Rattan and wicker furniture both have a natural look and a soft wheat color, but they are very different. Rattan is a tropical vine. Its flexibility and durability make it a popular choice for furniture making. Wicker is a method of weaving rather than a specific material. The most common natural materials used in wicker furniture include rattan, willow, bamboo, or reed. Most modern wicker furniture is plastic.
What is Rattan?
Rattan belongs to the Calamus genus, which has over 600 species. The natural vine elongates to impressive lengths, making it suitable for crafting furniture frames.
Rattan has a solid core, otherwise known as rattan cane – popular for making cane furniture. It has a tough outer skin, is lightweight, weather-resistant, easy to weave, and offers a natural aesthetic.
What is Wicker?
Wicker is a weaving technique that involves weaving plant materials or synthetic fibers into complex patterns. The phrase “wicker” refers to the finished product.
Natural wicker consists of plant materials, such as willow, rattan, reed, or bamboo. Rattan is the most suitable material due to its strength and flexibility. Using renewable resources makes natural wicker eco-friendly.
Since natural wicker is susceptible to moisture and water damage, it’s best for indoor use.
Also known as all-weather wicker, the type is a modern alternative to natural wicker. It consists of synthetic fibers such as polyethylene or resin.
These materials resemble the look and feel of natural materials. They’re weather resistant, high quality, and don’t fade as natural wicker does when exposed to extreme conditions.
All-weather wicker is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. It requires minimal maintenance and lasts longer since it resists decay and fading. Synthetic wicker is a suitable choice for patio furniture or poolside lounging.
Rattan vs. Wicker: Key Differences to Consider
Rattan’s solid core makes it more durable than wicker, which comprises thin strips of material. The natural flexibility of rattan contributes to its longevity.
Wicker exhibits various levels of durability, depending on the material it’s made of. For instance, synthetic wicker consists of weather-resistant materials, making it ideal for outdoor use.
Rattan is always natural, while wicker can be natural or synthetic. Rattan’s natural appearance adds texture and warmth to a space. It’s popular in bohemian and maximalist styles.
Wicker isn’t a material but a method of weaving different materials to make furniture. The material determines the furniture’s texture, color, and appearance.
The only maintenance for rattan is gentle dusting. You can also apply a thin layer of linseed oil to enhance rattan’s color if desired.
In contrast, the maintenance requirements for wicker vary depending on the material. Natural wicker made from rattan or other plant materials requires the same care as rattan furniture. Synthetic wicker is a low-maintenance option that requires soap and water to clean.
Resistance to Moisture and Fading
Rattan is more prone to moisture damage since it’s a natural material. Too much exposure to moisture leads to cracking, warping, mold, and mildew growth. For this reason, avoid using rattan furniture in outdoor areas.
Natural wicker is equally susceptible to moisture. Synthetic wicker, however, resists fading and maintains its color integrity under the sun.