What is the best rattan garden furniture for Summer 2022?
With the days getting longer and the weather turning ever-so-slightly warmer, you may find yourself looking ahead to the summer months. What better way to revive your garden and take advantage of the clearer skies than by sprucing up your outdoor seating arrangements with the best rattan garden furniture on the market.
Rattan garden furniture is one of the most desirable and prevalent options in outdoor furnishings. Its classic appearance is both quintessential and modern, while its functionality also scores highly across the board.
There are many different ranges, materials, and styles of rattan garden furniture out there, all grouped together under the same umbrella term.
So, how do you know which rattan garden furniture is the best?
In this blog, we’ll explain more about what rattan garden furniture is, what it’s made of, and the different variations available. This will help you to find the best, most suitable rattan garden furniture for your outdoor space.
What is rattan garden furniture?
First things first, before going into the different options, let’s just for a moment start right at the beginning.
What is rattan garden furniture?
It is not the same as wicker, although the two are often confused or used interchangeably. From a purely aesthetic point of view, it’s not hard to see why.
Wicker and rattan look quite similar, but otherwise, they have many differences.
Rattan furniture is made from rattan vines that have been woven together. It has a solid core, making for a strong and sturdy structure. In addition, the material can be either natural or synthetic.
Wicker is not actually a material, it’s a technique. It could be made from any number of materials including straw, willow, and bamboo. For this reason, wicker is not necessarily guaranteed to be robust or durable. It depends largely on the material used for manufacturing.
Rattan is, therefore, a more reliable choice, and is certainly very popular when it comes to summer garden furniture.
Why is rattan garden furniture so popular?
It’s not just the clean and charming appearance of rattan garden furniture which makes it a popular choice.
One aspect which makes this an appealing garden furnishing is the comfort level. As mentioned, rattan is a rather firm material, meaning it is very supportive in terms of structure. This, combined with its thickly padded cushioning, makes for the perfect blend.
Rattan is a lightweight material, which is hugely important for outdoor furnishings. This makes the pieces easily moveable, to suit any layout reconfiguration or relocation that you may need to do.
Designed for the outdoors, rattan garden furniture is weather-resistant, UV protected, and durable.
Last but not least, rattan is eco-friendly, which is important to consider as an environmentally-conscious consumer.
What is rattan garden furniture made of?
Real rattan is traditionally made from natural abaca strands, which are incredibly beautiful, but also extremely delicate.
Natural rattan does not fare well when exposed to certain weather conditions. In some cases, the colour can be bleached by the sun. On the other hand, if soaked by rain, the water retained can lead to mould and mildew growth.
This makes it very unpractical for regular outdoor use, and won’t last as long as synthetic materials.
Nowadays, rattan furniture is most often made of materials such as synthetic polyethene rattan, known as ‘PE’. This has the same look and feel as natural rattan, but can be used outdoors with no concerns over the damage.
Therefore, man-made fibre is a much more sensible alternative. Manufacturers generally use polyethene to produce artificial rattan, so it’s made to be more long-lasting.
Remember that wicker is also a method of weaving - not a material! So, when you hear 'wicker furniture, that will not necessarily mean real rattan.
What is the difference between PE and PU rattan?
PE is not the only type of synthetic rattan available and used in garden furniture.
Polyurethane, known as ‘PU’, is another type of artificial polymer. Most often being cheaper and less durable, PU will generally only last between 1-and 3 years. And that’s if you’re being careful to take care of it.
PE, in contrast, is stronger, more durable, and does not require any maintenance efforts to keep it in top condition.
PE rattan, otherwise known as resin wicker or polyrattan, is manmade, not natural. However, this is far more suitable for the outdoors, as the material will not degrade as quickly as the natural alternatives. Still, it maintains the same luxury, flexibility, and appearance as real rattan.
Often made from recycled materials, PE rattan is also fully recyclable. This combined with its lasting durability means it is the more sustainable choice.
The furniture pieces will endure the unpredictable extremities of British weather for many years to come - saving you both money and excess waste.
For all of the above reasons, it’s pretty clear to see that PE is the top choice. PU may come with a lower price tag and be suitable for a short amount of time. But overall, PE is a far better investment.
What is the best type of rattan furniture?
Now that we’ve discussed what rattan furniture is and what it’s made of, we can delve into the different styles.
This will help to give you a better idea of the various types of rattan furniture available to purchase.
It’s important to bear in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all, ‘best’, most suitable type of rattan furniture. We each have our own set of preferences, budgets, garden space, and desired function to take into consideration. Still, this is not to say that there aren’t any top picks for you personally.
Let’s take a closer look at some individual examples of rattan garden furniture…
First up is the Santiago Deluxe Rattan Corner Dining Set with Rising Firepit table.
This is a large piece, perfect for socialising and dining with plenty of space for friends and family. This set is made up of a large corner sofa style rattan piece with two rattan benches and a table with a rising fire pit.
The corner dining set is versatile. It can be used for a social mealtime or the benches can instead function as footstools whilst you recline and relax.
The rising firepit is a key focal point, as it is retractable. You can get the fire going once the sun sets for some extra warmth and toasting marshmallows. Or if you like, you can even properly cook with it. Alternatively, you can leave it closed and take advantage of the full-sized ceramic glass top table.
The cushions are made from reflex foam for ultimate comfort, are showerproof and machine washable.
The set is UV resistant and aluminium powder coated meaning it will withstand any weather conditions and will not rust.
Despite its considerable size, the corner design means that it can fit comfortably into a designated pocket of your garden. This helps to make the most of your available garden space.
Best for: Entertaining several guests, firepit, luxury unit to fit into corner space
Next is the Santiago 6 Seat Rattan Oval Dining Set.
The purpose of this model is more specifically focused on dining, with a larger table and six individual chairs.
This size is ideal for small to medium-sized patios or gardens.
The chairs are beautifully structured and cushioned to allow for a supportive and comfortable seating option.
The table is generously sized, perfect for fitting several trays and plates of food and drinks.
Just like the rest of the Santiago range, this set is UV resistant with an all-weather aluminium frame.
Best for: Dining, smaller spaces, smaller groups (seats 6 maximum)
The Santiago 6 Seat Oval Rattan Firepit Dining Set is almost identical to the above, with one key difference. That being the firepit of course.
The 6 seater with firepit is a slightly more versatile and communal option.
The fire pit allows you to cook whilst entertaining friends. Or if used as a heat source, this means you can stay outside socialising long into nightfall.
In terms of size, this is again one of the smaller sets we do, making it ideal for small to medium garden spaces.
Best for: Dining, firepit, outdoor cooking, and socialising in a smaller space (seats 6 maximum)
Just like the Santiago 6 Seat Oval Rattan Firepit Dining Set, but with 8 seats instead, this set carries all the same advantages.
In this case, the Santiago 8 Seat Rattan Oval Firepit Dining Set may be a better fit for those with a larger space.
The firepit really gives you the best of both worlds as there is still plenty of table space for plates and drinks.
Plus, the firepit’s cooking plates and metal stand come included in the set.
Best for: Dining, firepit, outdoor cooking, and socialising in a larger space with larger groups (seats 8 maximum)
If you’re looking for furniture with a purely relaxational purpose, this may be the one for you.
The Santiago Rattan Sunlounger Set is made up of two sun loungers and a convenient side table finished with tempered glass.
The sun loungers have adjustable backrests with multi positions so you can play around until you find the perfect level of comfort.
Speaking of comfort, the Santiago cushions are made from cloud-like thick reflex foam. This will also retain its shape over time, which is a plus.
Size-wise, the sun loungers are very substantial, you’ll have no trouble using them to rest up.
Best for: lounging, smaller budget
The Santiago Square Rattan Corner Dining Set With Rising Table is perfect for smaller patios or gardens.
It combines a right-handed and left-handed sofa piece to create a really attractive casual dining set.
The rising table is a key feature, giving you the option to switch between an informal dining table and a coffee table within seconds.
Enjoy a meal with close friends or lower the table and use it for coffee or light snacks.
The small rattan benches can be used as footstools or for additional seating, so there is space for more people if needed.
Best for: Value for money, socialising in smaller groups, smaller spaces
The Santiago Rectangular Rattan Corner Dining Set With Rising Firepit Table is a large modular corner dining set.
It is ideal for friends and family to come together and enjoy a casual dining experience.
The middle section can be placed either on the left or right-hand side. Once again, the benches can be used as additional seating or footstools.
Therefore, if necessary, this large piece can comfortably fit several people.
The rising firepit comes with a glass surround, stainless steel firepit system, cooking plate and metal stand.
Best for: Larger groups, larger spaces, firepit, socialising, casual dining
Finally in the Santiago range is the Santiago Rattan Sofa Dining Set With Rising Firepit Table.
A hugely popular choice, this set is suitable for any patio, garden, or decking area.
It combines a large 3-seat sofa with two substantial armchairs and a storage box.
This is perfect for casual socialising and relaxing and the firepit once more gives another degree of versatility to the set. It also comes with a stainless steel firepit system, glass surround, cooking plate and metal stand.
Less formal than the individual seats of the other dining sets, this style of garden furniture gives a much more relaxed feel.
Best for: Any size space, firepit, casual dining, socialising
It’s important to note in addition that all sets mentioned above come with a free winter cover.
While the Santiago range furniture pieces can be left outside all year round, the covers provide superior protection from the elements. Cushions are shower-proof but should be stored in a dry location when not in use, to avoid water staining.
Where is the best place to buy rattan furniture?
Rattan furniture is practical for the outdoors, is comfortable, and is a very attractive addition to any garden.
For more options and details, feel free to visit our Harbour Lifestyle rattan page.
Here you’ll find an array of different styles at various price points.