Rattan furniture has lots of benefits: strong, durable and very stylish, it's little wonder that more and more people are opting for woven chairs and sofas. 

But with such a wide selection on offer, how can you tell which items offer real quality and which are more likely to break or fail to live up to their promise?

We take a closer look at how to choose the best rattan furniture. 

Choose synthetic

Given the choice between synthetic and natural materials, the vast majority of buyers would plump for natural rattan.

But unlike other industries, synthetic rattan has many benefits to make it the better choice. 

Synthetic rattan is far more durable and is more resistance to UV rays, thus ensuring that your furniture won't crack or fade when exposed to direct sunlight. It's also ideal for indoors use too, combining the same stylish looks with strength and durability.

A good synthetic weave will have a smooth finish, and may even feel even slightly oily to the touch. There should be no dents, bumps or gaps and the final design shouldn't be 'hairy'.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 13.48.57

Rattan furniture is versatile, such as this dresser

Image Source: https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5191/7365138750_16a2e82290.jpg 

Look at the cushions

The upholstery can make or break a rattan design and the cushion pads in particular are worth a much closer look.

You may be spending many hours sitting on your rattan furniture so you want to be ensure that you will be as comfortable.

Thin cushions bely a much poorer manufacturing quality and can be the tell-tale sign that substandard techniques may have been employed.

The best rattan sets have removable cushions which mean that in the case of the occasional spillage you can simply zipper them off and put them in the washing machine. They should also be UV resistant; this means they won't fade after being exposed to sunlight.

Non-corroding frames

Whilst the weave of the rattan may look spectacular, the frame underneath is an important component of the overall design. 

You should always look for a non-corroding metal such as aluminium as the basis for any piece of rattan furniture. This makes an ideal frame as it won't rust if left out in the rain unlike other materials such as steel.

From an aesthetic perspective, buying a piece of rattan furniture that has a powder coated frame is far superior. This coating stops any silvery glint from the frame shining through the tiny gaps in the rattan weave and ruining the overall appearance of the item. 

A sturdy design

Contemporary rattan furniture is not just designed to be tucked into a corner of the conservatory and forgotten about, but used on numerous occasions throughout the year. 

The style of the furniture complements designs from both traditional and contemporary eras, but it's important that the chair is able to withstand general wear and tear.

Check that the item is sturdy before purchasing; look for deep cushions coupled with supportive backs. The very best rattan furniture will have armrests as well.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 13.49.35 Rattan seen close-up

Image Source: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3327/3319048803_4aa603d1be.jpg 

Another tell-tale sign is the weave and how tightly it has been pushed onto the frame. Rattan which is tightly woven and leaves less space for the frame to poke through is of a much higher quality than more threadbare examples. Regular spacing and a tightly packed weave are signs that the chair has been created with care and is likely to be much stronger. 

Conclusion

Rattan is undoubtedly one of the décor trends for 2014 which is set to continue for much longer. Although similar in appearance, rattan should never be confused with other types of wicker furniture, which is not as durable or as strong. The above top tips help any potential buyer whittle down their choices to find the best quality rattan furniture.

Image Credits: Wicker Paradise and YaYapas