Rattan Vs. Wicker: What’s the Difference?

Choosing between rattan and wicker furniture is easy if you can tell the difference. Rattan and wicker furnishing add a natural aesthetic to your home’s decor.

Rattan vs wicker

Both rattan and wicker have distinct origins, contributing to their properties, structure, and aesthetic appeal. They come in various design options and are excellent indoor and outdoor choices.


Rattan is a versatile and sustainable material that makes furniture and various home decor items. The natural vine is a durable material native to tropical regions of Southeast Asia. In contrast to other materials, rattan furniture is often more expensive but lasts longer.

Rattan Components & Qualities

Rattan belongs to the Calamus genus, which has over 600 species. The natural vine elongates to impressive lengths, making it suitable for crafting furniture frames.

Rattan comprises a solid core, otherwise known as the rattan cane. It has a tough outer skin that makes the vine flexible and sturdy enough to build furniture. The material is lightweight, weather-resistant, easy to weave, and offers a natural aesthetic.


Wicker is a weaving style made from thin strips of material. The technique involves weaving plant materials or synthetic fibers into complex patterns. The phrase “wicker” refers to the finished product, which is lightweight, durable, and offers an aesthetic appeal.

Natural Wicker

Natural wicker consists of plant materials, such as willow, rattan, reed, or bamboo. Rattan is the most suitable material due to its strength and flexibility. Using renewable resources makes natural wicker eco-friendly.

Since natural wicker is susceptible to moisture and water damage, it’s best for indoor use. It’s more delicate and requires regular maintenance.

Synthetic Wicker

Also known as all-weather wicker, the type is a modern alternative to natural wicker. It consists of synthetic fibers such as polyethylene or resin.

These materials resemble the look and feel of natural materials. They’re weather resistant, high quality, and don’t fade as natural wicker does when exposed to extreme conditions.

All-weather wicker is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. It requires minimal maintenance and lasts longer since it resists decay and fading. Synthetic wicker is a suitable choice for patio furniture or poolside lounging.

Rattan vs. Wicker: Key Differences to Consider

Both rattan and wicker have unique properties and characteristics. Understanding the differences is essential when choosing furniture.


Rattan’s solid core makes it more durable than wicker, which comprises thin strips of material. The natural flexibility of rattan contributes to its longevity.

Wicker exhibits various levels of durability, depending on the material it’s made of. For instance, synthetic wicker consists of weather-resistant materials, making it ideal for outdoor use.


Rattan is a natural material, while wicker is made of various materials. Rattan’s natural appearance creates a sense of warmth and introduces a touch of the tropics to a space.

Wicker isn’t a material but a method of weaving different materials to make furniture. The material used determines the furniture’s texture, color, and appearance.


Dusting and gentle clearing are the maintenance requirements for rattan furniture. Applying a thin layer of linseed oil preserves rattan’s natural glow and makes it resilient.

In contrast, the maintenance requirements for wicker vary depending on the material. Natural wicker made from rattan or other plant materials requires the same care as rattan furniture.

Synthetic wicker is a low-maintenance option that requires soap and water to clean.

Resistance to Moisture and Fading

Rattan is more prone to moisture damage since it’s a natural material. Too much exposure to moisture leads to cracking, warping, or even mold and mildew growth. For this reason, avoid using rattan furniture in outdoor areas. Natural wicker is equally susceptible to moisture.

Synthetic wicker, however, resists fading and maintains its color integrity under the sun. Consider placing rattan furniture in shaded areas to help prevent fading.