What Is Burl Wood, and Why Is It Trending in the World of Home Dècor?
Burl wood furniture and décor is having a moment in the design world and it's not difficult to see why. "Burls are a growth in a tree that indicates stress of some form or another," explains Jay White, technical manager at Oakwood Veneer Co. "Burls are like snowflakes in that no two are alike and can produce wonderful patterns, and once an individual burl is processed and made into a panel or piece of furniture or turning, you will never see another like it again."
With their one-of-a-kind appearance, it's no surprise that furniture and décor items made of burled wood are popping up more and more in contemporary interiors. "The wood of the burl has a very unusual and beautiful abstract grain pattern that is highly sought after, especially for furniture," says interior designer Michelle Lisac. "Burl has gained in popularity recently due to its character. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but it is entirely unique. No two pieces of burl will ever be the same."
Curious about what kinds of stylish elements you can incorporate into your home? We asked a couple of interior designers for their favorite finds, and here's what they had to share.
Lisac says to never underestimate the impact of a side or coffee table in your living room. "Smaller tables are an extremely popular style of burl wood furniture," she explains. Interior designer Maggie Griffin adds that burled wood looks especially impressive on tables with clean silhouettes. "I like the blend of the pretty burl pattern with modern-lined furniture," she explains. "Especially on Parsons style tables—it can really sing and bring a warm tone to an otherwise modern room."
If you aren't ready to commit to a large piece of burled furniture, Griffin suggests trying a burl wood tray, such as the CB2 Marq Square Burl Wood Tray ($50, cb2.com), instead. "A burled wood tray can work wonders on a coffee table or nightstand," she says. "If you're unsure about a trend, starting small is always the best way to go."
Looking for a gorgeous way to make a statement in a room? Lisac recommends investing in an eye-catching bar cabinet or credenza, like Jonathan Adler's "Bond" Credenza ($3,850, jonathanadler.com). "It's a great use of burl since the doors are so visible on a vertical plain," she explains.
Searching for a stylish way to show off a large piece of burl wood furniture without overwhelming the rest of the room? Griffin suggests subduing a big, burled wood chest with other interesting décor accents. "Consider a fabulous burled wood chest with a traditional mirror over it, flanked by small works of modern art, and a beautiful blue and white lamp," she says. "It's all about mixing and matching!"
When all else fails, Lisac says you can always count on a chic burl wood picture frame, like the Williams Sonoma Exotic Burl Wood Gallery Picture Frame (from $65, williams-sonoma.com), to liven up a space in no time. "If you want to experiment with the burl wood trend in a smaller dose, buy a burl wood picture frame," she says.