What Materials Is Rattan Made Out Of?

It goes without saying that rattan furniture is superior to standard garden furniture. Rattan is frequently regarded as the ideal addition to any outdoor area. The actual product, however, can be quite pricey and difficult to maintain, especially if you reside in a nation where summertime is frequently marked by rain and wind.

Because of this, artificial rattan furniture is a fantastic choice. You still have the traditional rattan look, but with less upkeep and disappointment when it rains.

a rattan chair

You may check the Pluses and Minuses of Rattan Garden Furniture here, and we also have compiled more information about rattan furniture and even what it’s made of.


Even after all these years, people are still not entirely sure what rattan furniture is made of. We go into greater detail to define rattan, discuss its origins, delve into the part of its history, and much more.

What distinguishes furniture made of wicker from that made of rattan?

a stylish wicker sofa in a patio

You will no doubt have noticed wicker furniture sets on sale in various stores while you shop around. Since wicker furniture has been popular despite not technically being a material, it has gained widespread perception thanks to how it is sold.

Rather than referring to the material, wicker furniture’s name refers to the weaving technique. Typically, bamboo, straw, or unprocessed rattan are used to create this furniture style.

It may seem a little confused because the phrases “wicker” and “rattan” are frequently used synonymously. The simplest way to distinguish between the two is to remember that rattan is the natural material used in conservatory furniture or outdoor furniture. In contrast, wicker is the method used to put it all together.

What Is Rattan?

a rattan plant

The best way to define rattan is as a climbing palm that will clamber through a forest and grow over many types of plants. As a natural, sturdy material that can also withstand various stains and paints, rattan is well renowned for being a great choice for home decor furniture and accessories. Rattan must be processed in several different ways. Bamboo and rattan production has a long history in Vietnam.

Rattan is the substance used to create a wicker weave, as was previously explained. It is a plant that originates from hot, tropical areas and is grown in Australia, Asia, and Africa. Rattan is a plant with more than 600 different species and 13 genera, and its texture resembles bamboo.

Rattan grows in nations from sea level to 3,000 meters above sea level and is a member of the palm (Arecales or Palmea) family. The plant typically grows in hot, hilly regions with annual rainfall levels of -2,000mm and mean temperatures that hover around 25°C. Due to these circumstances, South and Southeast Asia serve as the primary regions for rattan production. Rattan is mostly produced in Indonesian forests, while significant amounts are also produced in Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.

a black man weaving a basket using rattan

Single-stemmed, clustered, and high- or low-climbing species are among the varieties of rattan palms. Some plants have underground stems that only reach a few inches below the surface. Other species may reach heights of up to 100 meters elsewhere.

If you examine a rattan plant attentively, you will notice that the whips and protective sheaths both have spines. These enable the plant to expand over adjacent trees and plants in the rainforest and keep growing.

How About Synthetic Rattan?

Synthetic rattan furniture has the same look and feel as natural rattan but is constructed from an artificial fiber that is significantly stronger and more durable. Similar to real rattan, the fibers are weaved but frequently treated with UV compounds and polyethylene resin (PE), which can stop fading and wear.

round bags made from synthetic rattan

You could have also heard the terms “plastic rattan” or “resin wicker” used to describe fake rattan. Remember that natural abaca strands are used to create real rattan (palm). It is undeniably gorgeous, but because it is made of such a delicate material, it cannot be used outdoors.

As a result, synthetic fibers are a much better choice. Artificial rattan is typically constructed from polyethylene so that it can be made to endure longer. Keep in mind that wicker is a weaving technique, not a material! Therefore, wicker furniture does not necessarily refer to actual rattan chairs or tables.

There are some tips for taking care of rattan furniture to give you ideas on properly caring for your rattan-made stuff at home.

History of Rattan

Although rattan is typically associated with places like South America and Africa, it was initially found in Egyptian pharaohs’ tombs. Ancient civilizations employed weaving wicker techniques to create useful objects like baskets. Later, this developed into the Roman Empire, when the method was incorporated into their culture, and weaving became a way of life there. Although the 17th century saw the emergence of the modern wicker weave in northern Europe, it was Asian traders who helped it gain popularity in this region of the world.

Due to its durability and suitability for weaving, rattan started to become the dominating material in the western world as trade between Europe and Asia increased. Rattan furniture usage expanded alongside the British Empire in the West Indies, India, and eventually the UK. It played a significant role in Victorian culture and evolved into a kind of luxury goods.

Thanks to improvements in production technology and declining manufacturing prices, rattan was made more affordable for common homeowners in the 1960s and 1970s. Whereas wicker-style furniture was originally considered extravagant and only appropriate for upper-class settings, it underwent a revival and gained new popularity in British homes.

Rattan Is Eco-friendly

a potted plant on a rattan side table

Natural rattan is fully biodegradable, which is another amazing quality. This indicates that if you decide to replace your current product in the future, it can be entirely recycled. On the other hand, synthetic rattan does not provide the same assurance, necessitating its disposal at a landfill dump. Due to the pollutants they release into the atmosphere; landfills are a major problem facing environmentalists today.

Given the direct and indirect effects that the commodities and products we purchase today can have on the environment, it is more crucial than ever that we do so. When it comes to outdoor furniture, natural rattan furniture is among the most environmentally friendly options you can choose from, so in addition to enjoying a beautiful piece of furniture for years to come, you are also doing your part to support future generations.