A Simple Buying Guide for Rattan Outdoor Furniture

March 02, 2022

Aston Rattan Corner Sofa Set - 9 Seater - Brown

Almost any room can move outdoors. You can have an outdoor kitchen or fireplace, or a living room with a blue or starry sky for a ceiling. What’s not to love about that?

When it comes to choosing furniture for your outdoor space, you make a statement using stylish rattan pieces. 

Rattan is comfortable, effortlessly stunning, and creates a classic aesthetic.

The best part? You don’t have to move the furniture indoors every time there’s unpleasant weather. 

However, you’ll only enjoy these advantages if you choose the right rattan outdoor furniture.

Table of Contents

What Is Rattan Furniture?

Natural vs. Synthetic Rattan Furniture

Tip 1: It Should Provide Comfort
Tip 2: Check the Materials Used
Tip 3: Suitability for Your Space

Get the Right Size
Choose Timeless Colours
Get the Right Design

How to Maintain Rattan Outdoor Furniture
Spruce up Your Outdoor Living Space

How Long Does Rattan Last Outdoors?
What’s the Difference Between Wicker and Rattan?
Is PE Rattan Eco-Friendly?

What is Rattan Furniture?

Rattan furniture is woven in a wicker pattern around a strong frame. 

There are two types of rattan furniture: natural and synthetic.

Natural rattan furniture is made from a solid timber vine known as rattan. It’s part of the palm family. The core of the plant is used to make the frame of the furniture while strands of the Rattan are peeled and woven around the frame.

Synthetic rattan is woven in the same way. It looks and feels like natural rattan, but it’s made from materials like polyethylene. The synthetic fibre is woven around a metal frame.

Natural vs. Synthetic Rattan Furniture

Synthetic rattan and natural rattan have no differences in visual appeal and comfort. These aspects are determined by factors such as:

  • Quality of weaving used
  • Design of the furniture     

However, synthetic rattan is superior to natural rattan in durability and strength. This makes synthetic rattan the better option for outdoor use.

Natural rattan Synthetic rattan
Resistance to outdoor elements Natural rattan doesn’t react well when exposed to harsh weather for too long. The sun can bleach it, changing its colour. Exposure to rain could cause it to develop mould and mildew. Frost could make it split. Synthetic rattan is resistant to outdoor elements. If the quality of fibre used is great, synthetic rattan can take intense exposure to the sun without fading and is resistant to moisture.
Durability and maintenance You need to keep natural rattan furniture covered or move it indoors whenever there are harsh outdoor conditions. If left unprotected, natural rattan will begin to break and peel within a short use period. With only routine cleaning, you can leave artificial outdoor furniture outside year round and it will remain beautiful and strong.

What should you look for when buying rattan outdoor furniture?

Tip 1: It Should Provide Comfort

You’re likely to be spending a lot of hours relaxing on your garden sofa set, spending time with friends and family on the dining set, or soaking up some sun on the lounge. Make these moments count by investing in comfortable outdoor rattan furniture.

Comfort is largely tied to the quality of weaving used to make the rattan chair. You want to go for rattan outdoor furniture with closely knit weaving that produces a flat surface.

A good cushion will also add to the chair’s comfort. 

Pick furniture with a thick cushion that can maintain its shape over time. Thin cushions aren’t comfortable, and they tend to look sunken over time.

The cushions should have removable covers that are easy to wash and dry, such as polyester. Polyester is resistant to stretching and shrinking, which also adds to the overall aesthetic appeal of your furniture.   

Comfortable rattan furniture with closely knit weaving and thick cushions
Aston Rattan Corner Sofa Set - 9 Seater - Brown

Tip 2: Check the Materials Used

The materials used will give you a clear indication of the overall quality of the furniture and whether it’ll last long.

You want to go for polyethylene rattan (PE). It is one of the best types of rattans. 

Polyethylene rattan is superior to materials like polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in its durability.

This is because PVC and PU rattans do not have the high weather resistance that PE rattans have. They could turn brittle or sag when left exposed to extreme weather conditions all year round.

Rattan material made with polyethylene
Cote Garden Sofa Set - LED Cantilever Parasol - 4 Seater - Black Rattan

As standard, we only use PE rattan in all our rattan outdoor furniture.

“Good quality, seems to be durable and weatherproof so far - cushions are good quality too and really comfortable. Would definitely recommend over similarly priced products from the typical, larger retailers!” George S.

It’s also important to check the quality of the metal frame used. A strong frame will bear the weight of everyone using the furniture while still maintaining the furniture’s shape. It won’t bend over time.

Steel is a great material for the frame. It’s among the top five strongest metals.

For our rattan outdoor furniture, we use a powder-coated steel frame. The powder coating increases the metal’s durability and provides a protective barrier that makes it resistant to corrosion.

Tip 3: Suitability for Your Space

You want to go with rattan furniture that suits your style and fits your space.

Get the Right Size

Testimonial from alice ameerally

Measure the area you’ll be placing your furniture. A clear idea of how much space you have will help you narrow down your search to furniture that can fit without making your outdoors overcrowded.

The last thing you want is to trip over furniture as you or your guests move around. Choose a furniture layout that maximises your outdoor space.

This eight-seat rattan cube set, for instance, is great when you need a small dining set that provides the flexibility of accommodating a lot of people without taking up too much space. And when you need to turn it into a four-seat set, the footstools fit neatly underneath the table.

Modern and compact eight-seater rattan outdoor dining set that saves space
8 Seat Rattan Cube Outdoor Dining Set With LED Premium Parasol And Parasol Rain Cover - Grey Weave

Choose Timeless Colours

For the colour, you want to strike a balance that complements the furniture’s surroundings.

On that note, you could hardly go wrong with classic colours—grey, black, and brown. Even when you later move or make aesthetic changes to your outdoor area, these colours fit right in.

They’re available in a variety of other shades, too, and you can use coloured blankets, throws, and pillows to make the furniture snugger during cold seasons while also adding a fresh twist to its appearance.< a id="get-the-right">

Get the Right Design

Get the right design

Check the design of the furniture. Choose sleek modern designs that add a stylish touch to your outdoor area without costing a fortune.

Here are a few ideas:

This Laura James two-seater egg chair is sophisticated without taking up the space meant for plants and other fun items you may want to have outdoors

Black stylish egg chair from Laura James
2 Seater Rattan Egg Chair Bistro Set - Black

Or, you could go with this cosy and classic Cote garden sofa set with a parasol that has built-in LED lighting. 

Tasteful and modern brown rattan four-seater outdoor sofa set from Laura James
Cote Garden Sofa Set - LED Cantilever Parasol - 4 Seater - Brown Rattan

How to Maintain Rattan Outdoor Furniture

Regular cleaning increases the furniture’s longevity. The good news is that you don’t need any fancy cleaning products to keep your rattan furniture looking impeccable. 

You’ll need:

  • Regular dishwashing detergent
  • A bowl of warm water
  • A piece of cloth
  • An old toothbrush   
  • Clear lacquer
  • A paintbrush
  • A soft brush

For routine weekly cleaning:

  1. Add some detergent to the warm water.
  2. Dip a soft cloth in the water, squeeze out excess water and wipe the furniture. This will prevent over-wetting it.
  3. Use the toothbrush to clean the crevices.
  4. Allow the furniture to dry.

Once a year, you can do a thorough washing. You’ll need more water than required in routine cleaning. For yearly cleaning:

  1. Add some detergent to the warm water.
  2. Use the soft brush to gently scrub the furniture. Don’t forget to clean the crevices.  
  3. Use a garden hose to rinse it using a gentle spray setting.
  4. Allow the furniture to dry under the sun.
  5. Use the paintbrush to apply a coat of lacquer to give the furniture a great finish.

Spruce up Your Outdoor Living Space

It’s time to make your purchase. Here’s a quick checklist to guide you: 

  • Is the rattan synthetic? PE rattan furniture is the best choice for outdoor use, compared to natural rattan.
  • Is the frame strong? We recommend going for rattan outdoor furniture made with a steel frame.
  • Is it comfortable? Check that the weaving is closely knit and the cushions are comfy.
  • Is it right for your space? This means checking its size against the space available.
  • Does it make you happy? The colour and design should meet your taste.  

Browse through our variety of chic but affordable rattan outdoor furniture. 

Whether you want a bistro set, dining set, or sofa set, the comfort you’ll get from our quality rattan creations could turn your outdoor living space into the favourite part of your home.

“Gorgeous furniture set. Easy to put together and looks fab. Fantastic quality. Cushions are lovely. I was given an estimated date of end of March and arrived over 2 weeks early. Over the moon with everything. Will definitely recommend Laura James to everyone.” - Tracey Harrison


How Long Does Rattan Last Outdoors?

Hoe long does rattan last

Synthetic rattan is one of the best-lasting outdoor furniture materials due to its weatherproof abilities. How long it lasts will depend on the quality of the furniture and its maintenance. On average, it can last five to seven years. With proper maintenance, such as regular cleaning and proper storage when not in use, rattan furniture can last up to 10 years or more.

What’s the Difference Between Wicker and Rattan?

Wicker and rattan are often used interchangeably, but the two words refer to two different things.   

Wicker is the style of weaving used in furniture and items such as baskets, while rattan is a type of material commonly used in wicker weaves.  

So, when you see ‘wicker rattan woven furniture’, it means furniture made with rattan that’s woven using the wicker pattern.

Is PE Rattan Eco-Friendly?

PE rattan is made with polyethylene. Fortunately, polyethylene is fully recyclable. This means PE rattan furniture can be made from recycled materials. It also can be melted down and reformed into new items. When the time comes to replace the furniture, you can rest assured it won’t end up in a landfill.

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