Rattan furniture is made by winding strips of rattan fiber over a frame and weaving them into a wicker pattern. The resulting furniture is both comfortable and durable. Rattan can be used for everything from armchairs and sofas to seats and backs for dining chairs. Rattan can even be used to make tables, usually with a glass top to give a level surface. Rattan furniture combines durability and comfort, and is used for both indoor and outdoor furniture. Wicker furniture can be made from either natural or synthetic materials – synthetic wicker is available under names such as Dura-Wicker and Viro, and is known by general terms such as polyrattan, poly rattan and all weather woven.
Natural rattan furniture is made from a tropical vine which is typically woven over a hardwood frame. The rattan fiber is woven while still flexible then hardens as it dries out, eventually becoming permanently set into its shape. Natural wicker furniture is usually made by skilled craftsmen close to the origin of the materials, then transported around the world for sale to the end user.
Natural rattan furniture is not weatherproof, so while you can bring it out into the garden on a fine day, it is not suitable for leaving outside. Regular outside use will take its toll on natural rattan furniture, as it promises to fade from exposure to sunlight. Natural wicker furniture can also be affected by molds, especially in the nooks and crannies around the inner frame and underneath.
Synthetic rattan furniture has a very realistic natural appearance, even on close examination. Synthetic wicker furniture can be made from a variety of materials including polythene, polypropylene, resin or recycled plastic. Ready availability of materials means that synthetic wicker furniture can be made anywhere in the world, and the manufacturing processes are more automated which reduces costs to the end user as well as making it possible to produce a wider variety of designs.
Most synthetic rattan furniture is woven onto an aluminum frame rather than hardwood, making it lighter than similar natural rattan products. Other than routine cleaning, synthetic rattan furniture is maintenance free and does not attract molds. With UV resistance, and usually frost resistance, synthetic wicker furniture can be left outside come rain or shine. This makes synthetic rattan a great material for use outdoors, and it is now widely used for both modern and traditional garden furniture.