Many people, including salespersons who sell furniture tend to believe that wicker furniture and rattan furniture are almost alike. As a result, the terms are often used interchangeably to address outdoor/indoor furniture commonly found in homes during summer months. The fact is that wicker and rattan furniture fall under the same category but there is a remarkable difference between the two.
Rattan is a close relative of the palm tree. It is a type of a vine that rapidly grows in the jungles of South Eastern region. It grows in the shape of a pole, and its diameter varies between one to three inches. Rattan is one of the strongest woods and possesses the ability to grow up high as hundred feet.
Unlike the bamboo pole, rattan boasts a strong core and is thus durable and even hard to break. The solid core of rattan along with vertical grains is harvested, and is cut into smaller sections and is generally steamed to give varied shapes. The outside skin of the rattan pole, which is the peel, is generally used to bind the furniture joints together.
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On the other hand, wicker is not a material but an ancient technique used to manufacture items out of natural materials, such as willow, rush, rush, rattan core and more. The natural materials are made wet so that they can be easily woven to create wicker design furniture pieces.
So here is where the difference lies – Rattan is a specific material, hence rattan furniture is crafted out of rattan only, but wicker furniture may be crafted out of different materials such as bamboo, straw and even rattan. Recently, synthetic materials are also being used for manufacturing wicker furniture.
In terms of versatility and durability rattan furniture scores much more than wicker furniture. Rattan features a solid core and is available in an array of natural colors. Wicker furniture, on the other hand, may or may not be strong. It basically varies with the material used for manufacturing wicker furniture.
Natural rattan furniture is sure to fade if exposed to sunlight. As a result, it is preferred for indoors only. On the other hand, painted wicker furniture or furniture made of synthetic material is not known to fade when exposed to sunlight. Hence, they can be used indoors as well as outdoors.