Difference Between Rattan and Wicker

Rattan vs Wicker

In the world today, various materials are used for the making of furniture. Wood is perhaps the most popular material utilized for the purpose while certain materials such as wrought iron, concrete and aluminium too are used. Sometimes these materials look so much alike that it is quite difficult to tell one from the other. Rattan and wicker are two such materials that often get confused due to the similarity in appearance.

What is Rattan?

Rattan is the name given to roughly 600 species of palms in the tribe Calameae. It is a tribe of reed that is native to tropical regions of Asia, Africa as well as Australasia. Rattan is characteristic of its slender stems of about 2–5 cm diameter which resemble vines much more than trees. Superficially similar to bamboo, about 70% of the rattan population in the world can be found in Indonesia while the rest is distributed around countries like Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Philippines and Bangladesh.

Rattan is commonly used for the making of furniture. Raw rattan is peeled, and the strand obtained from it is used as weaving material. The core of the rattan reed can be used for making other parts of the furniture. It is the flexibility of the rattan reed that allows it to be weaved easily into various shapes while its lightweight, durable nature makes it ideal for outdoor use as well. Apart from making furniture, rattan is also used for weaving baskets, providing shelter and making handicrafts and arts. 

What is Wicker?

Wicker is a woven fibre often used in making furniture and other material. Wicker is often obtained from plant sources such as the core of cane or rattan stalks, bamboo or reed. However , today, plastic fibre is also used to produce wicker material. This comes in the form of plastic, resin or paper-wrapped high tensile wire while the frame can be made with aluminium or other such material. 

The use of wicker runs back as far as ancient Greece where wicker furniture and other household products were made out of indigenous reed and swamp grasses. Today, wicker is a popular material that is used for the production of patio or porch furniture such as chairs, benches, stools or other seats where the frame is made out of stiffer materials and the seating and the backing area are woven out of wicker. Natural wicker is a popular choice among many for its strength and durability as well as its elegance in appearance as well as the comfort.

What is the difference between Rattan and Wicker?

It is quite easy to get rattan and wicker confused since they are both weaving material that looks quite similar in appearance. However, while the look and feel of them might resemble each other to a certain point, there are some major distinctions that set them apart.

• Rattan is obtained from a jungle wine that is native to Asian countries. Wicker is obtained from the core of cane or rattan stalks, bamboo or reed.

• Rattan is essentially a material. Wicker is mostly used when referring to a specific type of weaving or products made with that particular type of weaving.

• A rattan chair is made out of that specific material, but a wicker chair can be made from a variety of material.

• Rattan is a natural material. Wicker can be synthetically produced as well.