historical, pine forest has evoked one of two thoughts: way too orange kitchen cabinets from the 90s or Christmas garland. Because it’s so inexpensive — usually starting at $5 per square foot compared to $8 for popular oak — consumers equate the material with low-quality. However, the wood species, known for its knotty grain and widespread availability, doesn’t deserve the bad reputation it has received – and a recent visit to Finland for the Habitare Scholarship and Helsinki Design Week indicates that designers are going to use the material in new ways. Even Leanne Ford made her very first pine office furniture for Crate & Barrel earlier this year.
In Finland, the overlooked wood has long been loved for its sustainable nature. “Fir trees are notoriously fast-growing, so it’s a better option than slower (aka less renewable) trees like cedar or maple,” said Miklu Silvanto, creative director of furniture brand Vaarnii. And when sanded down and left in its natural state (no orange tint here!), the wood has a cool, earthy tone. Do you still have doubts? We’ve rounded up our favorite new pine pieces, plus some interior inspiration that might influence you.
The functional built-ins
To create 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 the fireplace to her hanging fishhook plants is off the floor.
The sculptural side table
Kuru Bedside Table, Old Kurri
Named after the Finnish word for ‘valley’, young furniture designer Atso Kurri’s Kuru bedside table is simple in construction (every detail is made from pine) yet striking in its silhouette – great for minimalists and maximalists alike.
The statement pendant lamp
1003 Hans Pendant by Hans-Agne Jakobsson, Vaarnii, Finnish Design Store ($1116)
Vaarnii’s 1003 Hans pendant lamp looks light as air, but is actually made of solid wood; thin strips of pine covered with pine veneer make up the layered shape. Micro-slits between each piece create an amber glow that’s never too harsh.
The versatile sideboard
Haldeman Pine Wood Credenza by Leanne Ford, Crate & Barrel ($2199)
With 12 drawers (!) of storage space for your office supplies, a growing crockery collection or even clothing, the Haldeman sideboard by Leanne Ford is a workhorse. And adorned only with a lacquer finish and cut-out finger pulls, it’s all about the pine.
The retro paneling
It is not necessary to refer pine to accents only. If you’re feeling bold, take a note of Malia Mau’s Topanga, California, home and go all out in one space. The wall-to-wall paneling in the jewelry designer’s studio adds instant warmth to the concrete floors.