What is the best rattan furniture? You'll need to know if you're to make the most of a heatwave, when all your months toiling in the garden (having consulted our guides to the best lawnmowers and best secateurs) can finally pay off.
Rattan garden chairs have an upper-class cachet stretching back to the days of the Raj but they've since become central to our dreams of outdoor living, with the patio doors open, the barbecue going, a bottle of rosé chilling in an ice bucket and the children playing in the garden. And if the weather doesn’t play ball, well, that’s what patio heaters are for.
Telegraph gardening writer Cinead McTernan is a rattan enthusiast. “I’ve managed to squeeze a modular corner sofa into my small city garden and it’s absolutely transformed how much we use our outdoor space,” she says.
“I went for synthetic polyethylene rattan because it’s so light and easy to look after – a quick blast with a pressure washer at the start of the season and you’re ready to go. Natural rattan does look more beautiful but isn’t as hard wearing and fades in the sunlight. I bought my set from Alice’s Garden, but if space wasn’t an issue, I’d go for something like Cox & Cox’s Hampton Corner Set.”
Not everyone is as familiar with the world of rattan as Cinead, so let's cover some basics before we look at this year's best.
What is better: rattan or wicker?
Trick question. Rattan is the material, wicker is the method. Wicker (from the Old Norse word vika, “to bend”) is the way of forming pliable natural fibres like willow, reed, grass or bark into furniture. In Asia it’s often done with the climbing palm rattan. Rattan wicker was so extensively imported in the 19th and 20th centuries from southeast Asia that we ended up using the word generically for woven furniture. Most of what’s sold now is PE rattan (polyethylene - also known as synthetic rattan or polyrattan).
“The properties are in between a plastic and a wax,” says Robert Bridgman, founder of Bridgman furniture store, which specialises in rattan furniture. “That gives it a very natural look and feel. It doesn’t look plasticky and it also has no toxins.”
What is the best type of rattan furniture?
As Cinead says, there’s an assumption that natural rattan is superior, but it’s not weatherproof and is only really suitable for sunny days. PE rattan can shrug off rain, snow and, as long as you give it an occasional light scrub with soapy water, mould and algae. But that’s not to say all synthetic rattan is the same.
Is rattan furniture long-lasting?
Bridgeman says you should beware of cheaper furniture where the synthetic rattan strands have been nailed onto the frame: when the nails rust, they will become weak points.
Stuart Isbister, co-founder of outdoor furniture specialists The Worm That Turned, says there is another way to assess rattan furniture: look at the shape of the strands.
“Flat-woven products are lighter and cheaper, but they probably won’t last as long as round weave. Flat weave will often sag in when you press your finger against it, particularly if it’s hot, since plastic becomes malleable with heat. And in some cases, brittle after a year or so.”
Another major factor to consider when buying rattan is the cushions, Stuart says. "They can now be made from things like textilene, which is an outdoor furnishing fabric. They're a lot softer to the touch and they dry really quickly, so you can leave sofas outside without having to bring the cushions in. Cushions can be a significant part of the cost of garden furniture but it’s worth investing in. At the end of the day that’s what you’re sitting on."
How we chose the best rattan garden furniture
The experts were our guide to the quality and durability of rattan furniture, but we also took into consideration price, style and a range of uses from sun lounging to outdoor entertaining. All the furniture below is chosen from the respective retailers’ most popular products. Some are longtime favourites with Telegraph readers, others are brand new for 2022.
At a glance: the best rattan garden furniture for 2022
- Best overall — Made Belva corner sofa
- Best natural rattan furniture — La Redoute Calamus bench
- Best rattan bistro set — Kettler RHS Harlow Carr
- Best rattan dining set — OKA Orseno
- Best budget rattan furniture set — Argos Habitat
- Best rattan garden chair — Cox & Cox woven rope standing egg
The best rattan garden furniture
1. Made Belva corner sofa in natural polyrattan
Best rattan corner sofa
We like: rounded lines and holiday vibe
Online homeware retailers Made are rising stars of interior design, having scored very highly in our review of the best sofa beds. Where most rattan garden furniture looks either boxy or lightweight, this has a beautiful rounded outline designed by award-winning Milanese trio Busetti Garuti Redaelli, known for their fresh and fun takes on midcentury modern furniture. It's not cheap, but neither is it super expensive by designer furniture standards, and the plush cushions lend a relaxed, cocktails-on-the-beach feel.
2. La Redoute Calamus rattan bench seat
Best natural rattan furniture
We like: 1970s boho appeal - although it should be brought indoors for winter
Bucking the trend for polyethylene, La Redoute's popular Calamus range is genuine rattan with a protective acrylic varnish. It's not totally weatherproof, more of an indoor-outdoor piece to sit on patios in the summer and in the conservatory or a sunny room in winter.
3. Kettler RHS Harlow Carr garden bistro table and chairs
Best rattan bistro set
We like: the old-fashioned wickerware styling
Just right for balconies or small patios, this set of two chairs and a glass-topped table has the Royal Horticultural Society's stamp of approval. It uses 3mm round synthetic fibres for a more classic look than flat-woven furniture and the cushions are showerproof, but would still benefit from being stored indoors.
4. Orseno dining set
Best rattan dining set
We like: sense of occasion, although you do pay for it
British design store OKA don't do cheap and this professional dining set (it even has a lazy susan) is at the top end of what most would consider fair for garden furniture. But if you want to show off your garden and your cooking to a group of lucky friends, the intimate circle created by the three benches is hard to beat.
5. Habitat four-seater bamboo effect garden sofa set
Best budget rattan furniture set
We like: impressively stylish for the price, but not weatherproof
Mid-century modern design (think Frank Sinatra's Palm Springs pad) is normally something you pay a Danish designer thousands of pounds for. Argos have managed it for £400 with this bamboo-look table and chairs, although it'll need storing inside since the steel legs and polyester cushions won't be fully waterproof. It does need assembling, too — Argos say it requires two people. Argos also make some of the best solar garden lights to add twinkle to late nights al fresco.
6. Cox & Cox woven rope standing egg chair
Best rattan garden chair (available late May 2022)
We like: the rope weave for a striking and durable form
Telegraph garden-living expert Sarah Rodrigues loves Cox & Cox: “Compared to some High Street brands, the prices are undeniably steep, but the timelessness of the pieces, combined with the attention to detail and construction, really does make them worth the investment. This year, I have my eye on the Woven Rope Standing Egg chair. I love the cocooning nature of the design and can just imagine being curled up in its cosy embrace with a book and an Aperol Spritz as the evenings get longer.”
7. The Range nine-piece cube rattan garden furniture set with cover
Best cube garden furniture
We like: clever space-saving design, although more practical than pretty
Can you stack rattan furniture? It's a common question for those worried about storage. The Range's affordable set is designed with that in mind. They've somehow managed to fit four chairs, a table and four stools into a four-foot cube: the chair backs fold down and everything slots under the table, with a snug cover supplied for winter storage.
8. Nest outdoor sofa
Best outdoor sofa
We like: luxurious cushions and Danish design — at a price
"Right now the trend is for expanding your living space out into the garden," says Stuart Isbister, who sells these gorgeous Danish-designed Cane-Line sofas. "The outside becomes an extension of your interior design. Danish designers dominate the scene at the moment." Although made of PE, the Cane-Line is hand-woven in Indonesia, the original home of rattan, and feels identical to the real thing while being completely weatherproof.
9. TecTake polyrattan sun island
Best rattan sun lounger
We like: a lot of bang for your buck, as long as you can assemble it yourself
If you're ordering your garden furniture from Amazon, it's probably because you want it right now. And who can blame you, when British sunshine comes and goes so quickly? Amazon's top-selling rattan lounger takes several hours of fiddly assembly but works as a family-sized day bed and, when you separate the parts, a lounge set for garden entertaining. It's hard to ask much more of furniture that comes through the post.
View the latest deals from John Lewis and La Redoute
What is the best rattan outdoor furniture? ›
- Monaco Six-Seater Rattan Effect Dining Set.
- Corsica Four-Seater Garden Table and Chairs Lounging Set, Cream.
- Orlando Two-Seater Vase Set.
- Walderton Corner Sofa Set.
- Monaco Five-Piece Bistro Set.
- Tavira Four-Seater Sofa Set with Coffee Table.
PE or HDPE Rattan are the best types of rattan as they have an eco-friendly manufacturing process, they're recyclable, weather-proof, and tougher than PU or PVC. Plus, they are even mould-resistant!Where does the best rattan come from? ›
The greatest diversity of rattan palm species and genera are in the closed-canopy old-growth tropical forests of Southeast Asia, though they can also be found in other parts of tropical Asia and Africa.What Colour rattan furniture is best? ›
Of course, brown is the most traditional and popular colour of rattan furniture.
“The difference is that rattan is a material, whereas wicker is the style and method of weaving,” Zoe explains. “Wicker can be woven from rattan as well as many other natural or synthetic materials, which is where the confusion often lies.”Where is Kettler garden furniture made? ›
KETTLER has been making garden furniture for more than 60 years. Throughout that time there have been many success stories, but in the UK, none greater than Royal Garden. This beautiful range of hand-crafted products was manufactured by a Kettler group company, MWH, at a factory near Heidelberg in Germany.How can you tell quality rattan furniture? ›
The best quality rattan furniture is UV treated, has powder coated framework, and is hand woven to a high standard. The tighter the weave, the more durable and longer lasting the set.What is the longest lasting garden furniture? ›
Wrought Iron is one of the most durable and longest lasting type of outdoor furniture available, many times lasting decades. Truly an investment that keeps on giving, wrought iron furniture is also the heaviest frame.What's the difference between rattan and poly rattan? ›
Rattan is a natural fibre that is extracted from palm trees: it is a particularly solid and flexible material that is able to preserve itself and resist the action of the sun's rays and all the weather in general. What does Polyrattan mean instead? Polyrattan means a synthetic material of industrial production.Which is better wicker or rattan? ›
In terms of versatility and durability rattan furniture scores much more than wicker furniture. Rattan features a solid core and is available in an array of natural colors. Wicker furniture, on the other hand, may or may not be strong. It basically varies with the material used for manufacturing wicker furniture.
How long does rattan furniture last? ›
If taken care of properly, rattan furniture can last up to 10 years. On top of being waterproof, resin weave rattan furniture is also resistant to UV rays so you shouldn't expect to see much fading or wear and tear in warmer weather.Is cane better than rattan? ›
In terms of strength, the cane is generally more durable than rattan, which is why it's often used for binding purposes. Cane is traditionally woven into different webbed patterns. The rule of thumb is that pieces that feature thin, woven accents, like at the back of a chair or on a cabinet door, are considered cane.Are there different grades of rattan? ›
Rattan stems are graded in A, B, or C. Grading is deter- mined by uniformity of shape and color. The A grade surface is extremely smooth and uniform in color.Is synthetic rattan weatherproof? ›
Is Rattan Furniture Waterproof? In short, no. Rattan furniture is not waterproof it's a synthetic material, that when wet can become damaged so you will need to protect the set with a cover when it is in your garden.What color is rattan furniture? ›
Able to be bent and curved, rattan takes on many wonderful curving forms. Its light, golden color brightens a room or outdoor environment and instantly conveys a feeling of a tropical paradise.What is the strongest material for outdoor furniture? ›
Steel. Steel is the strongest material, but it is also heavy and the more expensive of the metals. Due to its weight, steel furniture is not as easy to move around, but will be more stationary against the wind.Is wicker or rattan better for outdoor furniture? ›
Wicker furniture is popular for outdoor use because it's lightweight and easy to move around. While rattan is durable and has traditionally been used for patio furniture, it's not actually the best choice for outdoor use because it isn't water resistant.Can rattan furniture be left outside? ›
Rattan garden furniture is perhaps the best garden furniture for leaving outside all year round. Its synthetic material is UV- and weather-resistant, meaning it will withstand weather conditions.Is KETTLER out of business? ›
Kettler GB are still going strong and will continue to supply their high-quality garden furniture and BBQ's.Is KETTLER still trading? ›
“All products manufactured by KETTLER will remain the same. And our external design and manufacturing partners will continue to work exclusively with us, so the trade can be assured of the same quality in terms of innovation, materials and production.”
What is KETTLER rattan made of? ›
2021 Kettler Charlbury Rattan Garden Lounger
A wicker frame is made from rattan synthetic weave bound over a lightweight aluminium frame, which means it will hold up to undesirable weather all year round and is also easy to move around the garden.
Why does rattan start to sag? Rattan strands stretch over time and this can cause them to start to sag. This happens for both natural and synthetic rattan, although the issue is more prominent for natural rattan.What is durable thick PE rattan? ›
PE rattan, also known as polyethylene rattan, plastic rattan, synthetic rattan, faux rattan, or artificial rattan, is a man-made material mainly used in outdoor furniture, such as outdoor loungers, benches, sofa sets, dining sets, etc.How do you pick out wicker furniture? ›
A good quality wicker set should come with a thick aluminum frame, preferably powder-coated to prevent rust and for aesthetic appeal. The aluminum frame provides support to the seating area while maintaining its light weight construction that makes it easy for you to rearrange your patio furniture easily.What is the most weather resistant garden furniture? ›
Cast Aluminium is a very strong choice for patio furniture, especially if it has been coated with a powder coated finish, as it will not fade or rust. Aluminium furniture requires very little maintenance in comparison with other metal furniture, as well as being much lighter and easier to move around.What is the best brand of garden furniture? ›
- B&Q Maevea Rattan-effect 4 Seater Coffee Set. ...
- Garden Trading Rive Droite Bistro Set. ...
- VonHaus 4 Seater Grey Rattan Rope Garden Sofa and Table Set. ...
- Habitat 4 Seater Bamboo Effect Garden Sofa Set. ...
- Homebase Florence 6 Seater Garden Dining Set. ...
- Habitat Mini Corner Sofa Set with Storage.
Of all the hardwoods, teak is the hardest and most durable, and most teak furniture can absolutely be left outside during the winter. Aluminum and some steel pieces are surprisingly durable options for patio furniture. It doesn't hurt to double down during the colder months with a furniture cover.Is real rattan expensive? ›
Genuine rattan sets are generally more expensive than synthetic products because a lot of work goes into making them. The process is laborious and processing the raw materials does not come cheap.What is real rattan? ›
It is an extremely durable material that is also lightweight and flexible, making it ideal for weaving and manipulating into garden furniture. Rattan grows with a skin that is peeled off and used for outdoor furniture, with the core of the plant also used in some cases.What is synthetic rattan furniture? ›
Synthetic rattan is made from man-made fibres. This is what makes it sturdier and more durable than the natural materials of the real thing. The fibres are woven in the same way as real rattan, to give it the same classic wicker feel and appearance.
How do I keep my rattan from drying out? ›
To keep wicker from drying out, mist it every three weeks. This doesn't mean drench it. Aim a spray bottle at the piece from about 3 feet away, spray and let mist settle. Dust and vacuum wicker regularly to keep dirt from accumulating in the crevices.How do you weatherproof rattan furniture? ›
Weatherproofing Furniture: Wicker
Give your piece two coats of the paint of your choice, then top it with a layer of spray marine varnish, such as Minwax Helmsman Indoor/Outdoor Spar Urethane (from $10; Amazon). Wicker traps moisture easily; if it gets under the finish, it will damage the fibers from the inside out.
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is the most durable resin wicker, while lower quality PVC wicker will degrade over a shorter period of time.Does rattan go Mouldy? ›
One of the biggest problems with natural rattan is its tendency to mold or mildew if you live in a damp climate with lots of rain. Even keeping it on the porch will not save it if the humidity is high and the area rarely dries out.Does rattan break easily? ›
In short, no. Natural rattan furniture should not be used outdoors, the wooden material when wet and cold will become brittle and break. The sun can also damage these natural wicker sets so under no circumstances should they be left outdoors.Why is my rattan furniture splitting? ›
Long-term exposure of natural rattan to sunny weather may result in splitting and cracking of the furniture.What is the difference between Ratten and cane? ›
Cane – TL;DR. An easy way to differentiate? Most of the time, cane is used in thin, woven accents like the back of a dining chair or a dresser's cabinet door. Rattan is used in larger, reedlike features, like a papasan or outdoor lounge chair.What is the difference between bamboo and rattan? ›
Bamboo is hollow inside, whereas rattan has a solid internal structure. Bamboo is a type of grass and grows vertically like a tree. On the other hand, Rattan is a vine and has a creeping vine structure. Bamboo can be grown with ease and is found worldwide, especially in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.How can you tell the difference between a wicker and a cane? ›
As a general rule of thumb, pieces that feature thin, woven accents—such as the back of a chair or a dresser's cabinet door—are frequently considered cane. Items with larger, reed-like features are usually wicker or rattan.What is poly rattan? ›
Poly Rattan is the most common synthetic alternative to traditional rattan for Garden Furniture – it is basically a plastic alternative that has been designed to look the same but offer a more resistant and economical alternative. Most rattan furniture advertised as 'Rattan' in Europe is, in fact, 'Poly Rattan'.
Is rattan comfortable to sit? ›
Moda Favourites: Rattan Chairs Surprisingly, woven rattan chairs are more comfortable than they look. Most rattan chairs have minimal cushioning (or sometimes, no cushion at all), but they are formed to cradle your body. (It's almost like sitting in a chair that was made just for you!)What is half round weave rattan? ›
Our half round rattan weave is part of our Premium range. With this style of wicker weave, it is generally thicker, therefore more sturdy than the standard flat rattan weave. The half round weave adds a more luxurious look and feel to your garden and is highly durable.Do mice eat rattan furniture? ›
The rattan structure of rattan corner furniture is easier to bite than other materials such as metal, and it is not as hard as wood, so it is easy to become the target of rats that have the desire to bite.
How long does and should it last? PE rattan is known for its weatherproof qualities, resistance to rain, snow, frost, and even UV rays. Hence, most garden sets made using this material often last between 5-7 years.Does plastic rattan rot? ›
The elements will cause real rattan to wear down and decay, and exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays cause colours to fade. This is not an issue with rattan effect furniture. Unlike real rattan, synthetic rattan is weatherproof, resistant to UV-rays, and can be left outside all year round.Does rattan go with GREY? ›
Add texture to a grey living room for an on-trend look
Add some natural materials like rattan and wicker plus lots of house plants, and you have a very on-trend living space. Love the vibes of this grey living room idea?
The great thing about rattan furniture is its natural tone goes well with many different colours. In this living room setting, a three-seater rattan sofa has been matched with off-white walls and tones of peach, lilac, yellow ochre and black. A jute rug grounds the space and adds extra texture.How can you tell quality rattan furniture? ›
The best quality rattan furniture is UV treated, has powder coated framework, and is hand woven to a high standard. The tighter the weave, the more durable and longer lasting the set.Are there different grades of rattan? ›
Rattan stems are graded in A, B, or C. Grading is deter- mined by uniformity of shape and color. The A grade surface is extremely smooth and uniform in color.Which is stronger rattan or wicker? ›
Rattan is the strongest material used to make wickerwork but there are other materials such as willow, fern, sea grass, cane, reed or bamboo which can be used as well. Wicker can be woven of any natural material.
What is the difference between PE and PU rattan? ›
PE, PU and PVC are suitable for UK weather conditions; however, the Best Choice for the UK is PE which is eco-friendly, features good flexibility and strength. PU is suitable however it is not as durable, nor is it eco-friendly.How long does rattan furniture last? ›
If taken care of properly, rattan furniture can last up to 10 years. On top of being waterproof, resin weave rattan furniture is also resistant to UV rays so you shouldn't expect to see much fading or wear and tear in warmer weather.What is the difference between rattan and synthetic rattan? ›
Natural rattan is made of organic, quality fibres found in nature, while artificial materials like like plastic and resin are used to make synthetic rattan furniture. Natural rattan is extremely durable and will last for a long time. Synthetic rattan can be easier to break or damage.Does rattan hold up outside? ›
In short, no. Natural rattan furniture should not be used outdoors, the wooden material when wet and cold will become brittle and break. The sun can also damage these natural wicker sets so under no circumstances should they be left outdoors.What is durable thick PE rattan? ›
PE rattan, also known as polyethylene rattan, plastic rattan, synthetic rattan, faux rattan, or artificial rattan, is a man-made material mainly used in outdoor furniture, such as outdoor loungers, benches, sofa sets, dining sets, etc.What is PE flat rattan? ›
Polyethylene (PE) resin rattan, also known as resin wicker, polyrattan, synthetic resin, is a manmade material, rather than a natural wicker rattan. This is a key benefit for garden furniture because the material does not degrade as quickly as natural wicker.What is poly rattan? ›
Poly Rattan is the most common synthetic alternative to traditional rattan for Garden Furniture – it is basically a plastic alternative that has been designed to look the same but offer a more resistant and economical alternative. Most rattan furniture advertised as 'Rattan' in Europe is, in fact, 'Poly Rattan'.Which is better for outdoor furniture wicker or rattan? ›
Wicker furniture is popular for outdoor use because it's lightweight and easy to move around. While rattan is durable and has traditionally been used for patio furniture, it's not actually the best choice for outdoor use because it isn't water resistant.What is the strongest material for outdoor furniture? ›
Steel. Steel is the strongest material, but it is also heavy and the more expensive of the metals. Due to its weight, steel furniture is not as easy to move around, but will be more stationary against the wind.How do I keep my rattan from drying out? ›
To keep wicker from drying out, mist it every three weeks. This doesn't mean drench it. Aim a spray bottle at the piece from about 3 feet away, spray and let mist settle. Dust and vacuum wicker regularly to keep dirt from accumulating in the crevices.
Which is better rattan or Polyrattan? ›
Poly rattan furniture requires low maintenance during the time of use. Unlike natural rattan that needs to have treatment with dedicated oil and preservatives, poly wicker lasts for an remarkable amount of time without maintenance.What color is PE rattan? ›
PE rattan is closer to natural rattan in every way: the color is authentic brown, the rattan is smooth, giving you a delicate touch and an overall textured appearance.What is waterproof PE rattan? ›
PE rattan withstands the outdoor elements outdoors, and it can handle humid or damp conditions, unlike natural rattan, which breaks down or becomes mildewed in wet environments. PE rattan is just one type of synthetic rattan; other types include PU (polyurethane) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride).