The Case for Wavy Wood

Is this a thing?

Jenna Hochman

Mid-century modern Danish teak and I are on a break. A glimpse into our relationship thus far: MCM teak was my reliable, classic, my go-to — there for me for the big stuff like dining, office work, not to mention bedside. A part of me will always love Danish modern, but I just started seeing someone new... I can't stop thinking about wavy wood!

I guarantee you've seen wavy wood — lumber hewn into biomorphic shapes — lurking on your Instagram Explore page and linked in the newsletter your cool friend who lives downtown writes. Wavy wood has been making the rounds in mirrors, chairs, benches, room dividers, but especially in tables. More generally, organic shapes are everywhere right now, wood being just one raw material getting its groove on amongst blobby glassware, candles, cushions, plaster, and more.

How can I explain the allure of a wavy wood?

It's hard to deny the collective desire to return to nature, and more specifically, to the natural order of asymmetry. There's a soothing accord in structural curves wavy wood boasts, mimicking the flowing of water and the spirals of wood grain. Rounded edges satisfy our needs for softness, a tenderness with ourselves and each other after enduring a year that highlighted the harshest, most violent realities of our world. Emerging from our lodgings after a painful and isolating year inside, we are all craving connection to each other and our natural world. As we await the aid to end the pandemic globally, we can expect to see (and seek) more objects that cultivate nature's calm at home.

Wavy wood satisfies another key desire: a sense of play. Wacky, unexpected details like the curved edges of a table evoke a carefree vibe, an irreverence toward straight lines and narrow thinking. Blobs, squiggles, and scallops are youthful silhouettes that promote creativity and fun by omitting hard, geometric edges. A natural evolution of the maximalism, irony, and kitsch occupying our spaces in 2020, we continue to value expressive decor that makes us laugh and adds a touch of levity into our everyday lives.

TL;DR, wavy wood is funky, lighthearted, while also exuding groundedness. It's this duality that leads me to believe you can choose wavy wood for anywhere and anything you'd expect to be made of wood in your home and expect to make it last, regardless of the trend cycles. (I'll keep my eyes peeled for wavy wood sideboards to coincide with the 70s redux.)

Keep scrolling for our wavy wood wish list:

Brooklyn's Lichen produces limited batches of waved bamboo room dividers in two stains, Natural and Honey — an iconic and timeless design comparable to Alvar Aalto's screen for Artek. If your home doesn't have one of Lichen's bamboo dividers... are you really an it-girl?

WITCO (or Western International Trading Co) is a big name in wavy wood furniture — the MCM importing company crafted and carved tropical and tiki-inspired furniture. This vintage table (available via Richmond's Commodity Fetish) shows off waves in the form of smooth carving and wood grain.

Maison S is a French couture home decor brand that defies standardization in design, prioritizing uniqueness — which is coincidentally the perfect recipe for gloriously asymmetrical wood. Seen here: the Pampa coffee table is constructed of solid oak and cane, bringing a contemporary feel while retaining warmth.

Tables are a big investment; here's a small, but sumptuous hand-carved wooden vase to get your wavy wood fix, available via NYC-based Moddest.

We couldn't possibly make a list of covetable wavy wood without mentioning NY-based Wiggle Room, a brand who put kidney bean-shaped tables in pastel colors on the map. Wiggle Room recently released their first all-wood collection, giving you their playful collection of side, coffee, and dining tables in a minimal birch.

Cannot stop drooling over Garance Vallée's sculptural wood furniture, currently exhibiting in SWING Design Gallery (Benevento, IT). Vallée's puddle table and organic reflexion are surrealist masterpieces; You can imagine they'd be functional and scene-stealing in your home.

Can you tell I'm in the market for a coffee table? KLN Studio specializes in woodworking and digital fabrication for commercial and residential clients. This curvaceous design by Sam Keene is Baltic birch ply with white oak veneer and perfect waves.

The wavy wood trend duality, that of combining an earthbound drive and an airy irreverence, is what makes it so powerful and —I'm calling it— enduring. What do you think, will wood in organic forms reign supreme?

Jenna is the Content Lead at Dendwell.
Side Table by Nick DeMarco


Dendwell was a rigorously curated marketplace and magazine for vintage decor. From 2020 - 2022, we dug into the trends, tastemakers, and how-to's of vintage object collection. This is our archive site, and is no longer being updated.