Last night, I was perusing through my favorite interior designer Mark D. Sikes’ new book Beautiful (which is truly beautiful) and as I was studying the rich details of the rooms that he has designed I was struck by his prolific use of bone inlay furnishings.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with bone inlay, it is a wood working technique that has been around for centuries and is most common in India. The craftsmen actually insert small pieces of animal bone, mother-of-pearl, or metals into the surface of the wood to create intricate and beautiful patterns that are flush with the surface.
Here are some examples:
Bone inlay furnishings are works of art and add an interesting and exotic element to a space. They also add a little luster and shine to a room.
Here are some examples of rooms designed by Mark D. Sikes where he uses bone inlay furnishings:
Although Sikes’ designs are classic and all American looking, the bone inlay pieces and the chinoiserie elements give his rooms a touch of global exoticness.
I found a few sources for purchasing bone inlay furnishings in case you are interested.
Anthropologie currently has quite an assortment and some of it is very colorful:
The blue bone inlay dresser below was found at Homegoods.
Wisteria has lots of bone inlay furnishings. I especially like this little Moroccan style table and mirror in the 2 images below:
Because I am a bargain hunter, I will be scouring resale shops and estate sales and I am fairly confident that if I am patient I will eventually find a little bone inlay treasure. I would love to find a small decorative box or tray. I will keep you posted on my search.
In the meantime, while I was doing research for this post I came across photos of several pieces of furniture that had been painted using stencils to mimic the look of bone inlay. They were pretty convincing and what a great budget-friendly DIY alternative! Here is a link to a site where you can watch a step-by-step tutorial on how to stencil furniture and here is a site where you can purchase a set of Indian inlay stencils.
What do you think of bone inlay furniture?