Wicker and rattan are two terms that commonly are confused and very often used interchangeably. This makes it difficult to understand whether these words have the same meaning or not. To clear up all of the confusion, wicker and rattan are not the same. In fact, these two terms refer to completely different things.
Wicker is a style of weave whereas rattan is a material. You have probably heard the two used together because it is common to see wicker rattan weaves; meaning a design that uses rattan in a wicker weave. One describes the product(rattan) while the other describes the actual process(wicker) that is followed to make it. So now that we know the difference, what exactly is wicker and what is rattan?
What is Wicker?
Wicker is a style of weave that is commonly used for baskets and furniture. Dating back to Ancient Egypt, wicker is a technique that has been passed down through the ages and continues to be prevalent in modern furniture design. Scientists and archaeologists have discovered wicker furniture dating as far back as 3,000 B.C. The tombs of wealthy pharaohs have been found to contain wicker baskets, boxes, chairs, and chests. The appeal of the weave is distinctive and equally creative.
Wicker weave has seen a revival in the past century as a direct result of the Arts and Craft Movement that began in the early 1900’s. Many have sought to keep this skill alive through crafting seminars and by raising awareness about this treasured style of weave. Although wicker is popular in antique and vintage products, it also has modern applications. Wicker can be made out of woven fibers or more recently, wicker weaves have been creating using synthetic resins.
What is Rattan?
Rattan is a type of material that is used in wicker weaves. Rattan is a naturally growing vine like species that is native to tropical regions of Australia, Asia, and Africa. For production use, the skin is peeled away and utilized for weaving purposes. Often times, the core is not wasted and finds use for different types of furniture.
With over 600 different species, rattan can be distinguished as a strong fibrous plant that is similar to bamboo. Rattan has been used for furniture because it is lightweight, durable, flexible, and attractive. While the popularity of these strands have created high demand, sustainability of these plants has been put into question. When rattan stalks are cut prematurely, they are not able to regrow. For this reason, many synthetic materials have been created to combat exploitation of rattan in favor of more environmentally viable materials.
Fun Fact: Rattan can be made into artificial bones. Rattan has a physical structure that is similar to that of natural human bones.
Wicker furniture is all hand-woven, making the quality impeccable and incredibly durable. Synthetic wicker materials give the same appearance as natural rattan fibers but they last much better outside. For this reason, polyethylene wicker is great for outdoor furniture because of its ability to withstand the elements of mother nature. Below is a picture of the Urbana 5 Piece Sectional Set. This chic set is stylish and guaranteed to last a lifetime.The 8-Pc + Luxe Urbana Sectional Set from Harmonia Living. Learn more.
Patio Productions is an online retailer of chic outdoor furniture ranging from outdoor day beds to bar sets. You can browse a variety of collections and styles of wicker furniture by Visiting Our Homepage. All orders are carefully protected before being shipped to you FREE of charge!
About this Post
Cheryl Khan is a contributor to the Patio Productions Blog, a late night cookie monster, and a DIY aficionado. She delights in positive conversations and memorable experiences with her close friends and family!