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Rattan garden furniture

Brighten up your garden or indoor space with our range of rattan garden furniture. Whether you’re looking to refresh your conservatory or bring your patio to life, we have rattan tables, chairs, sofas and footstools that will suit perfectly. Our rattan chairs and sofas are available in both organic, natural rattan and harder-wearing synthetic rattan. We’ve listened to your questions about rattan and think the answers below will help.

What is rattan made from?

Rattan is a thin type of cane that grows around larger trees in the damp jungles of Africa, Malaysia and the Philippines, and it’s been used to make woven furniture for centuries. When cut into thin strips, the material can be intertwined into many different patterns, and the stronger inner core can be worked into wicker.

Rattan is very durable and can be treated with stains or paints (although our range does not require you to do this), meaning it’s available in a wide range of colours to suit your garden, balcony or conservatory.

What’s the difference between rattan and wicker?

Wicker actually isn’t a material at all. Wicker is the technique of creating woven furniture from a variety of natural resources – from rattan to willow and bamboo – all of which are­ known as wickerwoods. This technique dates as far back as Ancient Egypt, when reeds and swamp grass would be used to create tables and carrying baskets for the middle classes.

How do you care for rattan furniture?

There are two main kinds of rattan ­– natural wooden cane and a synthetic version, which is blended with polyethylene. This is referred to as plastic rattan or polyrattan.

One of the most important differences between the two is that plastic rattan will generally last longer. It’s resistant to UV (meaning it won’t discolour in the sun) and it’s waterproof, making it perfect for the garden. Natural rattan can of course be used outdoors too, but should be stored inside ­or used in a conservatory when cooler, wetter weather is forecast.

Both kinds can be cleaned with a damp cloth or sponge, but natural rattan should be given a very light touch. To get into smaller openings, scoop washing-up liquid bubbles onto a clean toothbrush to gently work out stains and loosen dirt that has become trapped within the weave.

Is rattan waterproof and can I leave rattan outside in the rain?

Polyrattan is designed to withstand frost, rain and sunlight, but that doesn’t mean it’s invincible. It can still attract mould and mildew if it isn’t cleaned regularly. During winter months it’s recommended that you place sealed covers over rattan furniture. Or better still, store it somewhere dry indoors, like a garage or shed. Unfortunately, natural rattan isn’t waterproof, and is better suited to life indoors when it’s raining.

How does rattan compare to wooden or metal garden furniture?

Plastic rattan is a very resilient material. It you were to leave a wooden garden set, metal garden set and plastic rattan garden set outside throughout the winter, the rattan would probably be in the best shape by the time spring rolled around (but don’t try this at home!).

Some rattan furniture features a combination of materials. The glass-topped SOLLERÖN outdoor coffee table, for example, has a metal frame, offering a sturdy structure that needs very little maintenance. It’s the perfect summer garden furniture, given its light weight (which makes it easy to move around) and low maintenance requirements.

Is rattan furniture eco-friendly?

The rattan cane is a quick-growing plant, found in tropical areas of the Far East and Africa. And as it grows around larger trees and plants, it should be harvested regularly to help relieve pressures on local forests. Because it grows back so fast, it also provides local communities with a reliable source of income.

We work in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to help aid the protection of forestry projects. In association with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), funding and training is given to locals in both rattan harvesting and production.