image Source: Designer: Gary Rochman Rochman Design-Build | Photographer: Gary Rochman | Project Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Bamboo has long been used in interior design, but advancements in the manufacturing process mean that bamboo plywood is more versatile than ever. These bamboo panels can be used in essentially all aspects of interior design in which decorative millwork materials would be used.

The advantages are that bamboo plywood is much more visually appealing product and is also a far more eco-conscious choice. Not only is bamboo a sustainable resource since it's a rapidly renewing material, but reputable companies also use low-VOC adhesives during the manufacturing process to ensure there isn't a harmful effect on the environment.

Bamboo plywood often comes unfinished and accepts a majority of different stains, but may also be carbonized. Panels can also be purchased with the natural grain running vertically or horizontally.

Whether you're designing a building with a future LEED certification in mind or you're simply going for a certain look that bamboo would compliment, here are 13 different ways to use bamboo plywood in your next project.

Bamboo Vanities

Thin bamboo plywood functions wonderfully as a veneer for bathroom vanities. The humid environment within a bathroom often requires the use of VOC-heavy sealants when wood is being used.

Bamboo is naturally more moisture-resistant, even compared to common hardwoods. The density of bamboo makes it unlikely to swell, even if the surface does become scratched. Not only will bamboo resist moisture damage as a bathroom vanity but the appearance of a wood-like product in a setting where ceramic tile and linoleum reign supreme is very visually appealing.

Custom Furniture

Custom furniture is an excellent opportunity to use bamboo. The clean lines of bamboo work well in various types of interior decor schemes, even quite modern looks. Bamboo plywood is naturally smooth and requires a much less complicated finishing technique. Unfinished bamboo plywood can also be stained to any color that's needed.

Bamboo plywood is quite durable, naturally long-lasting and scratch-resistant. This material is useful for commercial furniture in offices, retail stores, restaurants, and more.

Soffit Boxes

Recessed lighting is a popular choice and creates a wonderful ambiance in any room. It makes the room appear larger as it takes up less visual space than hanging lights and is great for lighting walls that feature artwork or other statement decor. Soffit boxes are often needed for effective recessed lighting and bamboo plywood is the perfect material.

Bamboo is lightweight and can easily be shaped or curved. Bamboo plywood is fairly clear in terms of having a lack of knots or defects that wood may have, which makes it a great backdrop for the lighting itself.

Coffered Ceiling

Coffered ceilings are a surprisingly easy way of adding a touch of elegance or luxury to a building. They can be constructed quite easily and offer benefits such as increasing the value of the building and reducing noise in commercial buildings located in busy urban areas.

Coffered ceilings are surprisingly versatile and bamboo plywood can easily accompany them for a warmer look. Contemporary coffered ceilings in which exposed "beams" are used are a perfect situation in which bamboo plywood may be used.

Alternatively, bamboo plywood can be used inside each coffer or "box" within the grid. Bamboo coffers with black beams are quite stunning and offer a unique approach to Asian-themed rooms requiring a ceiling treatment.

Kitchen Cabinetry

A kitchen space often serves as an important area for building occupants to gather, whether it's for lunch or a simple break during the day.

Cabinets are one of the more important features in a kitchen. Bamboo is an excellent material to use for custom cabinetry where a wood alternative is wanted. Unfinished bamboo plywood can easily be painted, though many agree that a stain is a great way of preserving the natural look of bamboo.

Bamboo cabinets offer a more contemporary, clean feel to a kitchen space whereas classic wood can often look too heavy or cluttered.

Built-Ins

Built-ins are a popular technique in interior design to add storage space that blends in seamlessly with the room. Often times these built-ins function as display shelves, bookcases or workspaces. Built-in workspaces or desks, for example, are an excellent way of making a room seem larger and less cluttered.

Bamboo's durability and lighter weight make it ideal for built-ins, either making up the entire structure or serving as shelves. Using bamboo plywood finished with a rich stain looks quite stunning in an otherwise neutral, light-colored room.

Decorative Framing

When it comes to adding finishing touches in interior design, bamboo is great to work with and ideal for small, detailed projects. Bamboo plywood is an ideal choice for framing or trim around doors, windows, or mirrors.

This material could also be used in place of molding or baseboards on walls. Don't forget that bamboo can be useful in sign-making and art as well.

Floating Shelving

Floating shelving can be found in a number of different commercial buildings, from offices requiring storage to retail stores needing display space. Floating shelving is a nice choice where built-ins aren't wanted or aren't structurally possible.

Bamboo plywood shelving is an excellent alternative to regular wood. The multiple layers making up bamboo plywood look unique and attractive, often not needing trim to cover the edges. Simply being sanded smooth, with perhaps edges rounded for some needs, and finished with a stain or sealant is all that you'll need to do.

These floating shelves may be fixed or constructed in a way that allows for shelf height adjustability.

Wall Coverings

One of the more popular uses of bamboo plywood is decorative wall coverings. Using this material as a veneer it is a stunning method of covering walls, while maintaining a polished look.

Using bamboo panels allows you to create coverings with either the natural lines of the material running vertically or horizontally, with the former helping to add the illusion of height to the room.

The overall appearance of bamboo makes this idea particularly useful in buildings that are going for a fresh, clean or eco-conscious appeal.

Interior Doors

Custom made interior doors are an ideal for bamboo plywood. Bamboo interior doors are smooth to the touch and dense enough to provide some function as a sound barrier compared to thin hollow doors.

Design-wise, you can create simple paneled doors or more elaborate ones with Rockport, Shaker Plank or Slatted designs. You could also create swinging doors, french doors, or bi-fold doors.

Keep in mind this material is perfect for bathroom doors and dressing rooms doors as well.

Sliding Doors

Sliding doors or pocket doors don't have to be unsightly. While this style of door isn't too common in commercial settings, they are useful for small areas in which storage shelves or closets need to be hidden and a normal door or bi-fold will eat up precious space.

Bamboo plywood, used for the entire door or as veneer, is perfect for sliding doors. This material is also a great choice for a more modern approach to exposed sliding barn doors. When paired with surrounding bamboo wall coverings the natural horizontal lines make pocket doors look nearly invisible.

Staircases

Wood staircases can be made to look more contemporary by the use of bamboo plywood in various parts of construction. It is possible to use thick bamboo plywood within the stair tread, but don't forget about other creative uses.

Stairs that will have heavy foot traffic may benefit more from bamboo plywood veneer on risers or the stair string. This is a great choice for modern buildings that have stairs with metal tread where a contrast with an organic material is desired. Bamboo plywood may also be used as a decorative inlay within staircase landings.

Room Dividers

Buildings with open floor plans may need to have room dividers in place to function as cubicles or simply act as a visual barrier for different parts of the room. Bamboo plywood makes for excellent room dividers that look anything but cheap, and are highly functional compared to bulky traditional wood and metal options.

The Verdict: Versatile, Sustainable and Gorgeous

Bamboo plywood is beautiful, highly functional, and just as easy to work with as regular plywood. It is an excellent environmentally-friendly choice for green buildings where a look similar to wood is the goal.

The 13 ideas featured above are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you can do with bamboo plywood in architecture and interior design.