Rattan--Here to Stay
I'm thrilled that rattan seems to have weathered its recent what's-old-is-new-again trend status and appears to be here to stay. Hurray! It showed up in interior design mags and showrooms like the fondue revival fad a couple of years ago, but this time it seems to be considered cool enough to become a permanent classic. I love my mid-century rattan chair, and I also remember the popularity of rattan that emerged again in the seventies and eighties, as seen on the sets of the The Mary Tyler Moore Show or The Golden Girls. The Victorians were crazy about it, and it was beloved in ancient China and Japan, as well as Indonesia where most rattan came from.
What is the difference between wicker and rattan? Wicker is made from woven natural materials whether willow or rush or something else, often around a framework. Today manufactured materials make wicker weather proof. But if you want a well-made piece of furniture or decorative object, rattan is the strongest. Whereas bamboo has a hollow core, rattan does not. Rattan is actually related to the palm family and grows in its characteristic narrow, pole-like fashion. Segments are cut and steamed to create the desired shape.
The good news is that you don't have to hit the antique stores or flea markets to find great pieces. The chair (above) reflects a classic, old-world construction but is entirely newly made--just needs the right cushion, perhaps a tropical pattern or Marimekko print?
Take a look at where designers are going with rattan now--this is not your grandmother's sunroom! The pieces in this Danish collection look modern, with clean lines in an open weave pattern with subtle curves that make these as much a pleasure to look at as lounge in. Rattan mirrors of this same type (seen on the back wall) are also making an appearance again in fun shapes and textures, and are widely available and affordable, many in these sun-like shapes.
For this beach house makeover, two hanging rattan chairs provide cozy pods to read in for this kids bedroom.
Speaking of bedrooms, this twin headboard is definitely retro in its curvilinear design but breaks out of that tired white bedroom look with a bold, saturated pink. Fun stuff...
Rattan can also be cut into long strips and woven into this basket look that's popular in lighting, especially if you like mixing in natural textures into a room. It's all out there if you're looking to incorporate this look into your home or office space. Let me know what you find!