As soon as the trend lists started appearing late last year, cane, rattan and wicker were everywhere. Of course, it shouldn’t be a surprise because natural materials have a special appeal these days, as people try to make their surroundings feel as comfortable as possible. Plus, these pieces give a room a little bit of a global feeling and a relaxed undertone. These materials can be the basis for major pieces or even just accents that are easy to change up, depending on how much you want to add to your room.
Before we can even talk about the pieces you might incorporate into your decor, we need to clear up the confusion that often surrounds these materials and style of decor. According to VeryBamboo.com, the first misconception is that “wicker” is a type of material. It’s not. Wicker is actually the method used to weave materials into furniture and decor pieces. Most often, this process is associated with natural materials, but the term can also apply to synthetics since it is confined to the method of production. The most commonly used natural materials are rattan, cane, willow, bamboo and seagrass, although this last one is typically used for accessories and floor mats, not furniture.
- Bamboo, while technically a grass, can grow as nearly to 100 feet tall and its timber is super hard and durable. Because it is highly renewable, it is also considered to be an eco-friendly material. Generally, the smaller diameter bamboo poles are the ones used for furnishings and decor.
- Rattan is another fast-growing, sustainable material, says VeryBamboo. Related to the palm tree and native to Southeast Asia, rattan grows like a tree, but then angles back to the ground and sends vine-like shoots through the ground. It is considered one of the strongest types of wood in existence, hence one of the reasons it has been used to create footbridge for centuries. When making furniture, craftspeople use steam to bend the poles into the shapes they want. These pieces will retain their shape when dry.
- Cane is related to rattan because it is the outer bark of the rattan vine. It too is very strong, which is why it is used to bind pieces together. This is common in bamboo pieces and in peacock style chairs. Because this is the bark of the vine, it’s less porous than wood and repels drips and spills.
Ready to be inspired and add some wicker pieces to your decor? Have a look at these examples that run the gamut from furniture to accessories.
A daybed is always a great addition to a living space because it’s welcoming and the perfect place to read or relax. This one features a unique scalloped wicker design along the edge, which makes it feel a bit dainty. Here it is paired with a dusty rose palette and a whimsical plan tree wall covering, which ramps up the tropical feeling. Wicker pieces that have exceptional details like this – whether new or vintage — are always an interesting addition to a room.
Chairs are one of the most common types of furniture made from wicker. This is great because they are also one of the easiest pieces to swap out in an existing decor scheme because they’re typically not as big an investment as a sofa or other large piece. There are also so many styles, ranging from those that lean toward the traditional to the trendier boho chairs. This particular chair has a modern shape and midcentury style legs. Made from rattan, you can see the cane used to find the various pieces together. It’s a marvelous occasional chair for any room in the house.
Also called the “Manila” or “Philippine” chair, the Peacock chair might be the most iconic use of rattan. Vintage News writes that while it might be associated with photoshoots for celebrities like Cher, Elizabeth Taylor and Dolly Parton, it actually has much humbler beginnings: The peacock chair was originally woven by inmates in a Manila jail. These days it’s more a symbol of bohemian chic, or Jungalow style and is used in many eclectic laid-back interiors. The size, specific details and level of ornamentation can vary, but all peacock chairs tend to have a tall and dramatic back.
Selamat’s Zahra Peacock chair was a part of the company’s Jungalow inspired collection. With a classic throne-like feeling, the 70’s-inspired wicker piece has a rattan frame, while the more tightly woven seat is a synthetic weave. This version combines some of the classic elements with a few updates, such as the seat material, its shape and the looped construction of the back and base.
Inspired by the traditional peacock chair, this armchair is a more streamlined, minimalist version that is actually an Italian midcentury design. While it still has a tall back, the weave is simple and consistent and the base is roomier, with an upholstered seat for more comfort. The chair’s tropical vibe is emphasized by the upholstery and the fun toucan cushion. This updated version looks more comfortable for longer periods of sitting and would be great in a sunroom or lounge.
Some of the best wicker styles out there are actually vintage pieces like this one at Finch in Hudson, New York. This particular one has the iconic base shape but its overall silhouette is one of a modern lounge with the high back, slightly winged top. For extra comfort, a well-worn leather cushion extends over the arms and up the back, created an ideal sport for reading and lounging.
Wicker styles can also be found in country and farmhouse decor, and the shape of these two armchairs is pretty typical of what you might see. Park Hill’s veranda chair is just the right choice for a wrap-around porch and to add country-style relaxation. These types of chairs can be used as they are, although some people prefer to purchase pads for a cushier seat. They make you dream of sipping lemonade in the shade during a hot afternoon, don’t they?
Wicker is also a popular choice for outdoor dining chairs. Of course, those made with natural materials must be used in spaces that are protected from the elements, but similar styles are available in synthetic materials that can be left out in the sun and the rain. Rattan dining chairs are deep and comfortable, just the kind of chairs you want on the patio to encourage guests to linger and chat. Here, the chairs are paired with a glass-topped table, which is a nice combination.
They may be popular for outdoor seating, but rattan chairs also have a place in the dining room. These tall dining chairs are all made from rattan and perfect for a casual dining room. Details like the chair pads that tie in the back add another relaxed design element to the set, which could also work well in a more globally inspired room. Either way, they are durable and versatile for a number of decor styles.
Chinese Chippendale style chairs are often found on patios of traditional homes. This style of bamboo chair back is a classic, dating back to the 18th century, but today’s versions have been tweaked and updated for more comfort. Those who prefer a classic look will like these chairs as they are associated with high-end styling and have that Palm-Beach-chic that many are looking for.
Similar chairs are also available with updated designs, like this Florence Broadhurst Squares Dining Side Chair, painted in a winter white. It’s a classic silhouette with a new back design that lends itself to transitional as well as traditional interiors. The techniques are all same, it’s just a high-quality chair with a more up-to-date look. these types of bamboo chairs can be used in a dining room or for a more upscale dining space on a covered patio or veranda.
We’ve shown you a lot of chairs, but don’t forget that other pieces like tables can also be wicker. This whimsical console is the perfect example. Far more than a just a table, this one is also part sculpture and part conversation piece. Wicker is a great material for pieces that add a bit of fun to a space, whether they are accessories or larger furnishings. This particular table is on a covered dining terrace to protect the natural material from strong sunlight and rain.
A round coffee table from Four Hands is perfect for any living space that has a relaxed atmosphere. In a space where you want to add a bit of texture, wicker is a good option because of the different patterns and degrees of roughness that various materials and techniques offer. This coffee table has a sunburst pattern on the top, while the sides are woven around layers of concentric circles in the frame, which adds even more dimension.
Bar carts are another stylish wicker addition to decor. Adding one to a veranda, patio or living room instantly makes it more convenient for entertaining, even if it’s just for two. A bar cart keeps everything you need handy for the time you’re relaxing, whether that’s a bucket of ice and cocktails or a pitcher of lemonade and some cookies. Some wicker bar carts highlight different types of rattan and cane, like this one, which has several sizes of rattan and woven designs.
Bamboo styles offer up a completely different look as you can see with this three-tiered version. The top is actually a solid surface more conducive to creative cocktail-making while the rest is all bamboo. This one has a more structured and slightly formal feeling. A taller bar cart with more shelving is designed for serious entertaining because it holds more supplies and can be rolled to wherever the party is.
If you’re not sure how much wicker you want to add to your home, it’s easy to start with smaller pieces like a wicker drink set. This has the perfect vibe for a relaxed meal or drinks with family or friends. Accessories like these pair well with all types of tableware and are great for mixing and matching. In fact, using wicker table accessories can help unify some disparate elements through color or texture, or both.
Wicker decor accessories can also be used as natural accents both indoors and outdoors. A large lantern is attractive both day and night and lends a little tropical vibe no matter where you place it. Here, it’s paired with a modern, sculptural wooden lounge chair and yet they are an excellent combination. Using larger decor pieces is another way to try out wicker in your home and the best part is that you can easily move it around until you find the most desirable location for it.
Lighting fixtures that feature a wicker shade are another way to add some casual texture to a room. This fixture is on a veranda and despite its humble appearance, it is a focal point, especially at night when it casts interesting shadows on the surroundings. Even if this is the only wicker piece in the space, it can have a significant impact and be a focal point.
Daybed lounges just might be the ultimate in backyard relaxation and when you choose one that is super dramatic, it’s also a design focus. This Skyline daybed is obviously ideal poolside, but is a great oasis for relaxation in any yard. Besides visual appeal, the tall silhouette provides a little dappled shade a hint of privacy. It also makes you feel like you’re in your own little tropical cocoon.
This is just a smattering of the different ways that you can add wicker — whether natural or synthetic — to your decor for more texture and interest. From furnishings to fun accessories, the amount you add depends on how relaxed you want your room to be. Try some out and see why wicker pieces are trending.