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Five Fascinating Facts About Rattan

Posted on April 11 2022

Five Fascinating Facts About Rattan

Elegant yet sturdy, and with the ability to bring the outdoors in, rattan furniture has a distinctly unique style that beautifully complements Australian living.

Rattan also happens to have a proud history as a sustainable yet strong material which is used everywhere from basket weaving to construction and can even provide a food source.

With that in mind, let’s explore five fascinating facts about rattan.

It’s a climbing tree

The term rattan refers to about 600 species of climbing palms that are primarily found in southeast Asia, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Historically known as Malacca cane or Manila cane, it has been used for centuries for furniture making, handicrafts, basket weaving, housing materials and is also often the preferred material for reeds in essential oil diffusers.

How it’s used in furniture

Rattan is used in a variety of ways when it comes to manufacturing furniture.

Sections of rattan can be used as the wooded frame and panels, while the inner core can also be separated and woven into wicker.

Rattan readily accepts paints, can also be stained and is suited to both indoor and outdoor furniture due to its durability.

Flexible yet strong

A key property of rattan is that it is flexible, yet strong. Unlike bamboo, rattan can be bent, allowing it to be shaped into eye catching patterns and designs.

That allows rattan furniture to have a highly unique and distinguished look, with design qualities that cannot be achieved with other types of wood.


Fast growing, lightweight and with multiple uses, rattan is considered a sustainable alternative to other woods used in furniture.

As it is non seasonal, rattan can be harvested all year round, is quickly replenished and also helps prevents the over-foresting of other wood which takes longer to grow.

It is also easier to transport, and rattan leftover products can be used for building materials and even a food source.

In the interim, rattan production and harvesting provides a valued livelihood to many communities.

A lengthy history of furniture use

Although it has been used for building materials and handicrafts for centuries, rattan first became popular in the Victorian era.

The 1960s and 1970s saw a further rattan renaissance, with the era punctuated by everything from rattan screens and bedheads through to hanging chairs, lounges, tables and more.

Now, of course rattan is back, and is well suited to the laid-back lifestyle and ambience of Australia, where it can be found in outdoor furniture, indoor feature pieces, lighting, woven floor coverings and beyond.

It’s unique texture, lightweight nature and stunning look sees it add a warm ambience to any home.

You can view our stunning rattan range here.