The 1990s Called—It Wants You to Know This “Cheap” Wood Is Back
Rethink the material’s bad rep.
Published Sep 17, 2022 1:01 AM
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Historically, pinewood has conjured one of two thoughts: way-too-orange kitchen cabinets from the ’90s or Christmas garland. Because it’s so inexpensive—typically starting at $5 per square foot compared to $8 for popular oak—consumers equate the material with low quality. However, the wood type, known for its knotty grain and widespread availability, doesn’t deserve the bad rep it’s been given—and a recent visit to Finland for the Habitare trade show and Helsinki Design Week indicates that designers are starting to use the material in new ways. Even Leanne Ford crafted her first-ever office furniture out of pine for Crate & Barrel earlier this year.
In Finland, the overlooked wood has long been beloved for its sustainable nature. “Pine trees are notoriously fast growing, so it’s a better option than slower (aka less renewable) trees like cedar or maple,” says Miklu Silvanto, creative director of furniture brand Vaarnii. And when sanded down and left in its natural state (no orange tint here!), the wood boasts a cool, earthy tone. Still have doubts? We’ve rounded up our favorite new pine pieces, plus some interior inspo, that might sway you.
The Functional Built-Ins
In order to carve out designated zones in her sprawling Los Angeles loft, stylist Bronte Athearn constructed a 12-by-8-foot pine bookshelf that runs the length of the space. Now for just $500, everything from fireplace logs to her trailing fish-hook plants are off the floor.
The Sculptural Side Table
Named after the Finnish word for “valley,“ fledgling furniture designer Atso Kurri’s Kuru nightstand is simple in construction (every detail is made of pine) yet striking in its silhouette—great for both minimalists and maximalists alike.
The Statement Pendant Light
Vaarnii’s 1003 Hans pendant light looks light as air, but it’s actually solid wood; thin strips of pine covered in pine veneer make up the tiered shape. Micro-slits between each piece ensure an ambient amber glow that is never too harsh.
The Versatile Credenza
With 12 drawers (!) of storage space for your office supplies, a growing tableware collection, or even clothing, Leanne Ford’s Haldeman sideboard is a workhorse. And adorned only with a lacquer top coat and cutout finger pulls, it’s proudly all about the pine.
The Retro Paneling
There’s no need to relegate pine just to accents. If you’re feeling bold, take a note from Malia Mau’s Topanga, California, home and go all out in one space. The wall-to-wall paneling in the jewelry designer’s studio instantly adds warmth to the concrete floors.