Wicker Buying Guide: What to look for when you buy onlineA room furnished with wicker can set a comforting, romantic mood. Enjoy the company of friends and family outdoors at an intimate wicker dining set, or in a cluster of deeply cushioned wicker couches, loveseats, or even a porch swing. We sell wicker furniture from the highest quality manufacturers on the market, and most of our wicker is designed for outdoor use, enduring through season after season of pleasure.
The biggest part of your decision to buy wicker will certainly involve matching the furniture to your patio, home or garden decor. However, investing in an outdoor wicker furniture set is more than a merely aesthetic decision. Knowing a little about the history of wicker, how it is made, and how it should be used and cared for will not only help you choose high quality furniture that is made strong to endure the tests of both time and weather, but will also teach you how to protect and maintain your investment in the future.
What is Wicker?
The word wicker means 'slender, flexible twigs or branches'. Wicker furniture is made from the careful interlacing, weaving, of these pliable canes, willow branches, reeds, synthetic materials, or even spiral twists of paper. The word 'rattan' is often used interchangeably with 'wicker', but actually describes the long tough stems of the rattan palm. The word 'rattan' is also used to describe wickerwork, the characteristic weaving of these stems to make furniture and baskets.
The weaving of rattan or wicker furniture is a traditional craft, related to basket-weaving, first popularized in America during the Victorian era, when concerns about upholstered furniture being unsanitary made the clean lines and smooth surfaces of wicker a more appealing alternative. The allure of wicker skipped a few generations, only to return in a much improved variety of styles.
Today wicker design incorporates function with fashion, transgressing your grandmother's fussy-looking designs, and replacing them with large furniture with comfortable cushions and a large range of colors for both the wicker frames and their upholstery. Colors like chocolate brown, alpine green, burnt reds and warm yellows have replaced the standard cottage white wicker color in many applications. The new styles of wicker appeal to both men and women with wide seats, plush cushions and sturdy, natural sleek and simple lines.
Contemporary wicker furniture styles are offered with a great variety of nature-inspired prints, including very popular tropical toiles and botanicals. The cottage garden party look of Grandma's chintz can be updated by adding striped throw pillows, or pillows and accents with other simplified, complementary patterns and colors. Using earth-toned colors, like olive, lime, sage, marigold, lemon, amber, and even a soothing sky blue helps expand your patio space and decor by including the palette of the outdoors.
Use a neutral color palette of taupes, grays, sand, terra cotta, and grass green to provide an even more outdoorsy feel. Green is a very versatile color, blending well with dark and warm toned wickers. Adding nature-inspired accent furniture in materials like stone or linens also helps to create hints of the outdoors inside.
Or, use splashes of vibrant colors to brighten up your patio or porch. Our wicker is also available with bright, fun colors and prints that add instant cheer to your outdoor decor.
Wicker works well with upholstery, polished wood, and wrought iron. Wherever you use it, wicker adjusts to the room and makes itself at home.
Outdoor wicker is made to be more durable than indoor wicker. Since reeds and canes can mildew or rot when left outside, natural materials such as these are protected with resin coatings or paints. Some outdoor wicker is made from strong paper fibers twisted around metal wire for strength. These cords are then coated and treated with paints and treatments that seal the fibers, thus ensuring their longevity. Wicker does age over time, but with proper precautions and by positioning your wicker in more sheltered areas like covered patios and gazebos, you can decrease the chance of wear.
Resin and plastic have now been perfected to look like reeds, cane and rattan, and can withstand bad weather conditions including rain and snow. The durability of these materials and the ease with which they can be cared for have allowed wicker furniture to earn a permanent spot outdoors. Bringing them in during the winter is still good for maintaining the quality of finishes and cleanliness; just hose them down in the spring to prepare them for a summer of use.