5 More Ways To Decorate With Banig

Here are more ideas on how to use this traditional Pinoy mat at home

Photography: Rene Mejia & Paolo Feliciano

There is no other home furnishing that is more Filipino than the banig, or woven straw mat. It is a traditional home piece that could serve as a living area, dining area, play area, and a bed. It is safe to say, life can revolve around a banig.

While many of us have moved out of the bahay kubo and into suburban houses and condominiums, we can still take this Filipino tradition with us. Read on to learn more contemporary decorative uses for the humble banig.

Hang it as wall art.

Round banig mats are an unusual and beautiful alternative to the traditional floor mats, and can be used as an area “rug.” Instead of placing his round banig on the floor, fashion designer Phio Enaje hung the mat on the wall of his former living room. The radial pattern and striking magenta color make it look like art.

Make an instant headboard.

Homeowner Steph Tan casually taped on this banig from Samar as a headboard. “I’m from Zamboanga, I love banig,” says Steph. (To see more of this home, click here.) Another option is to have a padded headboard upholstered in banig instead of fabric, or for a quick fix, simple attach the banig to the wall with double-sided-adhesive tape.

Use banig-style stools.

Decorator Grace Moslares uses a small banig-covered stool as an accent in this Tagytay bedroom. You can a stool like this at Kultura Filipino. Another great idea: If you have a banig that is a bit tattered around the edges, you can recycle the rest of the mat as upholstery for a small seat, or have it re-stitched into banig pillows. (See the rest of this home in the June 2017 issue of Real Living magazine.)

Get a versatile accent tote.

This bag by Eva Marie made out of tikog-material banig is actually a tote bag, but it could also double as a book or magazine holder in your living room. The intricately woven design makes it a great decorative accent. Available at Kultura Filipino.

Go for colorful floor pillows.

A more comfortable alternative to a simple banig mat is a grouping of woven floor pillows. These floor pillows in lovely jewel tones and different sizes can add punch to a neutral room—as well as extra seating for guests! Get similar floor pillows at Grassroots.


Read about the banig!

Yes, there is an entire book about the history and tradition of the banig, and it is so fascinating. Written by historian Elmer Nocheseda, Rara: Art and Tradition of Mat Weaving In The Philippines beigns with a very personal account of the author being born on a mat fifty years ago, in his hometown of Pateros. The rest of this beautiful book focuses on the history of Philippine mats spanning 100 years, shows the various patterns, materials, traditions, and most importantly, the weavers. Get a copy at HABI, The Philippine Textile Council, Inc., Carmen Court, 6080 Palma St., Makati City, tel. (02) 478-2765.

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