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Green your home with bamboo

Sommer Caraway is a freelance writer and public relations specialist based in Arizona. Follow her updates on Twitter @sommerPR or check out her blog at SommerCaraway.com.

All about bamboo

Just about everyone has heard of bamboo with the ‘go green’ craze. Whereas some may think of a small indoor plant that is nearly impossible to kill, and others imagine a giant fuzzy panda bear eating bamboo in the jungle, this plant has an abundance of uses – especially in the house! Read below for insight into this exotic plant and how you can use it to adorn your humble abode.

Bamboo Kitchen

ALL ABOUT BAMBOO

According to the American Bamboo Society, bamboo is simply grass that varies in height from dwarf plants (1 foot) to giant tree-like timbers potentially growing more than 100 feet tall. Depending on the soil and climatic conditions, the more than 1,2000 species worldwide range from firm to soft, growing anywhere from tropical jungles to cold mountainsides. Bamboos are native to South and Southeast Asia and also grow in Northern Australia, parts of India and the Sub-Saharan Africa, continental Europe, and the Americas, from the Mid-Atlantic United States to Argentina and Chile.

One of the most appealing benefits of bamboo is that it does not require replanting after harvesting due to its continually growing and extensive root system, making it a rapidly renewable, natural resource. In fact, bamboo can grow up to 2 ft per day and can be harvested every three to five years, much quicker than most trees.

BAMBOO IN THE KITCHEN

Totally Bamboo, a premier manufacturer for bamboo houseware products, is most notably known for making the world's first bamboo cutting board, in addition to plates, bowls and a variety of other products.

The eco-conscious company claims, "Bamboo is 16% harder than maple wood, 1/3 lighter in weight than oak, yet in some instances as strong as steel," making it a very sought-after material for manufacturing durable products without depleting nature's resources faster than they can be produced. Also, check out this amazing bamboo countertop to spruce up your kitchen!

BAMBOO FLOORING

a.k.a. Green , an eco-friendly building center, warns people that not all bamboo is created equal and to be picky about whom you purchase your bamboo flooring from, as low-quality products can split, warp or de-laminate. According to their website, bamboo flooring costs begin at $5.49 per square foot and the product comes in two native colors – natural and amber – and three different patterns: horizontal, vertical and strand. Unfinished bamboo flooring can also be stained to other colors.

So, where can you use bamboo flooring? a.k.a. Green suggests using this hardwood surface in living and sleeping spaces, and kitchens. It may be used in bathrooms but only with extreme care, and the proper installation and finish.

BAMBOO SINKS

If you want to add some bamboo to your bathroom but aren't quite brave enough to change the flooring, check out this bamboo sink. It's sealed with waterproof polyurethane for more maintenance-free décor.

BAMBOO FURNITURE

Bamboo furniture is perfect for the family that's hard on furniture because of its strength and durability. From lamps to chairs to beds and more, check out the Original Bamboo Factory for unique homemade Jamaican bamboo furniture. Complete your room's look with natural bamboo blinds.

BAMBOO PLANTS

To add feng shui to your house, purchase some lucky bamboo. The best part of this curly plant, besides its unique look, is that it is extremely easy to care for. Keep the vase filled with bottled or purified water, add a few Green Green plant food drops every-so-often, and voila – you've added green to your space! Just remember to buy arrangements with an odd number of stalks per cultural tradition.

More on going green at home:

Guide to repurposing furniture
Guide to buying eco-friendly appliances
Real women speak: How I went green in my everyday life

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