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What is the Rattan Style?

Rattan has become one of the most fashionable styles not just in North America, but also in Asia, Europe, and Africa as well. Today, it is easy to come across websites and designer brick-and-mortar stores that showcase the 1950s and 1960s rattan-style arm-chairs, sofas and other types of furniture. They are part of the unconquerable Rattan renaissance- a style of furniture that was popular in the 20th century.

Rattan is a Liana that can grow up to a height of 2,000 feet above the ground. It is a strong and adaptable member of the large palm family. The plant species are common in the forests of Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore.

Huge demand for the unique style of furniture started towards the end of the 19th century and extended into the 20th century. They were mainly imported from countries in the Far East that were under the Britons during the colonial period.

Rattan furniture was common in conservatories, but they later found their way into luxury homes and hotels.

What is the difference between Rattan furniture and other styles of furniture?

Unlike many other materials that are used to make furniture, rattan has a very strong core. That is why it is difficult to break or bend. It is very durable since the material can last for many years with minimal wear and tear.

Photo Source: Pixabay

The solid inner parts together with vertical grains are first harvested. Thereafter, they are cut into small pieces and steamed so as to transform them into different shapes. Furniture joints are bound together using the peels/ outer skins.

On one hand, rattan furniture is strictly made using rattan material. On the other hand, wicker furniture can be made using materials like straw, bamboo or synthetic materials.

When compared to other types of furniture, rattan furniture is more versatile, strong, attractive and durable.

Rattan furniture is available in a wide range of colors. This is because the material can absorb any type of stain and paint. When steamed, the material can be fashioned into many shapes.

Facts about Rattan at a glance

Photo Source: Pixabay

1. The plant is common in the jungles of Asia, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

2. If left out in harsh weather conditions, rattan material rapidly deteriorates. It is, therefore, suitable for use on Mediterranean surfaces.

3. It belongs to the large palm family of plants and resembles the Liana plant.

4. There are more than 100 species of the plant, and the stems can have a diameter ranging from 1 mm to 600 mm.

5. Slender stems have the tendency of climbing up tree canopies. They can grow up to a height of 2,000 ft and beyond.

6. When bent, the material does not easily splinter or break.

7. It is suitable for wickerwork since the plant maintains an identical length.

8. If steamed or heated, it becomes easy to bend, weave or curve the inner core.

9. The outer skin is usually shiny. It is among the hardest plant materials globally.

How to choose the right rattan furniture

Make sure the weave is tight. It should be devoid of protruding strands and rough corners.

Look out for variegation of colours schemes along the strands and irregular scraped surface. These are some of the qualities of top-quality rattans.

Photo Source: Pixabay

Choose pieces of furniture with aluminum frames. They are signs of durability and strength. To confirm the presence or absence of steel material, use a magnet.

Chairs or sofas that are slab-shaped offer more value for money because making them requires more expertise. Avoid purchasing square-shaped furniture, unless they are cheap.

Find out if the weave has ultraviolet protection. If there is no UV protection, the weave will start developing cracks and also become brittle.

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Natasha Lawless
natasha, author, design, surface

Hello, I’m Natasha, a surface & textile designer based in Lower Clapton, that reads, blogs and daydreams about the beautiful things in our world.

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