Wicker still remains a wildly popular choice for outdoor spaces, and it is ideal for bridging together indoor and outdoor spaces, such as in an enclosed porch or sunroom. It can be formal, casual or shabby chic, and the look can be easily changed depending on the cushions, pillows and accessories used with it.
Colors can also vary widely, from rustic natural to country-cottage white. The versatile materials used to make wicker furniture provide a warm, natural feel that evokes feelings of outdoor spaces.
Wicker is not a material, but simply a weaving process. It often refers to a variety of vines, grasses and plants that are woven into furniture. Wicker is usually made by weaving materials over a core frame made of rattan.
Wicker furniture is often made from the following materials:
Rattan – Rattan is the most popular type of wicker furniture as it is strong, durable and comfortable. It is made from a solid core rattan pole, which makes it resistant to any splintering, breaking or warping. It is a versatile material, as well, as it accepts any kind of paint or stain.
Cane – Cane is the second layer of bark from the rattan pole (rattan being the outermost layer, after the thorny covering is removed). It is commonly used for weaving seats and wrapping joints, and is generally woven around a rattan frame. The naturally shiny, nonporous finish of cane, however, does not accept stain or paint.
Reed – Reed is made from the innermost layer of the rattan palm and is available in a variety of sizes and dimensions. Its porous construction easily accepts paints and stains, making it an extremely versatile material. It can, however, break if bent too far.
Bamboo – Bamboo, although popular for a variety of other household products and building materials, is generally not used for outdoor furniture applications because it can snap or break easily due to its hollow center.
Paper Fiber Rush – Paper fiber rush is a man-made paper product that resembles cord or rope. This fiber has a unique, diagonal twist that is easily unraveled, thereby making it ideal for weaving. It is also often used in chair seats.
Wicker is easily maintained and generally just requires a feather duster or the soft brush attachment of a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris.
Wicker can also be wiped down with a cloth soaked in warm, soapy water. Just be sure to use a mild cleaner.
Most wicker furniture is not weatherproof, and high temperatures and direct sunlight can quickly dry out the wicker’s fibers, making it brittle and prone to cracking.
Rain and moisture can damage the paint of wicker furniture and weaken the wrappings and the framework. If you want to use your wicker furniture outdoors, a few simply precautions should be taken to ensure that it does not become damaged or brittle due to the elements. Use high-quality, breathable furniture covers and bring your wicker furniture indoors over the colder, winter months.
With care and attention, your wicker furniture can be a lovely investment that will bring cheer and beauty to your home for years to come.