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  • Gina Everett

The Return of Natural Rattan Furniture

Rattan Chair

Image: Alexander and Pearl featuring Fiji natural rattan armchair £375

Around this time last year I wrote a blog about how much I hate brown plastic rattan. I hate the way that this beautiful, natural, crafted material is now associated with this fugly garden furniture. Google search rattan furniture and you’ll bombarded with tons of it. So now it’s very pleasing for me to see that natural rattan furniture is finally having it’s moment.

Rattan Bench

Image: Out There Interiors - Open Rattan Bench in Black - £855

Rattan is a climbing palm which grows as a vine in the tropical jungles of Africa, Asia and Australasia. As a production material, rattan is very sustainable. It is the quickest developing tropical wood, renewing itself in just 5-7 years. The production of most rattan furniture is a low tech manufacturing process that avoids environmental pollutants.

After harvesting, the rattan is left to dry in the sun. The skin is stripped from the core to make the fibrous type of rattan used in basketry and other weaving products and artisan crafts. The strong core is very durable, lightweight as well as being strong enough to support weight and withstand the elements. Using steam it can be bent into shape to create a variety of products.

Rattan has been used for building, furniture and basket making for centuries in it’s native countries. It’s association as outdoor furniture here in the UK comes from the days of the British Empire which saw traditional British furniture designs hybridised with local craftsmen and materials to create the colonial style of furniture which we associate with rattan today.

Hanging chair in rattan

Image: Out There Interiors featuring Elsa Hanging Rattan Bowl Chair £540

The new trend for rattan is bringing us some new and exciting designs alongside reviving some mid -century classics. The hanging egg chair is a classic mid-century design. It is re-invented here and looks sleek in this modern loft style apartment.

The peacock chair is another all time classic of mid-century design and at one time these were a rare and treasured find at vintage markets but they are now back in production.

Rattan peacock chair

Image: Out There Interiors featuring Classic Peacock Chair £675

The indoor-outdoor nature of rattan and it’s natural textures and warm colour mean that it is perfect for bringing the outside in alongside plants and other natural textures such as leather sofas and wooden floorboards. Its a perfect fit with the jungalow and scandi-boho trends seen in so many instagram homes. If you haven't discovered it yet @madre_de_plantas is one of my favourite instagram feeds.

Her beautiful home is full of lots of lovely rattan furniture and basketry. Beautifully complemented with natural wood, whites and touches of green from all the different plants in the house.

If you’d like to add a touch of rattan to your home. Here’s my pick of the best buys out there.

Rattan Furniture

Clockwise from top

Endless pure natural nightshade from - £280

Fiji natural rattan sofa from Alexander and Pearl - £695

Natural rattan side table by Bloomingville from Amara - £219

Set of 2 open square baskets by House Doctor from Amara - £175

Rotin rattan pouf by Broste Copenhagen from Amara - £234

Akit rattan armchair from £395

Bamboo starburst mirror from Abode Living - £65

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