Rattan is found extensively in the jungles of South Eastern region and is a close relative of the pine tree. It is one of the most durable woods available for making furniture. Rattan is very durable and hard to break. The peel is generally used to bind the furniture together. It is common to confuse rattan furniture with wicker furniture, but there is a world of difference between the two. Rattan is a material whereas wicker is the technique used to manufacture furniture from rattan, willow, rush, straw and bamboo.
Benefits of rattan furniture
Rattan furniture took off in a big way in the West around the Victorian era. Since then down the years, it has never gone out of fashion. It has a natural organic look and feel, and its sturdiness makes it an excellent choice for both outdoor and comfortable indoor furniture.
Furniture made of rattan is lightweight and is cheaper than other durable and similar options. It is generally used outdoors in gardens and patios as it stands up well to inclement and harsh weather conditions. It is also ideal in heavy-use areas like playrooms because of its durability.
Another reason why rattan furniture is suited for the outdoors is that it is low on maintenance. Rattan is a natural element and does not require any oil, preservatives and payments to make it stay like new for years. Just wipe with a wet cloth or spray water with a hose if the furniture ever gets dirty and it is back to its original shine.
Styles in Rattan furniture
It is difficult to put rattan furniture into a specific style category. It is an organic material that can be shaped into various forms of furniture. However, some styles have evolved over the ages which are all-time favourites.
The first is the typical garden furniture with high-backed chairs, designed more for comfort and to lounge around than anything else. Apart from chairs, rattan side-tables are also much in demand. Then there are the vintage rattan sets of furniture developed decades back but which are now back in fashion. Finally, there are Victorian rattan furniture sets. Rattan first became popular in Europe and in the Victorian era in the UK when trade routes were opened to the Far East where rattan is found. The type of furniture made then is still trending in the modern world.
While on Victorian furniture, it will be relevant to mention another style that prevailed then. It is furniture made from bamboo. In the 1800’s, bamboo chairs and furniture were as popular as that produced from rattan. Some of them have passed the test of time and can be found up for sale in antique shops. Like rattan, they are organic, durable and great as outdoor furniture.
Evaluating the quality of rattan furniture
Buying high-quality rattan furniture is not easy unless one knows what to look for. Here are some tips to distinguish high-grade rattan furniture from the inferior ones.
- UV Stabilised – Make sure that the rattan is resistant to UV radiation if the furniture is to be used outdoors or in a conservatory. If not, the texture of rattan can break down over time.
- Tight weave – Check the overall quality and tightness of the weave. If not so, the workmanship of the furniture is not up to the mark.
- Powder-coated frame – Since outdoor furniture is exposed to various weather conditions, it is essential that the frame is weather and rust resistant. Ensure that the frame is made of aluminium. Steel frames should be powder-coated for additional protection.
- No variation in colour – It is a vital point to keep in mind when buying furniture set of natural rattan. All the pieces should have the same hue and colour, regardless of whether it has been stained, painted or given a natural finish. The look should be uniform between all the pieces in the set.
Where is rattan furniture made?
Rattan furniture is made all over the world but the bulk of supplies are sourced from South East Asian countries as this is the area where the raw materials are chiefly found.
Keep this buying guide in mind when opting to do up your home with unique and exclusive sets of rattan furniture.