Natural rattan is the name for around 600 different species of plant that are native to the Calameae tribe from Africa, Asia and Australasia. Rattan is a climbing vine and considered to be one of the strongest woods available for weaving.
It is woven into shape while still flexible, usually around a wooden frame to give it structure and then becomes solid when the rattan dries out. In recent years, rattan has become a very popular material for making garden and conservatory furniture including chairs, tables and sofas. This is possibly due to the fact that the furniture can be made extremely comfortable with sofa cushions that are specially designed to fit. Rattan outdoor furniture also has an ‘indoor outdoor’ style about it, giving the feeling of sitting on a sofa but outdoors.
Many people confuse rattan furniture with wicker furniture however wicker isn’t the actual material, rather the process of making the furniture. So a piece can be both rattan and wicker but not all wicker pieces are made from rattan.
However, while natural rattan furniture may look fantastic outside, it is not weather-proof so cannot be left outside all year round or when it rains. Regular use out in the sunlight can also affect the colour, causing it to fade. And to top it off, because it is a natural material, it is susceptible to moulds growing on it.
Luckily, synthetic rattan furniture has been developed so that buyers can still have the same style of garden furniture while having the product for much longer. Synthetic rattan furniture is usually made of plastics such as polythene, polycarbonate and even recycled plastic materials.
Because all of the above materials are so readily available and easy to come by, the furniture can then be made anywhere throughout the world. Because of its resistance to all weathers, the furniture can be left outside all year round which is a great solution for homes with little storage space. The plastic can also be treated so that mould can’t grow as easily and that the colour won’t fade nearly so much when exposed to high levels of sunlight.
Synthetic rattan furniture is a great solution for homes in the UK that want modern conservatory furniture or rattan patio furniture that is easy to look after but still looks stylish and is comfy to sit on. With the unpredictable British weather being the way it is, it is a much safer idea to have synthetic rattan furniture rather than the natural alternative