Wicker and rattan furniture are made of natural materials found in Southeast Asia, and both make popular outdoor patio furniture. Because they are not derived from the scarce resources of wood, both rattan and wicker are good for the environment.
Rattan is the name of a particular plant that grows to several hundred feet high in tropical forests. It is extremely strong and will not splinter or break.
Rattan is easily molded into the desired shape for furniture and once it dries, the shape is retained permanently. The outer peel of the rattan pole is used to wrap joints securely.
A whole rattan pole may be used to create spiral designs for arm rests, legs or backs of furniture. The outer part of the rattan is peeled off, then heated and bent into shape. Rattan poles can also form the frame of a couch or chair with wicker weave panels as a finishing touch.
Wicker is considered a type of rattan weave, but it can also be produced from cane, reed, willow, rush, and other natural materials. It is pliable when wet so the strands can be woven tightly together. When dry, the finished product is sealed, sanded, and then stained and lacquered to the desired color.
Wicker furniture is available in many of the same colors and stains as wood. The most common colors include natural, pewter, honey wheat, sage and bronze. Add colorful cushions to make the furniture bright, cheerful – and softer to sit on.
Maintaining rattan and wicker deck furniture is easy. All it requires is regular, light dusting with a damp cloth, or vacuuming with a brush attachment.
Any spill should be immediately wiped up with a mild detergent and a minimum amount of water.
Furniture made of rattan and wicker include chairs, tables, footstools, and bar sets. Because it is such a versatile material, chairs range from broad,
low-sitting styles with high backs and arm rests to basic dining-room styled chairs. Table tops are made of wood, metal, or glass and occasionally rattan. Rattan and wicker furniture add class to any deck, but depending on the style, it is not always very comfortable. Cushions will solve that problem. Some sets come complete with cushions in your choice of style, color and fabric. Floral patterns, stripes and solid colors are common for outdoor cushions.
Florals have an advantage over solids as they do not show the dirt as readily. However, all fabrics fade in the sun, and solid colors retain a more attractive appearance as they fade. With the exception of cushions, wicker and rattan furniture is durable and can easily stay outside all year around. It is not susceptible to rust, mildew or rotting, and paint will not chip. Rattan and wicker material expands and contracts with a change in temperature – without damage – so it works well in a variety of environments.
Discounts and environmentally friendly materials make wicker and rattan furniture a good choice for any family.