Woven Rattan Wicker Outdoor Patio Furniture
Woven outdoor patio furniture is one of the fastest growing categories today. The technology has advanced in recent years and the stigma of classic wicker that cracks is gone. Today’s quality woven patio furniture is entirely synthetic. The strands can be made from PVC (less desirable) or polyethylene. PVC is less durable and will eventually harden when exposed to the sun, and crack. Polyethylene is extremely durable, weather resistant, and will last for many years without concern.
The best type of synthetic woven strands will be thick, contain UV inhibitors that allow it to retain its original color, and will be multi-dimensional in color. Weaving multiple colors together, or using multiple colors in a single strand provides a very natural look. Almost all woven patio furniture is woven by hand. You should look for uniformity in the pattern, but minor variations may exist and are a reflection of the human attention given to your piece. Weaving is a specialized skill that younger generations are not adopting as much as in previous generations. We can expect some changes in the industry as a result. Perhaps pricing will increase, weave designs will be simplified, or machines will be introduced.
Woven patio furniture is extremely diverse in style. Very traditional looks have been emulated with modern day materials, and very contemporary styles have been introduced. Be sure to evaluate the framework that the weave surrounds. You want a quality internal infrastructure. This will most often be aluminum. Evaluate the aluminum frame like you would any aluminum furniture. Look for quality welds, thickness of material, and weight. Select pieces that rise up off of the ground. You do not want the woven material to touch the ground and tear when being moved around.
Woven material mixed with other materials is very on-trend. Look for pieces that include cushions, aluminum, composite, or MGP trim and legs, or pieces that use woven panels as accents. Occasional tables may or may not include woven material, yet complement a woven collection very well.
Beware of woven pieces that are surprisingly inexpensive. They are likely made from a thin synthetic material or PVC. They may have weak or poorly constructed frames underneath. Be prepared to pay the same price for quality woven pieces as you would for any other quality piece made from another material.
- Christopher Amos