Outdoor wicker furniture has been used for decades because of the material’s unique qualities, affordable price and the ease of maintaining the pieces. This furniture not only looks good inside a home, it works well outside as patio and garden furniture. Wicker doesn’t require a lot of maintenance or upkeep, and furniture pieces can last for many years. This furniture is an affordable, easy to maintain option for patio and garden area.
There are two types of wicker furniture: natural and synthetic. Synthetic wicker furniture looks just like natural wicker furniture. Both are woven in the same way, but the material used in the construction of the furniture pieces is different. Likewise, the finish, durability and maintenance for natural and synthetic wicker differ.
Natural wicker is typically made from rattan, sea grass and willow, but rattan is the most common. Natural wicker is a flexible material, and is ideal for casual furniture because of its elasticity and durability. The rattan fiber can be stained or painted, although many consumers choose to leave the rattan natural and unfinished.
While the look and luster of rattan certainly makes it an ideal choice for outdoor furniture, natural wicker really is best suited for indoor use and covered spaces. That is because the wicker fibers tend to fade in direct sunlight and are not moisture-resistant. Leaving untreated natural wicker outdoors will result in its fading and more often than not, molding. That being said, companies now offer coatings to help make outdoor wicker furniture more weather resistant.
Synthetic outdoor wicker is actually made of resin or vinyl. Some companies call it “plastic wicker.” The resin or vinyl is made into thin strips, and is then woven over a furniture frame in the same way that natural wicker is woven. A benefit of synthetic outdoor wicker furniture is that companies often use pre-colored materials, making their furniture pieces resistant to fading and wear.
When deciding between natural or synthetic outdoor furniture, think about your climate. If your outdoor patio or garden area is prone to severe weather or direct sun, synthetic wicker will prove to be far easier to maintain than natural wicker. While natural wicker needs to be treated with wood oils, synthetic wicker pieces can simply be hosed down with water.
No matter whether you choose natural or synthetic wicker, it is important to know that like other furniture types, wicker comes in a range of styles and price points. From traditionally painted white, natural wicker pieces to sleek dark thinly woven synthetics, you may also make your decision based on your personal tastes.
Both natural and synthetic wicker furniture can be accented with cushions in many different colors and patterns. With the number of companies specializing in both types of wicker furniture, you are sure to find the perfect outdoor wicker furniture for your space.