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A New Favorite: Bone Inlay Furniture

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:

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a close-up of a chair from Anthropologie
a bone inlay chest from One Kings Lane

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:

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Mark D. Sikes bone inlay mirror, chair and table
Mark D. Sikes bone inlay chest from Beautiful 
Mark D. Sikes bone inlay mirror and bench
Mark D. Sikes bone inlay mirror and table (header image as well)

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:

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Anthropologie 3 Drawer Dresser $1298
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Anthropologie nightstand $698

The blue bone inlay dresser below was found at Homegoods.

Mimosa Lane bone inlay dresser from Homegoods

Wisteria has lots of bone inlay furnishings. I especially like this little Moroccan style table and mirror in the 2 images below:

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Moroccan drum table from Wisteria $549
Bone Inlay Mirror at Wisteria $529

One Kings Lane and Etsy also have substantial collections of bone inlay furnishings and many of Etsy’s selections are antiques.

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?


4 thoughts on “A New Favorite: Bone Inlay Furniture

  1. The bone inlay is stunning, and I don’t remember seeing it much since high school… I certainly will be on the look out for it now as an accent.

    Love your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

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