Rattan vs Wicker: How Well Do You Know the Difference Between the Two? It is not uncommon for people to confuse or swap between these terms when considering popular ideas for their interior / exterior decorations.
But who would really care what one or the other really stands for, knowing how fascinating they both look on millions of terraces?
Wicker furniture or rattan furniture doesn’t mean so much to a nature-inspired home with a cozy ambience, as long as they are properly combined.
To keep things clear, the material these stunning pieces are made of is rattan while the technique with rattan, bamboo and willow is called wicker.
Image source: Mclaughlin Landscaping
Wicker furniture for outdoors is not just an invention of our time. The technique can be traced back to ancient Egyptians, who actually used it quite professionally.
What is wicker and why is it so popular?
Most often in furniture stores you can find a huge wicker board over woven pieces that combines materials rather than specifying them.
This is because the term became widely used to refer to all natural fibers, including rattan, seaweed, bamboo, resins, and even synthetic vinyl.
What is rattan
Image source: Bagnato Architects
Despite what you’ve been told, wicker is primarily associated with rattan vines, a production material that comes from calamus palms.
These palms are best known for their length (600 inches in total, 36 per day) but also for their sustainability and abundance.
The real catch, however, is that you can use the entire tree to make furniture, including the bowl and pole.
Knowing this, it is safe to say that for any product woven from stems or vines, you say wicker.
Wicker is in fact a Scandinavian word derived from the original “Wikker” (pronounced “Wika”), which means “willow”.
Sweden is also the motherland of rattan furniture, where the practice has been popular for more than 150 years.
Oddly enough, rattan plants only grow in rainforests, especially in Africa, Central America, and East Asia. The most productive variety is honey rattan, which grows in Southeast Asia.
Here it is important to understand the difference between wicker and rattan furniture: rattan pieces are much more versatile and durable than wicker furniture made of different materials.
This is because the rattan core is the most solid and offers natural colors and patterns for a real rustic feel.
Wicker can either be real or try to replicate the concept, but you can’t expect the natural fiber to look this good after being processed several times.
However, rattan furniture has its own drawbacks: you should only use it indoors as it will fade with sunlight. Outside, it’s still better to use painted wickerwork.
Furnishing ideas for wicker / rattan fans
A wicker couch on the terrace
Image source: Tom Stringer design partner
What could be nicer than a comfortable lounger for two with fresh air and a breathtaking view over your garden?
This type of wicker furniture is called “Veo” and is made from weatherproof fibers.
Yes, you heard that right: your wicker sofa can literally be placed wherever you need it!
Sneaky, inexpensive wickerwork that blends in with the environment
Image source: Denali construction
The biggest advantage of wicker is its affordable price, which, unlike cheap furniture, generally gives parts that appear natural.
Just put a couple of wicker chairs on your wooden deck, choose the right pattern for the upholstery, and the mood won’t change.
Image source: Asher Associates Architects
Wicker furniture can literally add color and mood to any room, be it an official dinner or a cheeky porch.
Image source: Andrea Rodman Interiors
Some designers only recommend rattan furniture in warm areas, but we wouldn’t classify it as a summer material.
Just a few cranberry red or hunter green pillows are enough to add warmth to its freshness and make it suitable for all seasons.
Image source: 2id Interiors
If you’re a disoriented wicker fan who doesn’t know how to make your home wicker-friendly, we encourage you to look into handy storage solutions.
For example, you can hang a wicker basket for towels in the bathroom or store books in your warm, nature-inspired living room. The design options available to you are simply endless.
A fully functional outdoor area
Image source: Johnson Design Inc.
One thing that worries most homeowners is how to turn their familiar home into a vacation haven all in one.
Wicker makes this easy as it features bold and tropical palettes to revitalize the expanded interior space and create a streamlined flow between inside and outside.
Basically it will look like a Hawaiian bar entertaining patrons, but with a few comfortingly colored accessories, it becomes your personal and stylish mansion.
Image source: IMI Design, LLC
Wicker has a lot to do with bold vintage solutions, which makes it ideal for your bedroom. You can combine it with your modern gold mirrors or reclaimed wood chairs, or build the whole concept on top of it by buying a relatively cheap wicker bed.
French country style dining rooms
Image source: Ramos Design Build Corporation
We all pay exclusive attention to our dining rooms and want to make them as classy as possible.
This is no justification for skipping rattan and wicker, as both look amazingly elegant.
For example, many restaurants use rattan, wicker and seagrass furniture to make their diners comfortable, and usually combine this with cotton, tiles and wood to make the ambience too “French”.
Wicker living room
Image source: Cooper Johnson Smith Architect and Urban Planner
Wicker is unique in the sense that it can look both modern and traditional, and it gives a feeling of freshness and calm no matter how you care for it.
That’s why we think it’s cool to use it in the living room, where two flexible rattan tables can replace the heavy and outdated coffee table.
Image source: Archipelago Hawaii Luxury Home Designs
When it comes to kitchen design, the main thing is to ensure as much daylight as possible. Wicker goes perfectly with the picture of a mini kitchen with a large window pane and a cute dining table where mothers and fathers drink their coffee and young people pick up lunch for school.
For example, tall wicker chairs look amazing when exposed to sunlight and they automatically improve the feeling you get when you are in the kitchen.
Entertaining basket details
Instead of replacing entire pieces, you can try waking up your current furniture with cute wicker details, such as: B. by reflecting the sun on neutral placemats (e.g. the dining table).
Cup holders, baskets and trays add value to your expensive accessories and even go well with the cutlery you take with you on holidays and special occasions.
Image source: Yankee Barn Homes
After a stressful day at work, who wouldn’t spend the night in a comfortable wicker bed with huge plush pillows for extra softness?
Wicker makes some of the best, most comfortable beds that soothe the mind and body and give us that long-awaited sleep.
On the first, wicker beds look sturdy, but they’re extremely soft and comfortable when you lie on them.
Plus, they look so naturally bathed in sunlight that the mere presence of them makes you feel like they belong there. Every morning you wake up fresh, relaxed and ready to face whatever challenges the day has in store for you.
Image source: Lawrence Architecture, Inc.
When rattan or wicker is around, the question of uniqueness is closed. It can be the most neutral and boring place you can think of, but it turns into a pleasant and interesting corner with a few simple rattan / wicker accent details.
Wicker is both modern and elegant and the perfect material for the home office.
For what it’s worth, office fixtures are often bland and express no character at all, while wicker plays with the spectators’ senses and jumps out of every office scheme you’ve seen so far.
Of course, it can easily be combined with elegant accents or slid into a playful palette with metals and synthetic rattans.
What you get in this case is full control over the mood of your business meetings as visitors are almost certain to be taken with the pleasant atmosphere.
The best part is that you can set up your office at a fraction of what you expected!
Image source: Platinum Series by Mark Molthan
When it comes to rattan and similar fibers, one of the main things to distinguish is whether or not they can be used outdoors.
If the rattan is completely natural, or if you’re using paper fiber mesh instead, then the smartest thing is to bring these elements back inside.
Synthetic resin, on the other hand, is the perfect material for patio seating and garden accessories.