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Like so many throwback decorating classics before it (Chinese Chippendale being a current favorite) it’s time to give faux bois, meaning “false wood” in French, a second look. Arriving on the scene in the 19th century, the art of manipulating a range of materials to mimic natural wood took off after French garden guru Joseph Monier dreamed up a concrete bridge made to look like it was constructed of logs. Today, faux bois has been translated into an astounding array of mediums, including fabrics, wallcoverings, and furniture. Want to tee up a fab faux bois moment of your own? Here are four ideas to try.

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Photo by Eric Piasecki / OTTO / Design by Nina Farmer

Roll It Out

Electrify a room with a faux bois wallpaper in a popping hue like green, blue, or red. The orderly grain will lend elegance, while the unexpected color will dial up the impact. Consider working it into a kid’s room or playroom if you’re looking for decor that can grow with your babe.

Tackle It with Textiles

Like animal print, faux bois is an undercover neutral, making it an enticing option for textiles and rugs. Depending on the color, the curvaceous pattern of faux boise can read ultra-modern or all but disappear in quiet, subtle shades. For design aesthetes who favor more traditional styles, faux bois’s curves also partner well with shapely styles like Neoclassicism.

 Photo by Floto+Warner / OTTO / Design by Rafael de Cárdenas/Architecture at Large

No Paint, No Grain

If a bit of whimsy is more your thing, go with a painted faux bois finish. A custom paint job on the walls or ceiling allows you to gauge the grain yourself, so you can go wider to nail an avant-garde, post-modern statement, or more detailed if it’s traditionalism you’re aiming for.

Photo by Eric Piasecki / OTTO / Design by Thom Filicia

Factor in Fab Furniture

Pieces featuring flat surfaces like coffee tables or dressers can be painted to look like wood, while seating and occasional tables can be crafted from materials like plaster and iron to mimic twigs and branches. Regardless of how it’s tricked out, faux bois furniture is an easy way to imbue your spaces with both kookiness and sophistication—a combo we always dig.

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Lead photo by Floto+Warner / OTTO / Design by Rafael de Cárdenas/Architecture at Large

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February 10, 2020

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