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Rattan Furniture:Popular and Timeless Worldwide

by Hedwig Scarlett 02 Oct 2023 0 comments

Rattan is a versatile material that combines softness and solidity in home furnishings.

To handle this challenging material, weaving has become the best choice.

As a result, rattan furniture has become a relatively common style of furniture, evolving with changing furniture trends, and continuous improvement in rattan weaving craftsmanship.

"Rattan" and its furniture, after a trend a few years ago, are making a comeback, and are now becoming popular worldwide.

In this blog, we will introduce the history of rattan furniture and show you the way of how to maintain and clean rattan furniture.

Rattan Furniture

01 What is Rattan Furniture

In simple terms, rattan furniture refers to various furniture woven from rattan plants, as well as furniture composed of thin strips cut from rattan cores and woven together with other components. Common examples from childhood include rattan chairs, which belong to the former craft.

Rattan Chair

Rattan Furniture

Rattan furniture in China dates back to the Tang and Song dynasties when it was widely used. For example, the Luohan bed in the painting "Han Xizai's Night Banquet" likely used rattan as its material.

Luohan Bed Song Dynasty imitation of "Han Xizai's Night Banquet" ▲

The Ming-style furniture, admired by Western designers, often features a combination of rattan and palm weaving, colloquially known as "rattan soft drawers."

Ming Style Furniture

Ming Style Furniture Ignazio Vok (Dr. Ho Ai Bo) Collection ▲

In the early Qing Dynasty, there were rattan-woven parts in the structure of Huanghuali canopy beds.

Currently, the earliest known use of rattan in Western furniture is Michael Thonet's No. 14 chair from the 18th century. Thanks to the invention of steam-bent wood technology, it became the world's first mass-produced chair.

Michael Thonet

Michael Thonet (1796-1871, Modern furniture design pioneer), Austrian ▲

Thonet Chair Thonet No. 14 Chair, disassembled structure ▲

Interestingly, Thonet's No. 14 chair was introduced to coastal areas of China, including Guangdong, in the late Qing Dynasty, becoming a fashionable chair among the Chinese at that time.

Thonet No. 14 Chair

Late Qing Dynasty, Thonet No. 14 Chair in a group photo ▲

Over a hundred years later, people still remember the curves of the Thonet No. 14 chair and the rattan weaving craftsmanship that accompanied it. Today, this classic chair is still produced worldwide.

02 Popularity of Rattan Furniture

Chandigarh Chair Chandigarh Chair ▲

The Chandigarh Chair, a legendary and rejuvenated example, can be considered a direct case that fueled the popularity of "rattan weaving" in the online community.

Chandigarh Chair

Chandigarh Series Furniture Chandigarh Chair and Chandigarh Series Furniture ▲

Born in India, the Chandigarh Chair, originally used for administrative purposes in the city's planning and construction, was redesigned by Pierre-Jeanneret. It was abandoned for many years, even treated as scrap wood. However, around 2013, this "forgotten chair" suddenly gained popularity among celebrities and top designers, becoming a global sensation.

In the works of the Belgian wabi-sabi master Axel Vervoordt, his presence is evident throughout. Axel Vervoordt Axel Vervoordt Spatial Works▲

Of course, this trend has also made its way into the domestic scene.

For a while, Chandigarh chairs were filled with various designs leaning towards the natural style. Seizing this opportunity, Chinese enthusiasts of the "Yiwu spirit" expanded the art of wickerwork to other furniture domains and successfully attracted the attention of many young people through platforms like Taobao, Xiaoyin, and others.

03 Return of Wicker Furniture 

After a wave of popularity, wicker furniture is once again in focus.Apart from the emphasis on environmental friendliness in home decor and the mainstream aesthetic preference for the natural style, the advantages and charm of wicker furniture itself are also coming into play. Indonesian Wicker

Currently, high-quality wicker materials are mainly imported from Indonesia. The unique environment has endowed Indonesian wicker with a strong and resilient texture. With a little care in usage, wicker furniture often proves to be more durable than leather, fabric, and the like. Additionally, due to its low thermal conductivity, it largely provides a feeling of warmth in winter and coolness in summer.

Representative Wicker Pattern

From a craftsmanship perspective, the process of making wicker furniture involves more than ten steps, including peeling, selecting, washing, drying, bending, pulling, shaving, bleaching, weaving, and more. In terms of color, besides its natural light yellow, it can also be processed into white, ivory, coffee, and other colors, showcasing a versatile and elegant character. Wicker Craftsmanship

For urbanites tired of industrialized products, gradually rediscovering the warmth of handmade, wicker undoubtedly carries more humanistic aspirations. After bidding farewell to the era dominated by heavy traditional rosewood furniture, the light and agile wicker provides people with a more relaxed and free possibility.

04 Classic Applications of Wicker

Octagonal Wicker Pattern

The return of wicker furniture is inseparable from its unique visual beauty.

The popular "Cane Webbing" octagonal wicker pattern conveys a sense of leisure, retro, and a pleasant holiday. Natural Wood Wicker Chair

With natural wood as the framework support, wicker is only a part of the chair's backrest, belonging to the classic use of wicker. The robust and stable structure, the expression of the curved line of the backrest, and the transparency of wicker are all evident, making it durable and tasteful.

Natural Wood Wicker Cabinet

Natural Wood Wicker Cabinet ▲

The natural wood wicker cabinet has breathability due to wicker, making it more suitable for customized designs such as side cabinets and wardrobes. At the same time, the denser wicker weaving also plays a role in insect and dust prevention to some extent.

Wood and Wicker Screen Coat Mirror ▲

Wood and Wicker Screen Coat Mirror ▲

Wood and Wicker Screen Coat Mirror ▲

Wood and Wicker Screen Coat Mirror ▲

Wood and Wicker Screen Coat Mirror ▲

Wood and Wicker Screen Coat Mirror ▲ Wood and Wicker Screen Coat Mirror ▲

The combination of clothing mirrors and screen functions perfectly showcases the practicality and decorative aspects. If all made of solid wood, there might be a sense of suppression, but the incorporation of rattan weaving not only enriches the language of materials but also brings an indispensable visual, flexible harmony.


Image Rattan Woven Bed ▲

Woven with rattan on the backboard, it not only saves wood but also provides great convenience for future movement due to its lightweight nature. In addition, the highly flexible rattan weaving brings a subtle comfort regardless of seasons, leaving an unforgettable experience after use.

Image Solid Wood Rattan Woven Bed & Rattan Woven Bench ▲

Whether on chair backrests, bed headboards, cabinet doors, or breaking through the limitations of furniture, it can be applied to spatial decoration and more creative uses in home spaces.


Image Applications of Rattan Weaving in Space Dividers, Ceiling Decor, etc. ▲

05 Maintenance of Rattan Furniture

Rattan furniture is a widely used craftsmanship in modern homes, suitable for various styles and very versatile. Because it uses rattan strips or rattan cores, this type of furniture is generally environmentally friendly, easily explained, and usually highly durable due to various processes. Additionally, cleaning and maintenance of rattan furniture are also very convenient.

① How to Clean Rattan Furniture

  1. Wipe rattan furniture with diluted saltwater. This not only removes dirt but also maintains the flexibility of rattan furniture for a long time, preventing it from becoming brittle and insect-infested.
  2. Carefully sand the surface of rattan furniture with sandpaper to remove stains and restore smoothness. Then apply a layer of furniture wax to immediately protect the rattan furniture.
  3. White rattan tables and chairs are prone to dirt. Usually, use a clean, soft cloth to wipe away dust. Clean dust with a soft brush or vacuum cleaner every three months. For stains, wring out a damp cloth and wipe, using an old toothbrush for stubborn stains. If stains are too heavy, use detergent to wipe them away.
  4. Add a little vinegar to neutralize and prevent discoloration. Dip the brush in baking soda water and gently brush the rattan chair to remove stubborn dirt.

② Cleaning Issues with Rattan Furniture

Depending on the material, artificial rattan (plastic rattan) can be cleaned with water, while natural rattan (Indonesian rattan, straw rattan) should not be washed with water, as improper handling may lead to incomplete drying and mold. Therefore, extra care is needed when cleaning rattan chairs. In general, a soft brush can be used to clean dust from the rattan chair mesh. For heavier stains, a cleaner can be used, or you can choose vegetable oil and soap, but be sure to wipe dry. Gently scrubbing the rattan chair with a brush dipped in baking soda water can help remove stubborn dirt. For white rattan chairs and other products, wipe with a small amount of vinegar and use detergent to neutralize and prevent discoloration.

③ Maintenance Methods for Rattan Furniture

  1. Rattan strip furniture and rattan core furniture are two different types of rattan furniture. The former can be wiped with a damp cloth once a week, and if conditions permit, waxing is also a good choice. The latter can be cleaned with a damp chicken feather duster.
  2. Avoid exposing rattan furniture to sunlight for extended periods, and do not place it in excessively humid places.
  3. Periodically move rattan furniture to the balcony or garden for moderate "ventilation."
  4. When cleaning, mix neutral soap and warm water (ratio of about 1:20), wipe, then wipe with clean water and dry with a dry cloth to reduce the possibility of stains adhering to the surface.
  5. Purchase furniture maintenance sprays or household wax for wooden furniture, which can provide some protection.

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