A Modern Buying Guide to Rattan & Wicker Furniture

A Modern Buying Guide to Rattan & Wicker Furniture

The meteoric rise of rattan and wicker furniture styles has everyone scrambling to add some coastal chic to their homes. From rattan bedheads to wicker chairs, these durable, light wooden furniture pieces evoke the feeling of a tropical beach house or a retro 70s-inspired home. 

Rattan and wicker furniture pieces are available in a huge range of styles to suit any room – but firstly, it’s important to be aware of the difference between the two. Of a few distinguishing factors, one key thing to remember is that rattan is an ideal indoor furniture, whereas wicker styles are more suited to the outdoors. 

Keep reading to discover more about rattan furniture, wicker furniture and the differences between the two, as well as how to style these stunning wooden pieces in your home with your existing aesthetic. 

Brosa Rattan Caledonia Large Dresser in Modern Coastal Style Bedroom

Rattan Furniture – Everything You Need to Know

Rattan is a type of wood, so when we refer to rattan furniture, we’re talking about the actual material used to construct chairs, bed frames, dressers and more. Tough and naturally curved, rattan furniture is made in a variety of ways, including weaving – AKA wicker (more on this later!). Rattan grows in many parts of Africa and Asia, and today is predominantly harvested from countries like Indonesia and the Philippines. It’s been made into furniture for centuries, with these pieces growing in both complexity and popularity over time. 

Rattan is a highly durable material, so your rattan furniture pieces could last for decades, but only if they’re taken care of properly. One key thing to keep in mind is that rattan is prone to fading in sunlight, so it’s best kept indoors. 

Brosa Caledonia Rattan Entertainment Unit in Contemporary Style Living Room

In recent years, we’ve seen rattan furniture make waves in the design world, harking back to its initial revival in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. In fact, in 2018 Pinterest declared rattan Australia’s biggest furniture trend, a fad that’s only gained even more traction since. Rattan pieces are often used to complement a beachy, coastal-inspired interior style, alongside linen, white soft furnishings, lush plants and an oceanic colour scheme. However, we’ve also seen rattan work beautifully in a range of different spaces – for instance, a rattan bedhead might complement a bright, Art Deco-inspired bedroom, or a rattan chair in a darker finish could slot perfectly into a living room with mid-century modern influences. Brosa’s Caledonia collection brings Rattan to life in a series of beautiful furniture pieces, shop it now online.

Styling your home with rattan furniture like a designer

We’ve established that rattan furniture is adaptable and can suit a whole range of aesthetics, so now it’s time to discover how you can tailor a rattan piece to your space. Here are some of our expert tips for styling rattan furniture in your home. 

Brosa Caledonia Rattan Desk in Modern Coastal Home Office

Styling rattan furniture in a living room 

The living room is the perfect spot for your new rattan piece, especially if you’re trying to tie in a coastal escapism aesthetic, or just like to play with light woods and varying textures. Rattan furniture items usually work best as statement pieces with simple furnishings around them, but if done correctly, you might be able to work multiple rattan elements into your space. 

Give your TV a lush new home with the Caledonia Rattan Entertainment Unit. Featuring fully woven cabinet fronts, this TV unit is designed to keep your belongings tucked away whilst presenting a beachy, relaxed front. A home that’s light and minimal might prefer the softer bleached mango wood, whereas the black mango wood in the Caledonia range elevates the contemporary aesthetic of the collection, providing an almost art-deco vibe that is unlike other rattan furniture pieces. 

Brosa Caledonia Rattan Entertainment Unit in Contemporary Styled Living Room

Not satisfied with just one rattan item in your living room? We don’t blame you. Display your favourite reads – as well as ornaments, lighting, photos and whatever else you might want to show off – with the Caledonia Rattan Bookcase with Storage. Supremely functional with both open storage and a cabinet section to hide away the messy parts of life, this bookshelf is a rattan lover’s dream and the perfect accent to a bibliophile’s living room. 

Brosa Caledonia Rattan Bookcase with Storage in Modern Coastal Styled Living Room

Styling rattan furniture in a dining room

Gather ‘round some friends, cook up a storm (or order in – whatever you fancy) and settle down in a beautiful dining room peppered with some luxe rattan furniture pieces. 

Every dining room needs a sideboard, not only to store crockery but to house some eye-catching decor pieces that tie the room together effortlessly. The Caledonia Rattan Compact Sideboard would act as the perfect home for some books, trinkets or even a minibar – a stunning addition to an otherwise boring corner of your dining room. Or, go big with the Caledonia Rattan Sideboard if you have a large room with lots of space to fill. 

Brosa Caledonia Rattan Compact Sideboard in Modern Coastal Style Dining Room

Another piece that’ll look great in your dining room is the Caledonia Rattan Console Table. Simply designed with two drawers and open storage underneath, it’s likely where you’ll toss those bits and bobs like keys, takeaway menus and pens – we all do it, so why not do it in style? Place some baskets on the bottom half of the shelf to tuck away unwanted clutter, or stack heavier books like cookbooks and lifestyle tomes. Whatever you put on it and in it, it’s bound to look stunning in your living room. 

Brosa Caledonia Ratta Console Table in Eclectic Modern Coastal style Dining Room

Styling rattan furniture in a bedroom 

Ahh, the bedroom. There’s nothing dreamier than white sheets, linen accents, and of course, a rattan statement piece to tie your coastal chic vibe all together. If you’re more of an eclectic decorator, you might like to introduce some rattan to create a solid base for brighter colours and fun prints.

Replace that boring bed with the Caledonia Rattan Queen Size Bed Frame, which features a simple wooden base with a textured woven bedhead. Gorgeous with any colour of bedding, this bed frame will be the sparkling centrepiece of your room without overwhelming your other decor. If you plan on keeping the colour scheme white, bright or light, opt for the bleached wood finish. The black mango wood finish will work a treat alongside deeper hues like jewel tones, darks and shades of grey.Brosa Caledonia Rattan Queen Size Bed Frame in Modern Contemporary Style BedroomIf you love a coordinated set, pair your bed frame with two of the Caledonia Rattan Bedside Tables. These babies feature a functional bottom shelf to stack all your knick knacks out of the way, and will look super pretty piled high with your everyday must-haves. If you can’t have enough rattan in your bedroom, there’s also a bench, wardrobe and desk to ponder. 

Wicker Furniture – What’s the Difference? 

We’ve talked at length about rattan and its many redeeming qualities, but what about wicker? Another wildly popular type of wooden furniture, wicker refers to the manufacturing style rather than the construction material. Wicker furniture has also been around for centuries (it was even used by the ancient Romans and Egyptians!) and can be made out of bamboo, cane, reed, raffia, plastic or rattan. Wicker is a type of weave, and so, the identifying feature of wicker furniture is tightly woven strands of material.

Wicker Weave

The durability and longevity of wicker furniture depends on a few things – one being the material it’s made out of. Wicker furniture constructed from cane or rattan should last quite a while as long as it’s taken care of properly. However, like we’ve already discovered, rattan doesn’t fare well outside, and unfortunately, cane can pose similar issues. You might find reed, bamboo or even plastic wicker a better fit. These will withstand the elements and resist sun damage and fading if finished correctly. 

Wicker looks gorgeous outside in a courtyard or garden, or on a patio or balcony. Common wicker furniture pieces for the outdoors include chairs – both smaller armchair-style pieces and larger sofas – dining tables, stools and side tables. These are available in a huge range of finishes and colours to suit any aesthetic. Give your home a touch of tropical flair by adding something made out of wicker into your outdoor space! 

Styling wicker furniture in an outdoor space

Wicker furniture, like rattan, is super adaptable and can suit a huge range of existing interior tastes. Here’s how to style wicker in your outdoor space. 

Small outdoor spaces

Smaller outdoor spaces like courtyards, balconies and patios can still benefit from wicker furniture despite being short on square footage. If you don’t have space for a full outdoor dining set, perhaps a set of stools around a smaller table might work. Mixing and matching materials (ones that are outdoor-friendly, of course) can help establish a strong sense of design in your small space. 

Try the Espen Outdoor Bar Stools to sprinkle a little wicker flavour into your small balcony, courtyard, garden or patio.  

Brosa Espen Wicker Barstools for Outdoor Spaces

Large outdoor spaces

So, you’re working with a grand, spacious outdoor area – lucky you! You’ve got lots of room to play and include furniture pieces such as wicker outdoor sets. Create an outdoor dining area with a large table and chairs, ideal for entertaining and hosting lots of guests. If your style is a little more eclectic, support existing furniture pieces with wicker accents like stools and side tables. 

We love the Espen Outdoor Dining Chairs as the seating option around a coordinating table in wicker or another outdoor furniture style. 

Brosa Espen Wicker Outdoor Chair in courtyard

Why we love rattan and wicker 

Whether you’re trying to bring the beachy vibes into your home with rattan, or want to accent your outdoor space using wicker, these furniture options are functional, gorgeous and right on trend. 

Discover more wicker and rattan furniture pieces, including rattan drawers, rattan TV units, wicker chairs and more over on our website. 

Not sure whether one of your wishlist pieces will look just right in your home? We have Brosa Studio+ showroom spaces in Melbourne and Sydney to make finding the perfect fit easier than ever. If visiting isn’t an option for you, use our virtual services to book a virtual tour or online consultation.