Whether you define your style as pared back and contemporary, vintage and bohemian, or classically French, rattan is a material which most certainly deserves your attention. Rattan is actually a climbing plant which grows in abundance in tropical areas such as Indonesia: once the canes have been harvested, the outer skin is peeled away, cut into sections, and then steamed before being used to weave anything from baskets to beds. Known for its strength and durability, rattan is often used in the construction of garden furniture and yet, what I wanted to showcase in this feature, are the fantastic ways in which rattan has been used to create super-stylish pieces for inside the home.
Rattan’s popularity lies, I think, in its versatility. It has a chameleon like quality and can be used in a range of ways: from the most classical pieces through to slick furniture that wouldn’t look out of place in the most contemporary of homes; it can be tightly woven to create a dense, more solid effect, or have an open weave that results in some really interesting looks. However, or wherever, you use rattan, it is guaranteed to add a wonderful texture within a room.
There are hundreds of products on the market right now but here are some of the ones that have caught my eye:
Monogram hooks, £15 each, Anthropologie
Combining both rattan and iron, these monogram hooks come in every single letter of the alphabet and would add a stylish touch to a hallway.
Set of five rattan wall mirrors, £330, Graham & Green
I’m a real advocate of using mirrors to create impact on walls; not only do they help to bounce light around but they can be used to make a striking design feature along one section of wall. These mirrors will look particularly great in a hallway or relaxed sitting room.
Avery natural rattan dining chairs, £150 for a pair, Habitat
These chairs are a reimagined take on the classic bentwood dining chairs that you might find in traditional French bistros. They look especially good against oak or black furniture, and are great value for money too.
Beru conical rattan lampshades, from £99.95, Nkuku
Artisans in Indonesia have employed ancient basket making skills to hand-weave rattan into these fabulous pieces of lighting. The shadows cast from them must surely be stunning.
Rattan woven underplate, £16, OKA
Rattan has very much been part of OKA’s offering for many years now; these rattan under-plates remain very popular. They are a nice alternative to placemats and will add a lovely textural look to any dining table.
Margot bed, from £895, Loaf
For classic French style, this oak and rattan bed should do nicely. Its frame has been carefully weathered to give it a slightly antique feel and lots of old-style charm.
Kubu rattan wall mirror, £99, Dutchbone at Cuckooland
Handwoven from a type of rattan called Kubu, this mirror has been left untreated to allow the natural tones and character of the rattan to really come through. At 75cm diameter, it’s a generously sized piece which would look great in a hallway or above a fireplace.
Black rattan bar stool, £195, Rose & Grey
These stools would be a perfect way of introducing some texture into even the sleekest of kitchen. They are available in the black rattan shown here and a blonde rattan too.
Heart-shaped bread basket, £25, The White Company
Only the prettiest artisanal breads deserve to be served in one of these handmade baskets. They’d make a lovely addition to a dining table that has been set with white china and sparkling glassware.
Rattan and wood screen, £150, Cox & Cox
Screens are useful devices for partitioning off a section of a room, softening a corner of a space, or just adding some texture and interest to a scheme: this rattan screen would do the job nicely.
Rattan side table, £95, Little Deer
The natural tones of this pale rattan table create a lovely contrast against the greys and blacks used elsewhere. Note how the curved lines of the table provide further contrast with the hard straight edges in this area.
Traditional rattan carpet beater, £13, Willow & Stone
This piece is perfect if you want to beat the dust out of your carpets and rugs, and also visually pleasing when hanging from a set of hooks.
Round rattan cocoon chair, £650, Cox & Cox
Who wouldn’t want to contemplate life from the comfort of this hanging chair? This curvy seat has been made using blonde rattan with a beautiful open weave, and would add a gorgeous textural accent within a space. Style with sheepskins and fringed cushions for a relaxed Boho feel.
Ashcroft breakfast tray, £59, Neptune
As well as providing ample room to carry crockery and glassware to the table, how about placing one of these trays on a coffee table or console, and using it to create a display of your favourite pieces?
Fiji natural rattan sofa, £695, Alexander & Pearl
This sleek slim-line sofa would work well in a garden room or along a wall in a sitting room; it has a pared back modern look that could fit well in a range of spaces.
Metalwork cake stand, £58, Anthropologie
Created using a contemporary mix of stainless steel and rattan, this cake stand would look fabulous filled with little pastries and tarts, or even a selection of seasonal fruits.
Patterned Rattan Egg chair in Natural, £500, Out There Interiors
This ergonomically designed chair has masses of intricate detailing in its structure. It looks particularly striking against the dark walls and concrete floors of this sitting room.
Small square basket, £45, Garden Trading
Sturdy and hard-wearing, this rattan basket provides plenty of storage space for anything, from logs by the fireside, to newspapers and magazines, or even children’s toys.
Rattan lantern, from £24.95, All Things Brighton Beautiful
Perfect for inside the home and out in the garden too, these striking rattan lanterns have a strong contemporary feel. They’d make fantastic gifts.
Tokyo armchair, £272, Pols Potten at Made in Design
If ever you needed proof that rattan can be uber-cool, then look no further than this rattan and metal armchair by the innovative Dutch brand, Pols Potten.
What has struck me whilst putting together this feature is how versatile rattan is: due to its flexibility as a material, it seems that it can be fashioned into almost anything, the only limitation being the imagination of the maker. I love the way that rattan has a look of easy, laid-back living about it and an ability to immediately add a touch of gorgeous texture to a room. It can be smart and structured, or looser and more bohemian. Which pieces do you like?
With thanks to Out There Interiors for kindly allowing us to use their photograph as the lead image.