Vintage Burl Wood Furniture is This Year's Most Unexpected Comeback

The daggiest furniture in your grandma's house is making an unexpected comeback. Side tables, credenzas, coffee tables made from burl wood furniture are popping up for sale on our favourite vintage sellers' Instagram accounts and in our favourite stylish homes (see: Poppy Lissiman, Kelly Thompson, Jemima Aldridge).

It could be the nostalgia frenzy that 2020 has thrown us into, or it could just be that the unique and whimsical patterns in burl wood provide the aesthetic boost our homes have been calling for. Whatever the reason, burl wood furniture is one throwback that's really hitting the spot right now.

Here's exactly what you need to know about burl wood—the what, the where and the how.

What is burl wood?

A "burl" is a kind of growth that happens when a tree has grown in a deformed manner. When a tree has undergone some kind of stress, usually by some type of mould or insect infestation, a knot-like growth (a burl) will form on the trunk, usually underground but sometimes above.

From adversity comes beauty—burl wood is some of the most sought after by furniture makers and artists alike and has been for centuries. The unique, detailed, unusual, swirly grains are one of nature's most beautiful and luxurious happy accidents.

Where to find vintage burl wood furniture?

This is one trend you can definitely try your luck with at relative's houses, as well as in secondhand furniture stores in your neighbourhood and Gumtree. Expect to pay premium prices on the curated vintage accounts on Instagram and Etsy, but you're more likely to come away with a truly unique piece in tip-top condition.

How to style burl wood furniture

The beauty of burl wood is that it's a strong look that is also neutral enough to play along with other strong looks. Pair your burl find with vintage rattan or a velvet sofa. Burl also balances nicely alongside trusty IKEA basics. Just remember to think bricolage—it's all about mixing, matching, layering and using your intuition.

Paintings from classical time periods will tie the old-world effect nicely, and a houseplant nearby will speak to the organic, natural notes that burl wood offers.

Enjoyed this? Here is the lowdown on this year's cosiest trend—bouclé chairs.

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