Rattan Furniture vs. Wicker Furniture – What’s the Difference

If you’re looking for furniture that’s going to look great and stand the test of time, you can get it with both rattan furniture and wicker furniture. But what’s the difference between the two?

Rattan furniture is made out of wood that’s similar to the wood you find on palm trees. That’s why rattan is such a popular furniture choice in warmer climates; it’s inherently tropical!

However, rattan furniture is not like the regular hardwood furniture that you buy. That’s because rattan wood doesn’t grow normally as part of a traditional tree.

Instead, it starts by growing in a tree-like shape, but then it starts to curve back around and snakes along on the ground like a vine. If you’ve ever taken a trip to the rainforest, you have likely seen all sorts of rattan curled up right at your feet!

When it comes time to make rattan furniture, manufacturers take those vines, professionally dry them out, and use them to construct everything from rattan dining tables, to couches, and even wall units.

But don’t take rattan’s “vine status” lightly. Rattan furniture may technically be made out of vines, but rattan is actually one of the strongest woods on the planet. That’s why you can count on your rattan furniture to last for a very long time.

However, it’s also a very light material. A rattan dining set may be durable, but it also won’t be difficult to pick up the next time you move.

So, what makes wicker different from rattan?
That’s kind of a trick question!
Whether you’re dealing with outdoor wicker furniture, or a wicker bedroom set, wicker is actually rattan – it’s just weaved together instead of assembled in wider pieces. If you were to buy, for example, a wicker bedroom dresser, you would get a dresser that’s made out of thin strips of rattan that have been weaved together.

Rattan is an actual material that you can go out and buy, while wicker is actually the process of using that material. You cannot walk into a store and buy “pure wicker” because it’s not a physical material.

In some cases, wicker furniture weaves rattan and some other material together for added durability.In fact, that’s exactly what happens when outdoor wicker furniture is manufactured. In order to have it hold its own against things like sun and rain, outdoor wicker furniture is actually the result of thin strips of rattan and some type of synthetic material – usually vinyl or resin – weaved together.

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