Relaxing outside on a warm summer afternoon is a glorious experience, even better if you don’t have to venture any further than your back garden.

The ability to stretch out and relax in your own back yard shouldn’t be underestimated and even if you only have a small garden it’s perfectly possible to still furnish it in a way which is stylish and practical too.

Rattan is a material which is ideally created for furniture both inside and outdoors, offering versatility, strength and attractive design. Originally created from a tropical vine, most outdoors rattan is now synthetic because of the superior durability and weatherproofing that it offers. These features make it perfect for garden furniture, going some way to explaining why rattan is one of the most popular materials used outside.

Sun loungers need to look good, be comfortable, practical and stylish, offering a range of adjustable positions so you can either lie down and enjoy a snooze in the sun or sit up and flick through a magazine.

Here are a few points about how to choose your garden furniture and just why rattan loungers offer the best solution.

rattan loungers

Quality rattan loungers available from our range

Storage

Depending on the size of your garden and how much storage you have available, it can be difficult to find the space to stash your furniture during the winter months.

The amount of storage you have might play a part in determining whether or not you opt for permanent or temporary furniture in your garden.

There are both deck chairs and sun loungers available in temporary designs; this is the type of furniture which is easily collapsible and folds up for easy storage. Typically made from fabric, these types of sun chairs need to be protected when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

As well as having sufficient room, there’s also the convenience to consider. Hauling your furniture out of storage and setting it up every time you want to put your feet up in the garden for five minutes can be a real deterrent.

The alternative is to opt for furniture which can be left out all year round. Rattan is a material which is entirely weatherproof; it doesn’t need to be protected from the frost, cold temperatures or the rain. It can even be left out in the snow! This means you can leave your sun loungers in a convenient position, so that when you want to use them, they are ready and waiting.

The upholstery and cushions on rattan loungers and other types of rattan garden furniture are typically showerproof, with covers that can be zippered off and cleaned in the washing machine. However, they aren’t designed to withstand all of the British weathers, unlike the rattan frame, so these need to be protected.

But even this doesn’t need to be inconvenient as part of the range of rattan garden accessories include storage boxes. Made from rattan, they offer the same weatherproofing which enables them to remain in the garden in all four seasons, but inside the box, there is a lining which helps to ensure that the contents remain warm, safe and dry and unaffected by the wet, frost and subzero temperatures outside.

These rattan storage boxes look very stylish so leaving them in your garden all year round won’t be an eyesore, and also means that the cushions are right on hand for when you need them.

rattan storage box

Rattan storage boxes are very useful in the garden

There are other materials in addition to rattan which can be considered as a piece of permanent garden furniture but inevitably there are some drawbacks. Wrought iron for example offers excellent durability and can be left out all year round, but during the summer it can get extremely hot and isn’t as comfortable or practical as rattan.

Versatility

If you like to switch your garden design around regularly, then picking furniture which provides you with the flexibility to be able to do that will be a priority.

Sun loungers in particularly will need to be moved around the garden, either to catch more rays, or to enjoy a bit of cooling shade. If you have a large garden you may want to take your sun lounger off to a quiet corner from time to time, to enjoy some peaceful hours away from the rest of the household, perhaps reading a good book. Or you might prefer to move your lounger closer to the back door, allowing you to pop in and out without traipsing up and down the garden each time.

Having options about where to put your sun lounger can be a huge benefit, and help you to get the most from your garden furniture.

Heavy materials such as wrought iron or timber won’t provide you with the flexibility to be able to do that. Because of their sheer weight, moving them can be extremely hard work and at times impossible for one person to manage on their own.

rattan sofas

Rattan loungers as part of a patio set

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At the opposite end of the spectrum are lightweight foldable chairs. Whilst these are undeniably easy to move, they can be flimsy and need to be stored away after use.

A good middling ground is rattan. Renowned for being remarkably durable and long-lasting, it’s a very strong material ideally suited to furniture. Yet despite this robust exterior, the weave is wrapped around an aluminium frame which makes them deceptively lightweight.

You may not have expected to be able to easily lift a rattan sun lounger, but despite its solid and substantial appearance, you will find it is literally as light as a feather. This surprising fact means that although you won’t need to put it into storage, it can still be moved around with the same ease as temporary furniture.

Indoors out

One of the hottest contemporary looks is removing the border between interior design and the garden, and rattan is a material which crosses the threshold of the two.

Great for creating a natural, harmonious indoors environment, it’s also one of the most in-demand materials for the garden too. This means it’s far easier to create a continuous design effect without having an abrupt line drawn between interior decor and outdoors landscaping.

This flow from the house to the garden is often seen in the appetite for larger, frameless windows with covered outdoors spaces furnished in a similar way to the lounge or conservatory.

Having rattan sun lounger’s means that even casual furniture can still be part of the same theme, complementing the look and helping to create an appearance of matching decor.

Rattan looks particularly good in the garden anyway, because of the natural colours and texture of the vine (even in synthetic rattan).

Made from a vine and with the synthetic rattan manufactured to look absolutely identical, one of the big advantages of rattan is its aesthetic appeal. Highly attractive, it fits in with the current demand for natural and eco-friendly materials.

When used in its natural form, rattan is one of the most eco-friendly materials on the planet because of the vast quantities available and its extremely rapid regrowth rate.

Providing a rustic and earthy appeal, rattan can help to create a calm and relaxing vibe both in the garden and around the home.

Poolside seating

If you’re lucky enough to have a hot tub or a pool in your garden, you might avoid putting any treasured furniture in the proximity foe fear of water damage. The good news is that rattan is perfectly capable of being in a humid, warm or wet environment without getting damaged.

In the home, rattan can be used as bathroom furniture or also placed in the conservatory ; both of these rooms tend to be more damp and humid than other areas in the house. Rattan is also well able to withstand heavy rainfall. Therefore if you want to take a seat next to the pool, or even place the rattan lounger close to the kids’ paddling pool so you can keep an eye on them in comfort, you won’t need to worry if there’s any splashes.

Practicality

It’s great for furniture to look attractive, and for some people that are the most important feature which rattan comprehensively ticks, but comfort and practical functionality is vital too.

Furniture which is difficult to look after or uncomfortable to sit on is soon going to get replaced. One of the greatest things about rattan is that is not just easy to look after, but it’s remarkably forgiving and just for good measure, it’s exceedingly comfortable too.

In the garden sun loungers are going to be used by all members of the family. If you have young children, they may well clamber up to sit with mum or dad, or even enjoy feeling all grown up by sitting on a lounger on their own. Teenagers are just as likely to want to enjoy the chance to relax in comfort whilst older generations will find rattan loungers soft and supportive to sit on but easy to get in and out of.

beach rattan chairs

Rattan loungers look great when painted

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The wide range of uses that rattan loungers are likely to see in the garden mean that there could be great demands on its ease of use, plus questions asked over how practical the design really is.

As a material rattan has a soft ‘give’, making it supportive yet gentle to sit in. Allowing you to sink into a chair without being sucked too far down, rattan provides a soft hug for any pair of hips which descends into its midst.

It’s recommended that the cushion or upholstery provided is always used with the rattan chair; this is to ensure even distribution of weight and prevent premature sagging or bagginess (in the chair!).

The frame itself is stain resistant and even if you do knock over your glass of summer cordial or even a cheeky white wine, you will be able to quickly wipe it up without risk of it staining the framework. The best way to clean rattan is with a soft cloth dampened with water; you won’t need bleach, special cleaners or treatments.

Of course, the upholstery and cushions with the rattan won't clean with just a quick wipe-over if you spill drinks over them but you’ll be able to simply unzip them and pop the covers in the washing machine.

This means rattan sun loungers are easy to look after and can withstand robust use from all members of the family.

Even if you don’t have any mishaps, ongoing maintenance to keep your rattan sun loungers in tip top condition is just as easy. An occasional wipe down with a damp cloth should be all that’s needed to keep it looking as good as new. Keeping dust and dirt out of the cracks can help to prevent and deterioration in the framework so a quick dust over or even a blitz with a hoover attachment now and again can be a good idea.

If you notice any cracks or splits appearing as time goes on, brush some boiled linseed oil into the frame. This will help return moisture to the rattan, and as the oil dries, it will harden and expand. This will help to fill any splits and cracks, making it look as good as new.

Unequivocal style

It always feels great to take some time for yourself to simply relax and unwind on a sun lounger in the summer, but there’s something extra-special when you’re on a piece of furniture which looks as good as it feels.

A plush, attractive sun lounger can make the whole experience feel deliciously decadent, a real treat to escape from the hurly burly of everyday life and just take some time out.

Many sun loungers also come with small tables too so you have a place to rest your drink whilst you enjoy 40 winks. If you need a spot of shade, you can buy matching parasols with a wicker trim which can help to provide some shelter from the hot sunshine.

free cover with our rattan

Rattan lounger with side table, available to buy from us

There is a whole range of rattan garden accessories so whether you have a small but perfectly formed patio, or sprawling acres of greenery, it’s possible to make sure your outside space is stylish and smart, and reflects your taste in decor and design.

Image Credits: Lina Buitrago and La Vida Aloha