As one of the naturally strongest vines, rattan makes the obvious choice for storage receptacles, such as baskets and boxes. Synthetic rattan has the same qualities, offering strength and toughness alongside its attractive weave. Rattan is well known for being the material that beautiful furniture is made from, but as well as sofas, chairs and dining sets, rattan can make accessories such as baskets too. The difference between rattan and wicker Rattan and wicker are terms which are often used interchangeably but they relate to very different things. Wicker is a technique rather than a material, and refers to the distinctive woven look which is typically seen with rattan furniture. Wickerwork is usually completed by hand and it takes a lot of skill and experience to be able to create even a relatively simple item such as a basket. rattan

An outdoor storage box / basket

Rattan is not a technique, but a material with which wicker can be made. Rattan is made from tropical vines which are renowned for the speed at which they grow, and their natural strength which outperforms concrete and is on a par with industrial steel. The rattan which is harvested is stripped of its outer skin which is later used as a binding for the canes. The strong inner core of the rattan are what makes up the canes, and it’s this which is processed and heated in order to become the pliable material which can be woven into baskets and other rattan makes, such as furniture.

Using rattan

Rattan is a slender vine so has the flexibility of being useable in a range of projects both large and small. Bigger vines can be harvested for larger items of furniture whilst the smaller canes can be used for wicker projects such as baskets, boxes and planters. Woven baskets have a wonderfully traditional look but rattan is surprisingly strong. This provides a basket which isn’t just authentic looking, but very strong and durable too. Wicker baskets can be made from other materials such as willow or bamboo, but they don’t have the strength of rattan, either natural or synthetic. Although the rattan is softened during processing in order to make it malleable enough to weave, as it dries and hardens, it becomes rigid and immoveable. This provides it with the strength for which it is prized. Once hardened, the rattan creates a tough and durable weave which is capable of carrying very significant weights if required, despite its rather delicate appearance.

Rattan indoors and out

Synthetic rattan has the added benefit of being waterproof, which means it can stay out in all weathers, all year round. Rattan baskets can be used to great effect in the garden, either as a decorative item or as an ornate yet functional planter. This can work particularly well when it’s chosen to complement existing garden rattan furniture.

A rattan storage basket which can be used indoors or outside

Although rattan baskets can be used to great effect in the garden, they also make a striking indoors accessory too. Because of rattan’s ability to shrug off water, rattan baskets can be used in any room in the house, including damp environments such as bathrooms. This allows it to be used as storage where traditional wooden furniture would run the risk of warping or peeling. Rattan is a material that works well with both traditional and contemporary designs, but particularly complements a natural eco-design, a look which is very on trend. Whether it’s casual storage in the bedroom or rattan accessories in the dining room, rattan baskets can be used all over the home, inside and out to great effect. rattan basket