Rattan Furniture Buying Guide
Reminiscent of a coastal vacation, or perhaps just an enviable beachside home spotted in the pages of your favourite interiors magazine, rattan furniture is an on-trend design choice that’s showing no signs of slowing. If you’re on the bandwagon like we are, you might be wondering – how can you incorporate this aesthetic into your own home?
Rattan pieces are versatile, laid-back and fun, which makes them easy to introduce and style against almost any backdrop. Whether you want to bring some beachy flair into the bedroom, or simply liven up the living room with texture, rattan furniture can help you get there.
Ready to roll with rattan? Keep reading to explore our rattan buying guide, packed full of expert advice on everything from selecting the perfect piece to cleaning and caring for your rattan, and the difference between rattan and wicker furniture.
What is rattan?
Let’s start with the basics. Rattan is a type of durable wood used to construct furniture pieces that run the gamut from functional and heavy-duty to trend-led and delicate. The material itself is naturally curved, which lends well to furniture, meaning less work needs to be done to bend and shape a piece. Rattan grows in a number of countries across Africa and Asia, and has been used for hundreds, if not thousands, of years to create beautiful and timeless furniture.
With the rise of coastal chic, we’ve also seen rattan’s popularity skyrocket, and for good reason. It’s super versatile and can be manipulated to form the base of a tough furniture piece, or as a decorative element for cabinet fronts, homewares and more.
Rattan vs wicker furniture
Rattan is often confused with its like-minded sister, wicker – but in fact, wicker and rattan refer to completely different things despite seeming similar to the untrained eye. While rattan is the material itself, wicker is actually a weaving technique that can be completed using natural fibres like bamboo, willow, reed, and (you guessed it) rattan. So, you might actually be able to adorn your home with a furniture piece that’s rattan and wicker!
Wicker is also highly popular, and so, you’ll find that many rattan pieces employ this technique to create that stunning woven look and feel. In particular, it’s a popular choice for intricate furniture pieces like armchairs and bed heads, as well as unique homewares pieces, from magazine holders to plant pots and everything in between.
Cleaning and caring for rattan
While rattan is a durable and easy material to care for, there are a few things to keep top of mind before you click ‘add to cart’. A major must-know is that rattan should be kept out of direct sunlight – so if you’re looking to add a rattan piece to your outdoor setup, ensure it has its own shady spot, or can be conveniently moved out of the sun as necessary. Another note on caring for your rattan is to vacuum it gently and regularly. Use the brush head to get into the nooks and crannies, especially if you’re working with an intricately or tightly woven piece.
If you spill something on a rattan item, the first step is to clean it up gently with a soft cloth and water. To work on a stubborn stain, use a toothbrush or a microfibre cloth, depending on the size of the mark, with a dot of dishwashing liquid and some water. Slowly and carefully work at the stain until removed. Something important to remember with rattan is that it doesn’t like to be wet for prolonged periods of time, so be sure it’s given the chance to dry in a shady yet warm spot.
Types of rattan furniture
Something we can’t mention enough about rattan is how versatile and easy to style it is. With the right structure and finish, you can make a rattan piece work in almost any room. Here are a few of our favourite places to add a little rattan flair, plus our expert recommendations for picking the right pieces and making them work.
Rattan bedroom furniture
If a dreamy, relaxed bedroom with lots of neutral tones is your vibe, then rattan is the perfect choice. It’ll bring an understated luxe feel that’s reminiscent of a gorgeous coastal spot, but still plays well with other elements.
A rattan bedhead will stand out in your space, and make your bed appear inviting, cosy and cool. There are a few different options to consider here, such as a curved piece in an interesting shape or style, or a traditional rectangular bedhead with a rattan finish. You could also opt for a rattan bed frame such as the Caledonia Rattan King Size Bed Frame for an all-over rustic look. With most items available in traditional light brown, as well as a brown-black combination that’s uber-modern, the pieces in the Caledonia collection will be a chic addition to any room in your home.
Another way to bring a little flair into your bedroom is by sourcing a rattan bedside table. The raw, natural woven finish of rattan can really liven up a cabinet or door front, and on a bedside table, will serve as a small pop of texture that’s still subtle. The same principle goes for chests of drawers, just with more surface area to work with – we love the boho luxe feel of the Caledonia Rattan Large Chest of Drawers.
Rattan living room furniture
There are a number of ways to bring rattan elements into your living room. One of the cosiest rooms in the house, and perhaps the one your family uses the most, the living room should feel like an oasis from the hubbub of the outside world. Rattan can help you establish that mood – it’s laid-back and gives off an easygoing, serene air.
If you’re trying to introduce this gorgeous material in small ways, you might opt for a rattan side table. Slot one or two next to your sofa to act as catchalls for your coffee cup, snack, the remote, and whatever other miscellaneous items end up littering your living room. Of course, because your new piece is rattan, it’ll still look chic – the beauty of this popular material!
Go a little bigger with a rattan coffee table. There are so many ways that rattan can be incorporated into a furniture piece of this scale – you might have your heart set on an item that’s made entirely from rattan with an ample, sturdy frame and a stunning curved finish. But, it’s just as acceptable and on-trend to add a little bit of rattan through drawer fronts or accents. The potential for greatness only grows as you consider larger furniture items, like a rattan TV unit. Our pick is the majestic Caledonia Rattan Entertainment Unit – chances are, with this in your living room, you’ll spend a lot less time staring at the television in favour of admiring those beautiful cupboard fronts.
Are rattan chairs comfortable?
Another ultra-popular way to try out this style in the living room or dining room is with a rattan chair or armchair. But, are rattan chairs comfortable? It’s an age-old question, and for good reason, as the tough, sturdy nature of rattan can be a little off-putting. Thankfully, we bring good news and reassurance – rattan chairs are in fact, very comfortable when styled correctly.
Depending on the design of your chair, you may not even be sitting directly on rattan, but rather, an upholstered cushion. If the rattan surface does face side-up on the seat, adding a soft throw pillow will help you enjoy your new piece comfortably – although, if the weaving is soft and tight-knit, you might not even need one! Satisfy your craving for a modern rattan chair with the Sawyer Armchair.
Rattan dining room furniture
On the topic of chairs, let’s dive into the dining room. This is another area of the house where rattan will feel right at home, and will ultimately give the room a clean, upbeat and relaxed feel. Rattan dining chairs are classic yet on-trend, and can be paired with almost any dining table, whether it’s beachy or modern, traditional or minimal.
You could opt for dining chairs that make rattan a huge feature on the backboard, such as the French provincial Petite Fleur Rattan Dining Chairs. If the impact you’re looking to make is more understated, try pieces that blend a textured rattan base with another, more structured wood, like the Bianca Dining Chairs. The same goes for rattan barstools – in fact, rattan almost makes more sense at the bar, creating an upscale paradise vibe. We love the Sahara Barstools, which mix complementary bright white with a soft rattan seat.
Of course, there are other ways to utilise rattan in the dining room – such as a stunning rattan sideboard! Once again, the surface area of the cupboards creates ample opportunities for the texture and grain of the rattan to really stand out and make a statement. Another favourite from the Caledonia range, the Rattan Sideboard is trendy yet tried-and-true.
Rattan in other rooms
Whatever room you’re looking to spruce up, consider bringing in some rattan to mellow out its look and paint a luxe and laid-back picture. A rattan bookcase or desk might cut a striking figure in the office, whereas a rattan bench or daybed could complement your outside stylings.
How to style rattan furniture
Once you’ve selected your rattan furniture piece (or pieces, if you’re as obsessed with this look as we are!), it’s time to style. Styling rattan isn’t a hugely time-intensive task, as rattan looks good with almost any existing aesthetic and can be slotted right in next to your furniture and decor. However, if you’re set on making it work and creating a cohesive atmosphere, here are a few handy hints.
When it comes to colour, most rattan items will be finished in either the natural light wood tone, white or black. So, as a rule, try to keep your colour palette in this family. The warmth of rattan wood lends itself well to hues like cream, rust and oatmeal, but doesn’t pair with grey-toned colours like steel blue, slate, purple or taupe.
Something else to mull over with rattan is the balance you’re striking with other materials and items in the space. If you want rattan to be the hero, it’ll gladly take centre stage – but it’s just as willing to fade into the background a little, and blend well with textures like marble, concrete, linen, boucle and more. Rattan can be a standout hero piece as easily as it can add a subtle hint of beachy fun, so it’s up to you how you treat it. Varying the textures and styles in the room will make for a diverse and eclectic look reminiscent of current trends.
Although rattan is timeless, it’s more popular now than ever – so, strike while the iron’s hot, and check out our range of gorgeous rattan furniture today. Once you’ve found your perfect piece, check out with Australia-wide shipping, a range of premium delivery services, and flexible payment options available. Happy shopping!