Are Wicker, Rattan or Cane the Same? What's the Difference?

differences between wicker, rattan and cane
It's no secret that the wicker, rattan and cane furniture has been blowing up in the last few years. Your Instagram and Pinterest feeds must be flooded with those natural, woven chairs or home decors like baskets and lamps. But have you ever stopped and wondered: "What is wicker? What is rattan? What is cane? And how are they different?"

Since these three terms are often interchanged in the home decor realm, you could be forgiven for thinking wicker, rattan and cane are one and the same. But they're not! In this post, we'll share with you everything we've discovered to clear up all of the confusion around these terms "wicker vs rattan vs cane", and help you get updated about their pros and cons. Read on to find out more about:

  1. What is Wicker, Rattan or Cane? What's Their Differences?
  2. Pros and Cons of Rattan Cane Furniture
  3. How to Clean and Care Rattan Cane Furniture
  4. Rattan Cane Chairs Recommendations

What is Wicker, Rattan or Cane? What's Their Differences?

  • Wicker vs Rattan and Cane
Wicker, rattan and cane are all materials? Nooope, the truth is: rattan and cane allude to the material, whereas wicker is a style and method of weaving. Wicker furniture and accessories can be woven from rattan and cane, but also from a number of natural materials like bamboo, reed, willow, straw, rush, raffia or even synthetic fibers like resin and vinyl.
rattan palm tree
Rattan Palm Tree

Over time, the confusion arises because "wicker" is such a catch-all term that has come to encompass many types of woven furniture. So you get it now - wicker refers to a weaving process, rather than a specific material. And if you're not pretty sure what your woven furniture is made from, wicker is probably the safest word to use.

  • The History of Wicker
While it rose in popularity during the 1970s, wicker is actually a technique that has been passed down through the ages. Scientists and archaeologists have discovered wicker furniture dating as far back as 3,000 B.C. in Egypt. The tombs of wealthy pharaohs including King Tut's have been found to contain wickerwork items including wicker chairs, chests, or baskets and boxes.

  • Rattan vs Cane
Rattan includes over 600 different species of solid timber vine, found in tropical regions of Asia, Australia, and Africa. It has the appearance of bamboo, but unlike the hollow bamboo, rattan is solid and flexible. Rattan grows like a tree, but eventually bends back to the earth and then snakes through the ground like vines instead.

Once the rattan plant is processed, it gets split into two parts: the core reed (rattan) and the outer skin or bark (cane). Because of this, pieces that feature thin, woven accents, like the back of a dining chair or on a cabinet door, are frequently considered cane. And items with larger, reed-like features are normally rattan. That is to say, rattan is used in the main weaving of wicker furniture, such as a papasan or outdoor lounge chair, while cane is generally used to attach the items together and in the finishing details.

You will often find brightly colored, treated and painted rattan but plain cane, due to the excellent water repellency of cane. Rattan is porous and easily damaged by moisture. So be sure to cover the natural rattan furniture outside when it rains.
the differences between rattan and cane
Rattan & Cane and Their Uses

Pros and Cons of Rattan Cane Furniture

  • The Benefits of Using Wicker, Rattan and Cane
Stylish: Wicker, rattan and cane furniture will create an earthy, light and airy feeling as well as a beautiful bohemian touch to any home.
Lightweight: Wicker, rattan and cane chairs are much lighter than solid wood and metal furniture. Easy to be moved around, wicker furniture is great for both indoor and outdoor use.
Durable: When properly cared, cane and treated rattan furniture can last up to three decades. You can wipe it down with a dry towel, since the cane repels liquid or moisture.
Eco-Friendly: Rattan is the second-fastest-growing material (after willow), regenerating within 5 to 7 years. A highly renewable material for furniture production!
rattan dining room chairs

Disadvantages of Rattan and Cane Furniture

Pricey: As rattan cane furniture surged in popularity and processing the raw materials does not come cheap, the price tag for wicker furniture is usually high.
Less Comfortable: Unlike cushy accent chairs or plushy couches, rattan cane furniture is usually hard and less comfortable. So it's better to upholster your modern cane chair for upgraded comfort.
Loosens Over Time: Unfortunately, the weaving of rattan cane furniture can loosen as time goes by. Replace it with a new one or send it to a professional for help.

How to Clean and Care Rattan Cane Furniture

How long does rattan furniture last? You might ask. It depends on how much you care about it. Now that you've known the difference between wicker, rattan and cane, and their pros and cons, it's time to learn how to care for them. A damp cloth or towel is enough to wipe dust and grime off, making your rattan cane furniture look good. And for deeper cleaning, try a wood soap or a mild detergent in warm water, and even use a super soft-bristled paintbrush to get into any nooks and crannies.

In addition to dusting your wick rattan cane chairs regularly, it's highly recommended to keep your them out of rain and direct sunlight outdoors. Having your cane chairs sitting in the rain will eventually lead to mildew, while the exposure to sizzling sunlight will gradually cause them to discolor and crack. Save your cane chairs for indoors, and use resin or synthetic wicker chairs for outdoors. Believe us! Treat them right from the beginning, and you should be able to pass them down to your future generations!

Rattan Cane Chairs Recommendations

We hope this post has helped you clear up any confusion you may have about wicker vs rattan vs cane! If you love the cane aesthetic and would like to add a natural vibe to your home, pick one item from our wicker chair collection. And leave us a comment if you like to share something about your rattan or cane pieces at home!

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