This ’80s Wood Trend Is Back, and It’s Coming for Your Living Room

published Aug 21, 2020
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Wood furniture never really goes out of style. Sure, certain pieces are clunkier than others, and some species, finishes, and styles of wood come in and out of fashion. Most designers would agree, however, that wood is a versatile material because it brings texture, warmth, and charm to a space. For these reasons, a wooden item of some sort is almost always a welcome addition in any room. But this fall, if the new collections from the big home decor brands are any indicator, it’s going to be all about tambour.

If “tambour” sounds familiar but you can’t quite place it, I got you. Tambour is more of an aesthetic application method than a specific type of wood, per se—think a building material that’s composed of closely set wooden strips. It’s almost like beadboard, but it’s flexible in most iterations. Sometimes those strips slide into grooves along the sides (or the tops or bottoms) of pieces of furniture, almost like a sliding door. This functionality played a part in tambour’s earliest use cases.

“Tambour had moments back in the 1790’s on desks then was reimagined in the 19th century with roll top desks,” says designer Gunnar Larson. “More recently, this material graced ’70’s and ’80’s kitchens with rolling tambour cabinets where you could store kitchen appliances or bread and snacks.”

Tambour isn’t just loved for its mess-hiding capabilities though; some of today’s pieces mimic the texture of tambour just for sake of its graphicness. For those that do have true tambour sliding doors, however, this material can be space-saving, too. “Tambour allows for the door to roll back into a cabinet or desk rather than having doors swing open,” Larson says. “What I love about the design and look of it is that it is so sleek and modern yet boasts texture and pattern in a simple way.”

Want to get in on tambour trend? These stylish pieces will help you introduce—or reintroduce—tambour into your life. One thing to note: Because of the functionality of many tamboured pieces, these items can be a little bit on the expensive side. Keep your eyes peeled for vintage finds for the best deals on tambour.

Credit: Pottery Barn

Arlo Tambour Round Storage Coffee Table

Round coffee tables can streamline traffic flow in a living room, making them great for smaller spaces. With its four compartments and oak tambour detailing, this design packs a lot of punch for its relatively compact footprint.

Credit: Etsy

Tambour Shelf

Try to find a cuter way to incorporate tambour into your home than this shelf. I’ll wait! All kidding aside, this vintage teak looker would be at home in any boho living room. Just top it with a plant and fill it with your favorite books.

Buy: Tambour Shelf, $175.00 from Etsy

Credit: Wayfair

Tambour End Table By EQ3

These ash wood end tables would make beautiful nightstands. You get two deep, adjustable shelves to stash everything you need bedside, but the tambour doors keep it hidden so your room feels calm and uncluttered.

Buy: Tambour End Table By EQ3, $349.00 from Wayfair

Credit: CB2

Tambour Storage Bench

Tambour gets a modern makeover with a dark finish and brass handles on this curvy, splurge-worthy storage bench. It has plenty of room for shoe, umbrella, and hat storage and can pitch in as extra seating when needed.

Buy: Tambour Storage Bench, $999.00 from CB2

Credit: Crate&Barrel

Fayette Corner Bookcase with Storage

If you have an empty corner, this shelving unit is the perfect way to fill it. Use it as a bar cabinet, where you can stash your spirits away safely behind the closed tambour door. You could also try it in a dining room if you don’t have room for a full buffet. Display your decorative dishes up top and keep your other serving pieces below. Of course, books are option for the shelves, too.

Buy: Fayette Corner Bookcase with Storage, $799.00 from Crate&Barrel

Omega National Wood Tambour Kitchen Straight Appliance Garage

You heard it here first: Appliance garages are about to make a comeback. Install your own with one of these kits from Omega, which come in five different wood finishes. Then you can keep your counters clear for good!

Buy: Omega National Wood Tambour Kitchen Straight Appliance Garage, Starting at $143.27

Credit: Etsy

Baker Furniture French Regency Cherry and Brass Tambour Table

Add extra warmth to your living room or sitting area with this vintage cherry tambour table. The pretty brass trim on the tabletop gives it an extra dose of character.

Buy: Baker Furniture French Regency Cherry and Brass Tambour Door Nightstand/Table, $285.00 from Etsy