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27 May 2022

Rattan vs Solid Wood: Which is Best for Outdoor Furniture?

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Dave Hut - Content Editor

If you’re craving some vitamin D after the wet winter months, it’s time to invest in some brand-new outdoor furniture. Alongside looking stylish (you’ll turn your neighbours green with envy), high-quality dining sets have plenty of practical features that make entertaining easy.

However, not all garden furniture is created equal. Before browsing, you should research the best weather-resistant materials that’ll stay fabulous come rain or shine. Rattan outdoor furniture and solid wood outdoor furniture are popular options, thanks to their durable qualities and contemporary designs.

Want a little more information? Keep reading as we share the pros and cons of each. We’ll also recommend a few stunning, showerproof products from our elegant Wentwood, Selwood and Rutland collections.

Rattan outdoor furniture: The pros

Surprisingly durable

When selecting outdoor furniture, you need something that can withstand unpredictable British summers. The material shouldn’t crack in the sun or warp in the rain. Ideally, it’ll require little to no maintenance so that you can spend more time topping up your tan.

Rattan outdoor furniture ticks all the boxes because it’s a surprisingly resilient material, designed to be left outside all year round. There are three types to choose from – PE, PU and PVC.

PU and PVC rattans are cheaper alternatives. While the price tag might seem attractive, the weaves are susceptible to brittleness over time. In contrast, PE rattan, also known as poly rattan, boasts superior weather and UV resistant qualities for unbeatable longevity.

And don’t forget about the frame! The very best rattan tables and chairs steer clear from rust-prone steels. Instead, they have powder-coated aluminium structures and tempered glass tabletops like this five-seater dining set from our Wentwood range.

Adjustable for every occasion

Our poly rattan tables and chairs are multi-functional to rise to every occasion, saving precious space while looking super sleek. This rectangle dining set from the Wentwood collection comes with a corner sofa, stool and pioneering table that can be adjusted to different heights. With a powder-coated aluminium frame and 5mm poly rattan weave, it’ll support the most gregarious dinner parties.

Or you could opt for a square dining set. The slightly smaller corner sofa gives way to two ottomans that are cosy enough to kick back on. Best of all, the chic, washed grey finish blends in with all surrounding colour schemes.

Easy to move

If you love switching things up and following the latest trends, then rattan outdoor furniture is the perfect solution. It’s lightweight and manoeuvrable (even for the laziest DIYers), meaning you can keep reimagining your outside space.

You don’t need a giant garden to accommodate rattan furniture either. This two-seater bistro set from the Rutland range is compact yet charming, including two comfortable chairs and a small side table. Need some more design inspiration for small gardens? Read our garden furniture ideas for small gardens blog.

Timeless aesthetics

Practicality aside, rattan is a timeless material that complements every setting. Introduce grey, natural, white or black rattans for a more modern feel. These neutral colours look sublime alongside sophisticated metallic accents and warming firepits. Want a touch more glitz? Decorate your seats with oversized throws and cushions in luxurious velvet fabrics.

For a laid-back look, stick to earthy, natural browns. The original colour and rustic woven texture will transform your space into a Burnett-inspired secret garden. Install hidden mirrors, fairy lights and vibrant plants to complete the theme.

Rattan outdoor furniture: The cons

Often more expensive

Understandably, rattan outdoor furniture is more expensive than run-of-the-mill products. Especially if it’s constructed from a weatherproof poly rattan designed to withstand the elements. Expert crafters painstakingly weave designs by hand to ensure the highest quality. Then, the material is treated with special lotions and potions to combat harsh wind and rain. 

The increased price tag reflects the care put into each masterpiece. While you might pay extra for the labour-intensive process, the gorgeous, finished piece is priceless.

Loose weaves

Skimping on quality often results in loose weaves that can unravel and break. We know shabby chic is all the rage, but stray, superglued strands are a step too far!

PE rattan outdoor furniture should last between five and seven years before it needs repairing. When looked after correctly, it can stay pristine for ten years or more.

Solid wood outdoor furniture: The pros

Seamlessly blends in

Solid wood outdoor furniture has a lived-in, traditional look while holding up against daily wear and tear. Stripped back pieces that retain their original grain add character to patio and decking areas. You could combine classic wooden frames with colourful accessories like table lamps, vases, and planters to create eye-catching focal points.

Solid wood garden tables and chairs are versatile enough for you to get experimental. Whatever you choose, the neutral tones will blend in with your garden for a captivating and cohesive feel.

Strong and resistant

Now, it’s time to answer your burning question: What is the best wood for outdoor furniture? As a rule, you should choose robust hardwoods, such as acacia, European oak and teak, which are naturally resistant to rot and extreme weather.

Acacia wood is the hardest and most water-resistant of all. That’s why it’s a firm favourite for heavy-use pieces. The dense surface can withstand the nastiest scratches and knocks, while the naturally antibacterial properties remove the stress from serving dinner.

Solid wood outdoor furniture: The cons

Needs regular maintenance

Solid wood outdoor furniture needs to be maintained regularly to look its best, especially in wet, humid and windy conditions. Clear varnishes, like lacquer and shellac, will protect the surface from scratches and stains. We also recommended using a thick, dew proof cover after use – tarpaulin sheets will do the trick. 

Some wood is less appropriate for outside use

We’ve already covered which wood is best for garden furniture, but it’s so important we’ll reiterate! Hardwoods are best, then commercially treated softwoods like tanalised pine. If you have softwood furniture, you can increase its lifespan by treating surface cuts with oil and sealant.

Revamp your garden with our high-quality outdoor furniture

Breathing new life into your garden is easy with our weatherproof, poly rattan garden furniture. Every collection combines practicality with timeless aesthetics for unique statement pieces that’ll last for many years to come.

Our rattan style garden furniture combines robust yet lightweight aluminium frames with high-quality weaves and showerproof fabrics to guarantee longevity. No matter the weather, they’ll retain their elegance and shape. What more could you want?

If you have any questions about our products, please contact us today. We’re always happy to answer your questions. Call 01989 763343 or email [email protected] – one of our friendly team members will get back to you shortly.

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Dave Hut
Content Editor

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