All About Rattan and The Five Best Rattan Chairs for Your Home

Think rattan and you’ll find yourself transported to a time of quaint British cantonments in rain-kissed tropical towns. Glistening pavements, officers clubs, jazz bands, and the melancholy sentiment of a gilded age coming to an end.

Slow dancing in a burning room. If rattan furniture were a song, this’d be it.

And for good reason.

Rattan furniture, or at least its popularity in the West owes itself to European colonialism. A type of palm native to a very small geographical spread in Southeast Asia, French and British colonialists made rattan furniture popular throughout Europe in the 19th century. From there it found its way to America.

Despite its ubiquity, rattan production is a handful of countries.

This makes rattan a truly remarkable shrub, whose products you will likely see every where, but about which not much is widely known.

What is Rattan?

Strictly speaking, rattan is a generic name for some 600 species of vine-like climbing palms native to Southeast Asia. The name is derived from the Malay word “rotan”.

Of the 600 species of rattan, only 20% are of commercial value. Rattan mostly grows wild in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Myanmar and some parts of India and Sri Lanka.

Of these, Indonesia is by far the largest producer of commercial rattan, accounting for some 80% of the world’s output.

The Rattan Chair

Although rattan is used to make a great variety of furniture, rattan chairs are by far the most popular rattan product. And for a reason. 

Rattan chairs are a great way to add character and style to any living room or patio. The rattan material is lightweight, making it easy to move around if needed. This also makes rattan a popular choice for outdoor furniture because they’re lightweight, durable, and can be kept out in the sun, frost, or rain. This is because they’re made from natural materials that don’t absorb water easily like other types of furniture do. 

They’re also easy to clean with mild soap and water, so you don’t have to worry about them getting dirty quickly or having problems with mold growth like other types of furniture can have.

Rattan chairs are also available in many different colors, shapes and sizes, and aren’t just confined to the cane-brown and ivory white we are so accustomed to seeing, although admittedly, that is the most popular color combination with rattan. Rest assured though, that there’s plenty of variety, and you can find exactly what you’re looking for no matter what style or color scheme your home has been decorated with over the years.

With that in mind, here’s our list of the five best rattan chairs out there:

1. Wide-woven Back Augustin Armchairs by Wayfair

The Augustin armchair is a typical specimen of Swiss minimalism from the age of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanerret, the Swiss architects and designers famous for their use of minimalism and functionalism.  The frame is crafted from quality wood with a natural finish that beautifully complements any decor. This set includes two armchairs and each one features a polyester upholstery filled with foam for plush comfort and support. The chairs have a low profile for added comfort, with an armrest on each side for support. The set is finished with a natural hue that complements your decor.

2. Lulu and Georgia Opia Accent Chair

If the previous rattan chair was a minimalist masterpiece, this one is all about opulence and extravagance. A solid wooden frame made with the finest-quality teak and a plush black cotton seat make this one stand apart. The legs are tipped with brass to add a touch of class to it. And of course, the backrest has the classic rattan weave to give it that timeless look.

3. Shore Club Matte Gray Rattan Chair from Loomlan

This beautiful rattan chair is made of the finest quality rattan and upholstered with soft cotton fabric in blanche finish. At 25.5 inches, it comes with an extra wide seat to give you extra leg room. The chair has a sleek, modern design that will add style to any room. It features a curved backrest and armrests for added comfort. 

4. Zanui Cantilever Rattan Chairs, Set of Two

The Cantilever chair, so called because of its unconventional design which does not feature the four-leg arrangement, but rather a tubular structure that bears the weight of the chair, is a simple but classical chair. Made famous in the early 1900s by the legendary Hungarian designer Marcel Breur, the Cantilever chair is also called the Cesca chair, and is considered a landmark in the development of modern furniture. Minimalistic, with just a metal tube and rattan backrest and seat, the Cesca chair or the cantilever chair, is lightweight, classy, and highly functional. With this pair, you don’t just own a set of chairs, you own a bit of modern art history.

5. Rattan Garden Furniture Set by Rattan Tree 

Rattan Tree is a rattan furniture maker from the UK. This garden furniture set by Rattan Tree features one sofa, two chairs, and a table, all made from rattan. The sofa and the chairs come with cushions, while the table comes with tempered protective glass, and the entire set can be kept outdoors the whole year round. You can choose from three available colors — black brown and gray. It’s comfy, it’s sturdy, and it isn’t going to burn a hole in your pocket if you’re looking for something that’s not too expensive.

Featured Photo by Katsia Jazwinska on Unsplash

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