Bamboo, Wicker & Rattan Furniture
At Modish, we have a curated collection of products in home decor, furniture and lighting for your modern home. Our special focus on sustainability and environment has led to a large range of wicker, bamboo, rattan and cane furniture products that are stylish and chic. The Modish catalogue consists of high quality, exquisite, hand-crafted or artisan made items sourced from different countries in rustic, industrial, farmhouse and vintage styles. We sell reputed brands like Kalalou, Artisan Living, Modway, HomArt, Zuo, Vagabond, Gold Leaf, Zodax etc.
There is a common misconception about bamboo, rattan and wicker - many people use these terms interchangeably. But they all mean different things.
- Rattan and bamboo are two different types of materials that are used in furniture making. Rattan is from the palm family and is a vine-like plant that cannot stand on its own, but grows with support from other sources (usually around trees). Bamboo is a grass that grows independently and is much stouter than rattan. Both species grow very fast, often up to six metres per year! The Philippines is one of the main producers of rattan.
- Bamboo is hollow, but rattan is not. Because bamboo is hollow, it is inflexible, as any bending would snap it. Although bamboo is very hard, rattan is more durable than it. When bamboo grows, it is uniform in thickness, irrespective of how tall the plant grows. Rattan being a vine, becomes thicker as it grows.
- Since rattan is flexible, it can be woven into intricately designed furniture. Therefore an easy way to check if your furniture is rattan or bamboo - check if the canes are curved or bent and if so, the furniture is rattan. Bamboo, on the other hand being rigid is used in more simplistic designs as its stems must be arranged parallel to each other. Often, both rattan and bamboo are used in the same furniture, with the main body made from bamboo and bindings or patterns created using rattan. Typical examples of rattan furniture sets are - rattan outdoor furniture, rattan patio furniture, rattan indoor furniture, rattan bedroom furniture, rattan garden furniture, rattan living room furniture, rattan sunroom furniture etc.
Wicker: Furniture made from both natural materials like bamboo and rattan or synthetic fibres is often referred to as wicker. The term wicker does not have anything to do with the materials used to create furniture; rather it is the name given to the process of weaving different materials into patterns. Wicker furniture is made from weaving these materials around wooden or metal frames to produce chairs, tables, sofas, wicker patio furniture, wicker outdoor furniture, wicker furniture cushions, white wicker furniture, indoor wicker furniture etc.
Wicker furniture can be made from either natural or synthetic materials. Natural wicker is made from materials like Reed, Cane, Rattan, Seagrass, Bamboo, Willow etc. Synthetic wicker is made from materials like Resin, Vinyl etc.
Wicker and rattan are two terms that commonly are confused with each other, but they mean very different things.
Rattan is a material used to make woven furniture or decor, while wicker is a style of weaving that material into a finished product. Rattan describes the raw material for the product, while wicker refers to the weaving process that created the product. Rattan is a naturally growing vine that grows in places like Australia, Asia & Africa. During its production process, the skin of the vine is peeled away and utilized for weaving purposes as “rattan”. Often the core is not wasted, but finds use in other types of furniture. Rattan is used for furniture as it lightweight, durable, flexible, and decorative. While it is very popular, it doesn’t score high on sustainability, as the rattan stalks are cut prematurely and they don’t regrow. Hence sometimes synthetic materials are used in place of naturally occuring rattan.
Wicker can be made either of natural fibers or synthetic ones like resins. Wicker furniture is usually hand-woven, and it is high in quality and quite durable. Synthetic wicker materials look similar to natural rattan, but they are longer lasting. Natural rattan cannot be used outdoors while exposed to rain, but polyethylene based synthetic wickers (or outdoor wicker patio furniture) are great for outdoor because of their ability to withstand the elements of nature. Wicker furniture sets are very popular and come in a wide variety - be it wicker bedroom furniture, wicker furniture set, wicker porch furniture, resin wicker outdoor furniture, white wicker porch furniture, wicker lawn furniture etc.
The term “wicker” is often confused with the material for making furniture products, whereas it is actually the process by which materials (e.g. wood, rattan, reed, willow, banana leaf, bamboo) are woven into furniture, baskets and decorative products. Wicker made from bamboo is called Bamboo Wicker, while that made from Rattan is called Rattan Wicker.
Bamboo Wicker: It is a product made by weaving bamboo material into a desired shape. Bamboo is hollow, but that doesn't make it a weak material. In fact, it is stronger than many hardwoods like oak, cherry, maple etc and cannot be bent. Being hollow, bamboo wicker products don’t usually use screws, but are wrapped (or tied) together together in place. Bamboo typically has prominent, distinctive rings on its surface, while rattan is smoother. Bamboo wicker is used extensively for home decor - from beautiful baskets and stylish furniture, to Christmas ornaments and decorations.
Rattan Wicker: Rattan is more widely used in wicker furniture than bamboo, though bamboo is aesthetically more appealing. Sometimes rattan products are made to look like bamboo rattan furniture.
Wicker furniture is very popular for outdoor usage in porches, patios and balconies. Here are the advantages wicker has over other types of furniture -
Versatility: With hardwood furniture, it's not easy to move them around or change their orientation to suit a different mood. But wicker has no such problem - it's position can be changed in a jiffy to match your changing tastes and styles - from casual to elegant, or modern to traditional. Wicker is versatile because it can be adapted quickly to different decorating styles. Examples could be white wicker furniture set, white wicker patio furniture, black wicker outdoor furniture, white wicker outdoor furniture etc.
Flexibility: With other types of furniture, it's not easy to add an accessory or a new piece while maintaining consistency and uniformity. But wicker can fit seamlessly with almost all furniture styles - it comes in so many colours & designs, that you can easily match wicker furniture to the glass, wood or metal tables and chairs you already own.
Durability: Natural wicker needs more maintenance and cannot be used outdoors, but most modern ‘wicker’ furniture isn't made of natural fibres, but synthetic resins that are moulded to give a natural look. These are very easy to clean and maintain. They are very durable even outdoors, dry up real fast if wet, and getting stains off them is easy as well.
Affordability: Moulded resin wicker furniture is much cheaper than natural wicker furniture, or other types of furniture like hardwood or metallic. Inexpensive wicker patio furniture sets or wicker living room furniture are available as well.
Bamboo is considered one of the world’s fastest growing plants. It actually is a kind of grass which matures in about 5 years. Bamboo plants reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the main contributor to global warming. When compared to an equivalent stand of trees, Bamboo releases 35% more oxygen, making it one of the best plants on earth for sequestering carbon. All these factors have led to bamboo becoming a popular environment friendly, renewable resource that is harvested from fully sustainable and rapidly regrowing forests.
An additional advantage of bamboo is that it is grown organically, without the use of pesticides, fertilizer, chemicals. Bamboo is harvested without usually killing the plant. The root system is left in the soil to regenerate again into a new tree in 5-6 years.
Given the above factors, bamboo has become an inexpensive and an eco-friendly choice for making sustainable & chic furniture. Various furniture products of bamboo are built and sold at bamboo furniture stores - table and chair sets, beds, cabinets, coffee tables, sideboards, tiles, partitions, dressers etc. You can have bamboo outdoor furniture, bamboo wall decor, bamboo bedroom furniture, bamboo patio furniture, bamboo living room furniture etc.
If you’re trying to buy bamboo furniture, here are some factors to consider -
- Color: Furniture made from bamboo is usually available in two colors - natural bamboo & carbonized bamboo. Natural bamboo is typically the light maple color - that’s the natural color of bamboo if it is manufactured into furniture without any attempt to alter its natural appearance. Carbonized bamboo, on the other hand is the result of a steaming process that brings out a darker, amber shade in bamboo’s natural grains.
- Composition: The smooth furniture look of bamboo furniture we see finally is achieved by cutting the bamboo stalk (because bamboo is a grass, not a tree, it doesn’t have a trunk but a stalk) into small, narrow sections and then gluing, tying or fusing those sections together.
- Durability and Cost: Bamboo is actually quiet hard and its durability can be considered comparable with various hardwoods Because of this factor, bamboo isn’t cheap, but costs less than most furniture made from hardwoods like oak, maple, and cherry.
- Eco Friendly Character: If you’re into an eco-friendly lifestyle, bamboo is simply the best choice. Bamboo is the greenest of all materials. Because it is actually a grass, it grows very fast and can be harvested much sooner than trees. It does not need to be replanted after each harvest, since it just regrows from the old roots. So bamboo plantations can continually harvest the same stand of bamboo every few years fore-ever without removing the parent plant (thats why bamboo cultivation is almost like mowing your lawn).
Bamboo has become extremely popular because it is amongst the world’s most environment friendly resources to raise, harvest and use, thus promoting a sustainable and green lifestyle. Milled, sanded and finely finished bamboo furniture is comparable to hardwood furniture in terms of durability, beauty and aesthetic appeal. Many people love bamboo’s natural, tropical and beach-bum rustic look, which is a welcome departure from the woody, ornate look of other furniture styles.
Here are the key advantages of using bamboo furniture -
- Durability: Bamboo furniture withstands everyday use and it is more resistant to damage than typical hardwoods. This is the reason why bamboo gets used for kitchen cutting boards - it takes the wear & tear of repeated knife use and still retains it form and beauty better than other woods.
- Resistance to Swelling & Shrinking: Bamboo furniture is resistant to swelling or shrinking due to atmospheric changes. It can withstand changes from humid to dry air and variations in temperature.
- Hardness & Strength: Something that may surprise you - Bamboo’s tensile strength is comparable to that of steel. It is for this reason bamboo fibers are used in composite materials to strengthen them. If bamboo is laminated, its strength gets enhanced, and this provides another layer of protection against wear and tear.
- Large Choice: Bamboo home furniture is usually available in a wide variety of styles and finishes. Designers & decorators use bamboo home decor in innovative designs in all-bamboo or composite materials. ModishStore stocks and sells a wide range of bamboo chairs & tables, bamboo beds, bamboo bar stools etc.
- Finishes: Bamboo furniture is fine grained and is available in various stains and finishes, to match your taste and style.
Bamboo furniture should not be kept in the open outdoors - if that happens, it may get damaged by being exposed to moist and wet conditions. But bamboo furniture can be kept in a covered verandah, patio or balcony outside the line of direct exposure to the sun and rain. It is advisable to have a water-proof cover for spreading over it when lying unused in the verandah.
Natural rattan is very strong, flexible and durable. While rattan furniture can be used outdoors in porches, patios, balconies etc, it should not be completely left out in the open, as this would wear it out and eventually disintegrate it. Long exposure to direct sunlight, rain, temperature changes or humidity affects rattan furniture, even if it has a coating of UV protecting sealer. If you use rattan outdoors, you should consider moving it inside during harsh weather and cover it with a protective sheet when not in use. Rattan will last much longer on a protected porch or indoors than if it’s used in the open outdoors. But you can have synthetic rattan furniture also, which is far more suited for outdoors as it is weatherproof and waterproof. It’s also easy to clean and maintain which improves the longevity. Modern, synthetic rattan gets made from durable UV resistant and weatherproof resins (or plastics), which isn’t affected by sun, rain or high temperatures.
Rattan, a type of tropical palm tree that grows in SouthEast Asia, is a vine that grows around trees. Each vine has a solid core that is very strong. Rattan poles are strong enough to be used as furniture frames. They support weight loads for tables, chairs and sofas. Many rounded curves in furniture are created by heating and steaming rattan poles so that they bend. Upon cooling, the bent rattan pieces retain their curved shape. Usually the outer skin of the vine is left on rattan poles as they have an attractive marbleized look. Rattan is known to be one of the strongest woods available, thus making it an ideal material for making durable furniture. One of the uses of rattan is supplying the cane for certain styles of furniture.
Cane is a part of the rattan plant. It is produced by peeling off the skin of the rattan vine. This material then gets wrapped around solid hardwood, steel, or aluminum frames for furniture making. Cane is less porous, which allows it to repel spillage. Cane is pliable, which makes it suited for the production of chair seats or furniture facades.
Cane is often used in combination with rattan. While rattan is usually treated and painted, cane is left in its natural round state. Strength-wise, cane is usually stronger than rattan, thus it is used for binding purposes. Both cane and rattan are inexpensive wicker materials, and considerably cheaper than hardwood or plastic furniture. They are also lightweight, which allows then to be moved around easily. Sometimes cane is wound over rattan poles in creating natural looking woven furniture.