The difference between wicker and rattan – How wicker furniture is made


Most people use the terms wicker and rattan interchangeably, but they aren’t really the same thing. Rattan is a material, and wicker is a type of furniture manufacture. The specific type of weave used to make this furniture is called wicker, and it is one of the oldest methods of making furniture. Today you can get wicker furniture in a number of synthetic and natural textiles, but rattan is still the most popular.

Wicker can also refer to a specific material used in the weave

To make matters more confusing, wicker is often used to describe synthetic fibers used in weaving the furniture. You might also see these synthetic materials referred to as resin wicker or synthetic rattan. Rattan is a natural, sustainable product, but isn’t suitable for outdoor use. Synthetic wicker furniture can stand up to the elements when placed on a patio or covered porch.

Even though this furniture might be rated for the outdoors, you should still consider where you might store your outdoor furniture during severe weather. Even the strongest furniture may not stand up against a tornado, hurricane, or tropical storm. You can see some examples of these outdoor wicker pieces at 1Stopbedrooms furniture: purchase online and save.

How wicker furniture is made

Wicker weaving is a traditional way of making furniture from natural fibers by weaving them into a rigid form. You might think that the wicker weave is only for decoration, but often this furniture utilizes the same material for the frame, legs, main support, and is still decorative. Wicker furniture is one of the rare types of furniture that is still made by hand. There is no way for a machine to equal the quality and durability of hand-woven wicker furniture.

Rattan is the oldest, and still popular, material for wicker furniture. In fact, there were rattan wicker furnishings found in King Tut’s tomb, likely sealed over 3,000 years ago. Talk about durable furniture! Of course, today synthetic fibres are used to create wicker furniture, but it is still hand woven.

How wicker furniture is maintained

Wicker furniture can last seemingly forever, but that doesn’t mean it can’t fail with improper use and neglect. Even though some resin wicker furniture is designed to be used outdoors specifically, it is still a good idea to protect your furnishings to make them last as long as possible. 

Whether or wicker furniture is indoors or out, you should dust it regularly. Once dust begins to build up within the weave of the furniture, getting it truly clean and looking like new will be an incredible feat. Natural rattan furniture won’t hold up well against regular submersion in water, making it even more imperative that you keep up with dusting at least once a week.

When your furniture is outdoors dust can build up on an almost daily basis. Dusty wicker furniture left out in the rain becomes muddy furniture that is difficult to clean. Even if your wicker furniture is safe for outdoor use, you should at least cover the furniture when not in use to cut down on dusting and protect the upholstery.


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BDC 311 : Dec 2023