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With the increasing popularity of Plantation  and tropical decor styles,  wicker and cane furniture,  has made a big comeback. Or is that rattan furniture?  These terms are often used interchangeably and it can be confusing to know what  terms to use in an online shopping search. Does one search for rattan furniture or cane furniture online ?  And what about cane outdoor furniture - is there such a thing?


This post will clarify some of the terminology; shed some light on why there is confusion as well as summarise the pro’s and con’s of natural vs synthetic products.



Cane vs wicker vs Rattan 


Okay, so what is the difference?  Well, the word wicker describes the process of weaving no matter what the material.

Rattan and cane  are examples of materials that can be used in this process whereas rattan is a very flexible vine that grows in rainforests.


Furniture can be made from an entire rattan pole, sometimes even with the skin still on it. Cane refers to a part of the rattan vine or pole  which is peeled off and most often used to create cane webbing for seats or binding to hold  rattan poles together.  What about split cane furniture? Well, split cane is a length of rattan that has been machined (‘split’) from the pithy centre of the rattan vine.


The way I like to think about it is that cane is a part of rattan, and both  can be used in the process of weaving.


Sounds simple, so why is there confusion over what to call it?  Well, that’s because  some furniture is a combination of the two eg.  a chair  frame made of  rattan  and seating and binding made from cane.  So does that  make it a cane chair or a rattan chair? If  the item you have in mind has both elements you’re best to search

using both names, or  try searching for cane rattan furniture


Okay, so that’s the technical lesson over... but hopefully it has helped clarify a few things.







Choosing Cane and Rattan Furniture


If you’re looking for indoor furniture,  most cane and rattan will stand the test of time very well.    You can also place it on well protected verandahs that don't get too much weather or full sunlight. 


But if you’re looking to use it on a verandah that gets some weather or a full outdoor location  you need to be aware that even the best quality cane furniture 


  • is vulnerable to too much moisture
  • can  become mouldy 
  • will become dry and brittle over time , if exposed to too much sunlight leading to  cracks  and unravelling binding
  • can attract insects and small pests


So  if you’re after cane garden furniture  you’re much better off going for all weather  options that have aluminium frames and synthetic cane binding and weave. Aluminium is corrosion resistant and synthetic wicker is: 


  • mould resistant
  • UV treated 
  • and super easy to keep clean. 


And the look?   These days  the all weather outdoor cane furniture looks very authentic:  options range from the traditional  white cane furniture  to brightly coloured versions all the way through to options that mimic the look of  unpainted natural cane with alls its texture and varied colour. 






The best part: with synthetic all weather products  you wont have to worry about repainting or repairing split cane . You get the  the look without the hassle . So if you’re after cane outdoor chairs  or maybe  an outdoor cane sofa set,  go for all weather options. Petite Retreat stocks  a range of these so take a wander over to the product pages to see if there is something that strikes your fancy.



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