The Design Home is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Author: Jennifer Vasquez
Rattan is among the oldest natural material used for making furniture today. Rattan is a vine that grows in the tropical forests of the Far East.
Unlike bamboo, which is hollow, rattan is a solid timber vine that grows in the tropical forests in Indonesia. This country alone supplies about 70% of rattan needs around the world. The rest is supplied by rattan originated from Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Most rattan comes from tropical forest available on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Nusa Tenggara.
Technically speaking, rattan has some advantages compared to wood. It is lighter in weight, strong, elastic, easier to make both regular and irregular shapes and of course less costly. Due to these comparative advantages rattan has been widely used as the material to produce home furniture such as tables, chairs and bookshelves. Additionally, rattan grows faster than any tropical wood species and people gain from easier harvesting works. Overall, making indoor furniture from rattan is economically more beneficial than making similar indoor wooden furniture.
Most rattan grows to hundreds of feet in length; it is one of nature’s strongest materials. It will not splinter nor break so it is ideal for making furniture. And when you need a curved shape rattan does it for you; once molded by steaming process, solid rattan retains its contours permanently. The outer skin of the rattan pole named as peel and traditionally is used to wrap joints. And, due to such flexible characteristics, from rattan you can make various kind of home accent and home decoration items.
Disadvantages of natural rattan furniture
Natural rattan furniture can’t be exposed to harsh ultraviolet sunlight for prolonged periods of time, as this can affect the colour. Water hyacinth, for example, as it is a natural untreated handmade product, it will absorb moisture and dry out in direct relation to climate conditions. To avoid any deterioration natural rattan furniture is only suitable for use in a dry and well ventilated environment.
Briefly speaking, although protective surface finishing may help but basically a natural rattan furniture will not survive well in an outdoor setting.
Another issue is that – as happen to any natural material – rattan should receive a proper treatment to improving its resistance against attacks of termites. Again, the weather condition where a rattan furniture is located may affect its durability.
The solution for an outdoor needs
Specifically if you need rattan and wicker furniture for use in an outdoor setting, the solution is wicker outdoor furniture made of polyethylene-based fiber, the synthetic rattan furniture. Use of this polyethylene-based fiber to furniture combines the elegance of classic wicker crafts and the endurance of synthetic fiber, resulting to long-lasting all weather wicker furniture.
Wicker, although a classic, works well for the furniture buyer who wants a home reflecting the feel of casual elegance. Synthetic wicker furniture not only offers comfort, versatility and livability, but it also offers superb endurance an outdoor furniture always requires.
Synthetic rattan furniture mixes well with upholstered pieces, providing texture and nature to the home environment, patio, sunroom, and to poolside too. Whether you operate a furniture business, have a family-managed furniture store, or own outdoor restaurants and cafes, synthetic rattan furniture is worth to be considered.
About the Author
Jennifer Vasquez is a professional writer living in Boston, MA. Writes various topics in different fields of industry such as fashion clothing, tropical living (eg. tropical wooden house & garden gazebo) and home accent & garden decoration. Jenni also has an interest in local custom such as on baju muslim & busana muslimah.