History of Rattan: the very popular outdoor furniture material

rattan outdoor furniture sofa, chair and table with cushions
Many people choose rattan for their outdoor furniture needs, but most don’t know what rattan is or where it comes from. So here’s a little history about this very popular outdoor patio furniture material from Outdoor Patio Expert.

Rattan is a vine which grows best in the tropical climates of the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka. These countries have been using rattan for years to make baskets, chairs, and other pieces of furniture.

The ancient Egyptians made boats, chariots, baskets, and chairs from rattan. Then, during the Victorian era, rattan became popular for its simple style. It was the similarity to Victorian furniture, with its simple lines, which attracted people to buy rattan as outdoor furniture. In recent years, new styles have appeared, and now there are also sets of rattan furniture for indoor use.

Many plantations had a veranda with rattan as the outdoor furniture of choice or a room inside decorated with rattan pieces.

People felt that rattan was cleaner than other materials, as it did not gather dust and is easy to clean, requiring only a bit of soap and water to keep it looking its best.

Another reason for rattan’s popularity was its comfort. Sitting on rattan furniture is comfortable, especially with big patio chair cushions added.

Close up of Rattan weave used to make outdoor furnitureRattan is also a very durable material, which adds to its popularity for outdoor furniture choices. It sounds odd to think about a vine being durable until you think about being able to swing across the river on one. To re-enforce its strength, the vines are interwoven which adds extra durability to the finished product. Unlike wood, rattan is also light-weight, does not attract mold, does not gather dust, and is easy to clean. Rattan is also flexible, which allows for smooth, fluid shapes and intricate designs. The strands of the vine are bent to allow for almost any shape. Also, weaves allow for easy repair.

The natural resources in the tropical areas of Southeast Asia are rattan, bamboo, sea grass, and banana. These other materials are used in combination with rattan to make outdoor furniture. Bamboo, sea grass and banana are also used to make outdoor furniture in their entirety. In tropical climates, where monsoons are a normal part of the day, rattan works well since it is water resistant.

But, rattan should still not be left out in the rain or in direct sunlight all the time. Western countries, such as the U.S, like rattan for the same reason and so they import rattan from other countries to meet the demand.

Recently, new laws have come into effect limiting the amount of rattan which that can be cut, as it is harming the rain forests. Rattan is good for the environment in that it helps with deforestation, but so much rattan is now being imported that it is beginning to harm the rain forests.

A mixture of rattan with banana leaf, banana bark, wood, and sea grass might be a solution to the over-use of the rattan vine. The sea grass and banana leaf is flexible enough so that it can be interwoven with the rattan, which means it still retains its strength. As outdoor furniture, it would still keep its flexibility, durability, and charm.

For people with allergies, for people on a budget, for those looking for durable and long-lasting furniture, and for people who are Eco-friendly, rattan seems to be one of the best bets for outdoor furniture materials.

There are many styles to choose from so you are sure to find a style of rattan garden furniture or patio furniture that suits your outdoor and garden decor.