Learn More About Wicker and Rattan, the Most Versatile in Patio Furniture Materials

When describing rattan or wicker furniture, many people use the terms interchangeably by mistake. While these furnishings can have similarities in style and appearance, they also have important differences. Here is what you need to know to help decide between the two.


Rattan is closely related to the palm tree, but it has the growth habit of a vine. It cultivates rapidly in pole shapes with diameters ranging from 1 to 3 inches. Native to southeastern jungle regions, it can grow as tall as 100 feet. Unlike bamboo, rattan poles have a strong core. Since rattan is durable and hard to break, it’s one of the sturdiest materials according to Wicker Paradise.

When the core is collected along with vertical grains, it is cut into smaller pieces. It undergoes a steaming process to give the material varied shapes. When making rattan furniture, the outside skin is used to bind joints together .


Wicker is a weaving technique, not a substance. This ancient method is used to make all kinds of items, not just wicker chairs. Materials implemented include rattan core, straw, bamboo, willow, rush, and even synthetic materials such as resin and vinyl. Most commonly, wicker weavers work with wet materials.

How do you choose between the two? Keep in mind that rattan fades in sunlight. Even if you use outdoor chair cushions, they won’t protect the material enough. That’s why rattan is best for indoor use. You can place furnishings made via the wicker method outdoors, as long as the material can withstand the elements.

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