Unlike what many people think, wicker is not a type of plant used to make baskets and furniture. It is actually a way of weaving plant fiber (like rattan, bamboo, willow, reeds, etc.) into things like baskets and furniture.
Wicker is surprisingly strong, flexible, and light, while the plants from which it is woven grow fast and are cheap to harvest. When the rattan or other plant material from which the wicker is made is properly treated, it can be remarkably weather-resistant.
Depending on the design (or branding) and the method of manufacture, wicker furniture can be cheap or it can also be expensive. For example, you can often find cheap indoor and outdoor wicker furniture in South
East Asia made from rattan woven around wooden frames, while wicker furniture in China and South Asia is often made from bamboo.
On the other hand, outdoor wicker furniture (and indoor as well) in Europe and America costs a lot more. They often have to be imported from far away (e.g. Indonesia is one of the major producers of rattan and wooden furniture) while those made locally need expensive labor.
Fortunately for those who love wickerwork, modern technology has successfully created plastics and resins that can be woven to resemble traditional natural plant fibers. When wrapped around lightweight metal frames made from (chromed) steel or aluminium alloys, they can be made into relatively affordable wicker garden furniture. You can see many examples of this in hotels – this outdoor wicker furniture made from artificial materials is placed by the poolside.
They remain in good condition despite being exposed to sometimes harsh conditions and are easy to keep clean by hosing them down with water. Such mass-produced artificial resin wicker furniture looks as good as the more expensive designer and handmade outdoor wicker furniture but can be bought at a fraction of the price.
Buying Tips For Outdoor Wicker Furniture
One manufacturer that is making its presence felt in the field of outdoor wicker furniture is Strathwood. They make very natural-looking resin wicker furniture – including sofa sets, tables, chairs, and even outdoor dining furniture sold for around $500 to $700 a piece. Compare this to the $1000 and up being asked for designer brands of wicker furniture.
While their designs may not be for everybody, they are certainly worth using as a baseline when you are looking to buy your wicker garden furniture. Any wicker furniture that is more expensive than Strathwood’s should look and feel correspondingly better, while anything that cannot match its quality should cost much less.
Generally speaking, outdoor wicker furniture should not be bought online. You should visit the furniture stores in your area, and go even further if needed. When you see a set of good-looking wicker garden furniture, try to imagine how it would look on your patio or lawn.
Sit on the chairs – sit on the edge of the seat, sit back on the chair or sofa, slouch on the wicker chair – just test it out in all the various ways you intend to use it. Do they need cushions? Do the seats come with cushions? Are the cushions too thin, too thick, too soft, too hard?
When you are seated, can you easily reach out to grab a glass or book placed on the wicker table? These are all things you need to be able to feel in person – factors you cannot evaluate while shopping online.
One important factor to consider is how weatherproof this outdoor wicker furniture is. Can they really be left out in the sun, rain, and snow without harm? Some high-grade outdoor wicker furniture is made from artificial resin wicker woven over aluminium alloy frames and has weather-proof cushions – these can be safely left exposed to the elements but will naturally cost a lot more. Lower-grade wicker garden furniture would be made of cheaper resin wicker where the colors can fade when exposed to intense sunlight.
Instead of lightweight aluminium alloy frames, they may use a cheaper and heavier coated or chromed steel frame. Any provided cushions would also be made of cheaper materials and not weatherproof. Cheaper resin wicker furniture like these cannot be placed in the middle of your lawn – they would need to be placed in a sheltered patio and covered up when not in use.
Another important is how to maintain the outdoor wicker furniture you buy. No matter how much you like a particular design or set of outdoor furniture, ask the salesman and check the user manual on how to keep it clean and maintain it. Is it a simple hose it down with water as needed? Or are there more complex instructions like applying some special chemical or additive on a regular basis?
You should also check the cleaning instructions for the cushions – some may require hand washing or washing in warm water. If you cannot just drop the cushion into a washing machine and turn it on, is it still acceptable to you?
Whereas rattan or bamboo wicker is used in Asia to make sturdy yet economical furniture, in the US and Europe outdoor wicker furniture is a statement of style and luxury. When buying wicker garden furniture, you need to know both your initial budget and replacement budget. Just because you can afford to buy that designer handmade wicker furniture made from rattan does not mean you can afford to replace it when it inevitably wears out in the next five years.
If you do not have an unlimited budget, you may want to temper your desires and buy cheaper but less unique mass-produced resin wicker furniture. Remember to test for comfort and practicality – looks are important but not the only factor.
Rattan Wicker Garden Furniture
Are you in the market for sprucing up your garden area? Maybe you are looking at natural wicker materials. There are several types to choose from including bamboo or reed. You might also look at willow and rattan wicker furniture. It is important when choosing furniture made from wicker to understand what you are wanting, know how to care for it, and the look you are searching for.
When you begin your search for furniture made from wicker, you will need to understand the quality that you desire in your set. Obviously, you want your furniture to looking great, and you want it to look great for a long time. Make sure that you are getting the good quality that will be able to withstand all types of weather. Also, make sure it is comfortable. If your chairs last for fifty years but you hate to sit in them, it doesn’t do you much good.
Make sure that you know how to care for your wicker or wooden garden furniture before you buy it. Your wicker should be washed off with a wet washcloth frequently. If you do this in a timely manner, the dirt will not build up, and your furniture will always look nice. Another good idea is to spray them with a mild detergent, and always let them dry in the sunshine. You can also vacuum your furniture if you see it is getting dusty. If it is very cold outside, it is best to bring your garden furniture inside.
Before you buy, you will of course need to know what look you are going for. There are many different wicker sets, and it can be a bit daunting when you are searching. Try to consider the amount of space you have, and figure out how much furniture needs to go there. What pieces do you want to add to your set? Then decide on the material that you want, and if you want them to be covered or not.
If you enjoy changing your look more frequently, covered furniture might be the way to go. A new cover can make the whole area look different, and can be much cheaper than replacing all your outdoor furnishings. Research the different aspects and find what works best for your garden area.
Your garden area can be a great place to have after-dinner drinks, invite friends, or just relax with family. It is important that it looks good. If wicker is the look you want, you need to find the quality that will continue to look good, as well as will be comfortable. Taking good care of your furniture will make it last a long time, and remain beautiful. Choosing the right design for your furniture can say a lot about you and your style, and can also be a lot of fun.
Purchasing the right rattan wicker garden furniture will give you the satisfaction of loving your garden that much more. So, find your wicker chair, sit back with a cool drink, and relax in your beautiful garden.
Rattan Garden Furniture Care and Maintenance
In buying rattan weave furniture you’ve got yourself some really stylish and attractive furniture. But you want your furniture to look good and last as long as possible, so you need to give some consideration to how you are going to take care of and maintain your furniture.
A lot will depend on how you use the furniture and what type of rattan woven furniture you own. There are generally two types of wicker weave rattan furniture, you’ve got your natural weave made from the organic rattan vine which may be mounted on a teak or hardwood frame then you’ve got your, perhaps more contemporary, synthetic rattan outdoor furniture made from man-made poly weave and mounted generally on resin or aluminium framing.
Natural or traditional wicker rattan furniture constructed from organic materials needs a certain amount of care if it is to have an extended, damage-free lifetime and continue to look fresh. The natural materials are usually lacquered for protection, but prolonged exposure to sunlight can discolor the weave.
Being a natural fibrous material rattan doesn’t react well to moisture and over the long term can be attacked by mold and discolor if left in damp or wet conditions. These factors would indicate that to get the best out of your natural weave furniture your going to have to either use it indoors, use it in a conservatory with some covers or cushions or use it in a garden on dry days and find adequate storage for it when the weather is damp or wet. Taking these basic precautions should help the furniture stay looking good.
Cleaning natural rattan isn’t too difficult or complicated. A stiff brush can be used on the weave to remove dust and washing it down with a damp cloth shouldn’t present any long-term hazards. Avoid soaking the weave and all should be well.
More contemporary poly rattan weave outdoor furniture or synthetic rattan furniture is, by contrast, bulletproof! Specifically designed to overcome the problems found inherently with natural weave, poly rattan is relatively unaffected by weather conditions and, if it is framed with aluminium, it is corrosion free, as a result, this furniture is often called all-weather rattan. This means that this furniture can be used indoors or outdoors without concern for the prevailing weather conditions.
If you are short on storage, take precautions by covering the furniture over to prevent dust and dirt ingress, but by all means, leave it outdoors. As with natural rattan weave, if you need to seasonally clean the furniture then a stiff brush will often do the job, but if you feel the need to be really thorough, then even using a jet wash shouldn’t affect the materials in your furniture, just be sure the construction is solid.