The Resurgence of Rattan

Maybe it’s because we’re on the cusp of summer, but lately in many of our favorite rooms we’ve noticed a surprising element–rattan.  It’s a material of contrasts: it’s sturdy but visually light, it evokes the 1970s but doesn’t look dated, and while it’s casual enough for the patio it blends seamlessly into more sophisticated interiors.

In this picture the visual spaces in the headboard allow the mural to shine through, and the dramatic shape of the bed almost becomes part of the scene as if the curls and furls are little fiddleheads emerging from the forest floor.

Red House West will be having its next blog conference in this setting, thank you very much.

This room has a tightly unified neutral pallet, but the mix of materials–wood, metal, leather, wool, and rattan–keeps it interesting.

The shape of this bench is pretty out there, but because of the unassuming material it totally works.  It could easily take center stage or, as in this picture, be a nice complement to other elements in a room (we’re both positive that given the chance we could each make this work in our living rooms).

Give us a cup of tea and the latest edition of domino and you’ll find us here:

Another great thing about rattan is that it’s affordable.  Ikea’s new NIPPRIG collection has some pieces that make Katie consider a road trip to Portland, and make Mera contemplate buying her own container ship.

Urban outfitters also has some nice options, as does Serena and Lily.


What do you think?  Are you on board with the rattan comeback?  Check back on Wednesday for the Chamber of Secrets reveal, Part 1!

8 responses on “The Resurgence of Rattan

  1. Carol Crump Bryner

    What’s the difference between rattan and wicker? I’ve always loved wicker, especially white-painted wicker with flowered summery cushions, but my cats were always so hard on it. Love the bench with the gazelle ? heads on it.

    1. Nina

      Ooh, I think I know this. One of them is an actual material/plant (the rattan) and the other is the method of weaving (wicker). So wicker furniture can actually be made out of a number of different materials, including rattan, but only rattan can be rattan.

      Now … who knows the difference between cement and concrete??

      I love this look, by the way. Its timeless.

      1. Katie

        Ah, well answered Nina! I think it’s timeless too. As for cement v. concrete… would that fall within the purview of design definitions?

    2. Katie

      Isn’t that bench amazing?! Unfortunately those lovely, lacy gazelles wouldn’t stand a chance against Dean the Tubby Lion.

  2. trotula

    yessss! i LOVE rattan so very, very much. i feel most relaxed in rooms that have an almost totally neutral palate, but like you said about one of the rooms, rattan gives so much beautiful texture and life to that simplicity. plus, it’s a nice change from having lots of solid wood pieces, which, while beautiful, can get to be like, “okay, wow, this is a lot of wood.”

    the nice thing about it, too, is that it is often super easy to thrift because i think people don’t always know how to work with it outside of a super traditional country look.

    all wonderful things in my book! so excited to see this roundup!

    1. Katie

      It’s true! I see a lot of pretty rattan pieces at thrift stores (and some have made their way home with me). And writing this post (and reading your comment) has me itching to go look for more…

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