Long indicative of bohemian joie de vivre, rattan has besotted designers for decades. Consider Italian designer Franco Albini’s affinity for rattan, which resulted in his iconic lobster pot ottoman amongst a bevy of other sculptural rattan designs that now command top dollar. These days, however, it seems that everyone’s extra enraptured by rattan. Designers are incorporating its pliable form into dining arrangements, while DIY decorators have gone bananas for rattan headboards and rockers that allow extroverted wall treatments to peek through. Considering partaking the rattan revolution, but want to know more? Ahead, we spotlight three benefits of rattan furniture!

Design by Wills Design Associates / Photo by Tommy Agriodimas

It’s Lightweight

Spot a rattan furniture piece you love at a flea market? Pop it in your arms and you’re good to go. As much as we love a marble plinth table, the fact that it requires a small army of people to move it counts as a detractor in our book. Rattan on the other hand is lightweight as can be. Consider this a plus if you frequently shuffle between hosting indoors and outdoors. Indoor rattan dining chairs can easily be ferried outdoors for cocktails on the patio once dinner has wrapped. The same goes for rattan ottomans — pilfer them from indoor settings to function as outdoor tables in a pinch. 

Visually, rattan won’t weigh down a room, either. Rattan’s neutral weave allows light and color to penetrate its form, making it see-through in some sense. If you’re decorating a small space, keep rattan in your back pocket. If a small blueprint mandates placing a chair partially in front of a doorway, for instance, a rattan chair won’t act like as much of a visual barricade as, say, a leather club chair. 

Another reason rattan’s lack of heft is appealing? Its lightweight nature makes it easy to ship. Easy to ship means rattan furniture rarely needs to ship white glove. Which in turn, can save you serious cash.  

Design by Form + Field / Photo by R. Bradley Knipstein

It’s Cool (Literally)

Rattan furniture is a favorite of designers who work in balmy (read: humid) regions like the South. One of the main reasons is that rattan’s open fretwork literally allows for air to breeze through it. Similar to how a breathable mattress makes for a more comfortable night’s sleep, a breathable chair provides a similarly comfortable sit. A breathable seat can be especially pertinent when you’re selecting chairs for an outdoor seating area that will be less temperature regulated than indoor areas. To promote optimum airiness, steer clear of cushions made of materials that can turn cloying in heat. Choose linen and lightweight cotton over velvet or tweed. 

Design by Trellis Home Design / Photo by Jessica Delaney Photography

It’s Style Agnostic

Search rattan furniture and decor on Chairish and you’ll discover pieces tagged as Victorian, Mid-Century Modern, and contemporary coastal-casual. Which is all to say: rattan pivots like a pro. Unlike materials like teak or laminate that are hard to divorce from overarching styles, rattan can skew in dozens of different stylistic directions. Use a rattan pendant in a Palm Beach Regency style space, or a rattan peacock chair in an eclectic room. Similarly, a rattan lobster pot pouf is perfection in any Mid-Century-inspired space. At the same time, any of these pieces could easily be superimposed into a room dressed in one of the opposing styles without causing any waves. Rattan pieces are marvelously chameleon-like in their adaptability. If you’re currently on the hunt for forever pieces, take note — rattan furniture will likely pivot with any stylistic detours that you happen to take.

Lead image design by Kobel + Co Interior Design Studio / Photo by Nate Sheets


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August 30, 2022

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