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Wicker and Rattan Furniture Is Trending and We're Here for It

What is Rattan Furniture?

Native to Indonesia, rattan is a species of palm that has a similar texture to light wood. Traditionally used in coastal dècor, rattan’s smooth finish and natural beige color pack a styling punch. Like jute, seagrass, and other natural materials, rattan has a light feel and is easy to move, making it an increasingly popular choice for home dècor in almost any style.

A Quick History of Wicker and Rattan Furniture

Even though rattan is a native plant of Indonesia, the wicker and rattan furniture industry began in the U.S. (not in Asia) in the 1840s. When clipper ships left China for the U.S. carrying a variety of goods, raw cane rattan was used to secure the cargo. After the long journey, the raw rattan was discarded on the docks.

An enterprising grocer named Cyrus Wakefield collected a batch of the stuff and was taken with how flexible it was. Although not a furniture maker, Wakefield decided to try out the material. He saw the infinite potential of rattan, and became a full-time furniture manufacturer. The rest, as they say, is history.

What Is the Difference Between Wicker and Rattan?

Although often used synonymously, rattan and wicker are not the same things. Rattan is a type of material, and wicker is the weaving technique. Although rattan is the most common material used in wicker weaving, other materials can be used.

Why Is Tropical Wicker Furniture So Popular?

Because of its casual vibe, island rattan furniture is often associated with tropical dècor and outdoor furniture. However, wicker and rattan have seen a resurgence in popularity in the past few years. You can see it sneaking into a variety of popular styles. It now seems to be everywhere, filling up Instagram feeds and Pinterest boards with sophisticated looks.

wicker chair

Popular Wicker and Rattan Furniture and Dècor

Some of the most sought-after and popular rattan and wicker items include console tables, ottomans, peacock chairs, baskets, and mirrors. Here are ways to use rattan and tropical wicker furniture in your interior design.

wicker console table

Add Texture to a Neutral Space

Wicker is a fantastic choice for creating a fresh look in a living room, bedroom, or dining room. It is particularly stunning in traditionally decorated rooms and adds texture to neutral spaces. A wicker chair placed in the corner of a bedroom creates visual interest separate from the neutral walls as its distinctive style highlights other features in the room.

Use a Wicker Table

Wicker has a translucent quality that helps it blend into any space. It brings a sense of airiness that lets it stand out without taking up too much room. It is simultaneously obvious and elusive, traits that make it perfect for busy areas. For smaller areas, a wicker table can be functional while not adding mass to the area.

Bring the Indoors Out

People often talk about bringing the outdoors in. With wicker furniture, you can bring the indoors out.

Creating an outdoor space with familiar furnishings and accessories builds a sense of cohesion between the outside and inside a house. This intrinsically complementary style both stands out and offers a sense of comfort and homeliness to outdoor areas.

Expect to find wicker popping up in unusual ways in interior design in the next few years. Its versatile nature makes it popular and useful in many ways. From furnishings to fun accessories, how much wicker you add depends on how relaxed you want your space to be. You can sprinkle it into your dècor with accessories or go bigger with an armchair or coffee table.

Add some wicker to your interior dècor and you'll see why it is trending!