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Elements of Design: Bamboo, Raffia, and Other Special Materials

Updated: Oct 11, 2020

Do I want something classic or contemporary? Something quiet and understated or something bold and unexpected? Should it fit perfectly with the current style of the room or take the room in a new direction? These are a few of the most basic questions that we all start with when we consider a new piece of furniture. With inspired uses of special finishes such as bamboo, raffia, rattan and seagrass, the Curate Collection by Century Furniture allows you to have a little bit of everything! We just love how Century combined touches of the unexpected in this collection with forms that are both classic and contemporary.

The Avalon Lounge Chair

When you choose items made from special materials like bamboo, raffia, seagrass or rattan, you add a warm layer of the unexpected to your space. The most sophisticated decors are eclectic, mixing patterns, materials, colors, and styles into a subtle and natural whole. An entryway is a perfect place to begin setting the visual theme of your home with special materials. A touch of bamboo, rattan or woven materials in an entryway table or chest signals a playful willingness to defy expectations. It makes a promise to your visitors that there will be more interesting things to follow!


Did you know that bamboo is really a large grass and not a wood? It is just as hard as many kinds of wood and because it is both so strong and flexible, it has been a staple of building and furniture making in many parts of the world for centuries. One method of using bamboo involves crushing the bamboo into mats which are then layered into panels and sanded smooth. This is called "crushed bamboo" and the patterns it creates are so both distinctively warm and beautiful! Bamboo has the added advantage of being one of the most sustainable furniture materials as it grows several times faster than wood and does not require re-planting after it is harvested. Curate by Century includes a Bamboo Collection featuring crushed bamboo in a variety of furnishing, including the Carlyle Credenza and the Biscayne Cocktail Table, both pictured here in Mink Grey.

The Carlyle Four-Door Credenza

Biscayne Cocktail Table


Raffia is another of my favorite special finishes in the Curate Collection! Raffia is a woven material made from the fibers of leaves from Raffia Palms. You will sometimes see Raffia referred to as a "grasscloth." When used as a furniture finish, the woven material is wrapped around the furniture frames, creating a unique silhouette. Raffia appears delicate but it sturdy material with a uniquely beautiful and luxurious texture. The Monterey Side Table combines its Raffia wrap with brass nailhead trim for an extra layer of detailed sophistication.

The Monterey Side Table


Seagrass is a woven material that makes for an exciting and unique furniture finish. Unlike the Raffia wraps, which are tightly woven from fine strands of fiber, seagrass is woven from bundles of wide grasses and the result is highly textured. Its natural texture brings a special warmth to the room, as with the Amelia Chairs pictured below.


Rattan and wicker are often confused for one another as the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Rattan refers to the strong wood of various climbing palms from Malaysia which is used to make the frames of traditional Rattan wicker. Sometimes the woven cane "wicker" material is also made from part of the Rattan palms. Rattan can also be used without the woven wicker material and it can be so stylistically versatile! The Curate Collection features Rattan pieces in a variety of different styles from traditional to highly contemporary. We've gathered a number of these pieces for you to browse here:

The Curate Collection is full of adventurous and exciting pieces made with some of my favorite special materials. Each is crafted with quality and style in mind to make a perfect addition to any eclectic home!

Please, let us know which piece you liked best! And reach out for more information about any of the pieces here or to learn more about Century Furniture and the Curate Collection.


The Team at MLB Designs.

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