Major Difference Between Wicker And Rattan

When it comes to choosing an ideal furnishings for your home, particularly for your outside space, the options seem limitless. Wicker and rattan are two popular materials, but what are the main differences, and which is better for your oasis?

In this detailed guide, we'll walk you through the major difference between wicker and rattan furniture material, help you decide which is better for your outdoor space, and provide essential tips on cleaning and maintenance so that your furniture investment lasts for years.

Wicker and Rattan: An Overview

Before we discuss the major difference between rattan and wicker, let's get a better understanding of what wicker and rattan are.

  1. Wicker: Wicker refers to the weaving technique used to create furniture and decor items. It can be made from various materials, including rattan, willow, bamboo, or synthetic fibers. Wicker is characterized by its intricate patterns and often boasts a lightweight, airy design.
  2. Rattan: Rattan, on the other hand, is a natural material extracted from the inner core of the rattan palm. This furniture material is known for its strength, durability, and flexibility. Rattan can be used in its natural form or combined with other materials to create various types of furniture. 

What Is The Difference Between Wicker And Rattan?

  • Material Composition:

    • Wicker: As mentioned earlier, wicker is made with a weaving technique. It can be made from various materials, with rattan, willow, bamboo, or synthetic fibers being one of the most common choices.
    • Rattan: it is the actual material extracted from the rattan palm. It's used as a component in manufacturing wicker furniture, making it an essential element in wicker design.
  • Strength and Durability:

    • Wicker: The durability of wicker furniture depends on the material used. Synthetic wicker may not be as durable as natural materials like rattan or willow.
    • Rattan: It is popular for its durability and can withstand various weather conditions, making it an excellent choice for outdoor furniture.
  • Maintenance:

    • Wicker: Maintenance requirements vary based on the material used. Synthetic wicker is generally low-maintenance, while natural wicker may require occasional cleaning and resealing.
    • Rattan: It requires minimal maintenance. A simple wipe-down and occasional application of protective finishes can keep it looking new and beautiful.
  • Aesthetic Appeal:

    • Wicker: it has a pleasant, cottage-style charm to it. Wicker outdoor sets come in various colors and styles to match your decor.
    • Rattan: It has a more natural and tropical appearance. Its earthy tones and unique textures can create a relaxing atmosphere in any space.
  • Indoor vs. Outdoor Use:

    • Wicker: While the wicker can be used both indoors and outdoors, its durability outdoors depends on the material. Synthetic wicker is better suited for outdoor use.
    • Rattan: Natural rattan is suitable for indoor furniture. However, due to its durability, synthetic rattan can be used as outdoor furniture. Synthetic Rattan can withstand the elements without losing its integrity. 

Which Is Better?

Choosing between wicker and rattan furniture requires careful consideration of your specific needs and preferences. Maintenance, outdoor adaptability, aesthetics, and internal decor are all important considerations. Let's look at some crucial factors to help you select the best materials for outdoor furniture as per your needs and preferences:

  1. Maintenance and Cleanliness


    • When it comes to maintenance and cleanliness, wicker is a convenient choice. 
    • Synthetic wicker, often crafted from durable materials like resin or plastic, is designed for minimal upkeep. 
    • Its smooth surface is easy to wipe clean, making it an excellent option for individuals with busy lifestyles or those who want minimal upkeep for their furniture. 
    • Stains, spills, and dust can be effortlessly removed, ensuring that your wicker furniture maintains its aesthetic appeal with little effort.


    • Natural rattan requires a bit more attention to keep it in top condition.
    • This organic material, derived from palm plants, can be sensitive to moisture and direct sunlight. 
    • It's essential to shield rattan furniture from excessive humidity or rain, and it's best placed in covered outdoor areas or used indoors to avoid long-term damage.  
    • Periodic cleaning with a damp cloth and mild soap is recommended, and applying a protective sealant or wax can help preserve rattan's natural beauty.
  1. Outdoor Use


    • While some synthetic wicker options are designed for outdoor use, it's crucial to select high-quality, weather-resistant wicker materials if you plan to use them in open-air settings. 
    • Not all synthetic wicker is equally resilient, so ensure that your choice can handle the demands of outdoor exposure. 
    • It's essential to do proper maintenance, including regular cleaning and applying a protective coating to increase the lifespan of outdoor wicker furniture.
    • Wicker is an excellent choice for covered porches or sunrooms, where it can still exude charm while being shielded from the harshest elements.


    • Natural rattan furniture should be kept indoors. When exposed to cold and moisture, rattan can become brittle and prone to breakage. Additionally, the sun can cause damage to these natural wicker sets. 
    • This type of wood used for outdoor furniture requires cushions or upholstery, ensuring they are designed for outdoor use and are moisture-resistant. It will help protect the cushions and the rattan itself.
  1. Customization Options


    • Synthetic wicker comes in a wide array of colors, styles, and weaves, providing numerous options for customization. 
    • Whether you prefer a classic, modern, or aesthetic look, you can find synthetic wicker furniture that matches your aesthetic preferences.
    • Because of the wide range of color options, you can smoothly blend your wicker items into your existing decor or create vivid focus points. 
    • Furthermore, the versatility of wicker weaves allows you to select complicated patterns or simpler designs to suit your design preferences. 
    • Synthetic wicker provides an open canvas for you to express your imagination and style.


    • Rattan furniture often maintains its natural appearance, which can be both an advantage and a limitation in terms of customization. 
    • However, rattan pieces can be adorned with cushions and textiles to introduce color and pattern to your outdoor or indoor decor, offering some options for personalization.

Cost Of Outdoor Furniture: 

  • Wicker:  
The cost difference between synthetic wicker and natural rattan depends on the materials and techniques used. Synthetic wicker is cost-effective due to its readily available synthetic materials, efficient production methods, and consistent quality.  
  • Rattan:
Natural rattan, on the other hand, is costly due to its labor-intensive harvesting and processing, limited growth regions, unique aesthetics, and exceptional durability. While synthetic rattan aims to replicate the look and appearance of natural rattan, it is slightly at higher prices compared to synthetic wicker. 

Which Is Best for Outdoor Patio Furniture and Why?

The choice between wicker and rattan ultimately depends on your preferences, the climate in your area, and the level of maintenance you're willing to undertake. If you prefer low maintenance, durability, and a wide range of styles, synthetic wicker may be the best choice for you. Also, It can resist various outdoor conditions and generally requires minimal upkeep and maintenance.

On the other hand, if you prefer the natural, tropical look and are willing to invest in maintenance, synthetic rattan can provide an inviting ambiance to your outdoor space. However, it's best used in covered outdoor areas to protect it from the elements.

How To Clean And Care For Rattan And Wicker

Tips To Cleaning Wicker Furniture:

    • Use a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove dust and debris from the intricate patterns of your wicker furniture.
    • For spills and stains, clean with a mild detergent or a water and vinegar mixture. Wipe the affected area with a damp cloth and ensure it dries thoroughly.
    • Occasionally, deep clean your wicker furniture with soapy water, gently scrubbing with a soft brush and rinsing thoroughly. Allow your wicker furniture to dry completely before use.
    • Consider applying a clear protective finish to seal and shield your wicker furniture from the elements.

Tips To Cleaning Rattan Furniture:

    • Use a soft, dry cloth or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove dust and dirt from your rattan furniture.
    • To clean up spills, use a damp cloth and mild detergent. Wipe gently and ensure thorough drying.
    • Rattan is sensitive to moisture, so keep it away from damp areas and direct sunlight.
    • Every few years, apply a new coat of clear lacquer or varnish to rattan furniture to maintain its finish and protect it from wear and tear.

In short, proper cleaning and maintenance practices are essential for preserving the beauty and functionality of your wicker and rattan furniture over time. 

Check our guide on how to clean aluminum patio furniture for more information.

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