When you hear the words “Wicker”….what do you picture? Grandma’s house, Golden Girls, big floral prints.... Do you cringe? Well, wicker is back, and it’s no longer that chichi, outdated furniture of the past. After years on the “don’t” list, wicker furniture and decor is a serious “do” that gives a natural, fresh and modern vibe to any space.
People tend to come in our showroom and ask us to show them our “wicker and/or rattan.” These two terms are often used interchangeably as a single category of furniture, when their meanings are actually quite different.
What is Wicker?
Wicker, short for wickerwork, describes the process of weaving pliable materials, traditionally into furniture, baskets and other practical items. There are many styles of wicker weave - not surprising since the craft dates back thousands of years. Wicker baskets, chests, chairs and even shoes have been found at Egyptian archaeological sites, and some items date back to 3000 BC.
You can use a variety of different materials for wicker furniture, both natural and synthetic. We love both - natural for indoors and synthetic for outdoors. All of our outdoor wicker furniture is considered “All Weather Wicker. These durable lounge and dining sets, like this one, are made of PVC fibers that can withstand moisture, mildew and - for us coastal folks - salt air.
What is Rattan?
Rattan, or rattan palm, is a natural material that is often used in wickerwork and furniture.The plant itself looks a bit like common palms, but is more vine-like in nature. Rattan is native to Southeast Asia, where there are more than 600 species that are considered "rattan."
The outer peel, when removed, is thin and supple and used in wicker weaving and caning. The stalk itself is bamboo-like in appearance and often used as furniture frames, with or without wicker accents.
The first living room set below employs both parts of the rattan palm. The core, or cane, is used for the furniture’s frame, armrests and legs. The outer fibers provide the wicker woven accents. The second set is rattan cane only, without any wickerwork.
Wicker and Rattan Add Texture to Neutral Spaces
Color and pattern are the usual go-tos when it comes to jazzing up a space, but playing with texture does the job just as well.
This soft beige, tightly woven wicker set looks beautiful in this living room, tastefully bringing the outdoors in. A room like this, with its soft, neutral color palette, would be a snoozefest if it wasn’t for the highly-textured wicker accents.
Mix and Match Wicker & Rattan with Non-Wicker Pieces
Just like the living room set above, much of today’s wicker furniture is “mixed media” - the designers primarily used wicker, but accented the pieces with wood and rattan. It’s a far cry from grandma’s matchy-matchy wicker wonderland, eh?
Another way to achieve this mixed modern effect is by adding wicker or rattan accents among your existing furniture. Take the subtle route with a wicker bench or a rattan accent chair, or just dive right in with statement pieces like these wingback dining chairs. Simply adding two rattan wicker chairs freshens up an otherwise traditional dining room.
Wicker is Ideal for Outdoor Furniture
Wicker may be a traditional choice for patio furniture, but it’s also a practical one. Due to those stormy summer afternoons and the occasional hurricane, outdoor furniture should be lightweight and easy to move. Our aluminum-frame PVC wicker furniture does the job nicely, and it’s weather resistant to boot!
Wicker is Ideal for Outdoor Furniture
The trick about decorating your outdoor space with wicker is making it “livable!” Think about enjoying your patio just as you would your living room. Make it cozy with comfy cushions and tons of throw pillows. Don’t be afraid to have fun with prints and bold colors. These coral chevron cushions augment the wide, geometric, modern weave of this outdoor wicker set.
It's Time to Wicker It Up!
We have seen waves of interest pouring in here at Shore Decor! With all the different, weaves, finishes, and fabrics, we are having fun in our Shore Decor design center. Come in and speak with one of our sales consultants today!
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Let one of our decorators help you find the perfect Wicker or Rattan furniture for your space!