Natural and Synthetic Rattan FurnitureBy Jessica Whittaker
Have you sometimes wished that your furniture was a little more flexible and resilient? Maybe you’re looking for something sturdy, yet natural-looking for your outdoor patio or garden. Or perhaps you’d like to redecorate your house in an Eastern motif. Whatever your reason, rattan furniture could be a great addition to your home.
Rattan is a popular material for furniture. That’s because it’s easy to weave and shape into various styles. It’s also a very versatile material. It can be used to create wicker, or stained and painted like regular wood furniture. It’s easy to achieve rounded lines with rattan that would require lots of cutting and sanding with other woods.
Rattan furniture is both sturdy and flexible. It is often found on enclosed porches where they can provide a breezy atmosphere without direct exposure to the elements. Synthetic rattan is even sturdier and will stand up to sunlight and rain. Some naturalists like rattan because it blends in with nature. Since the material is able to be painted it is available in many shades and hues. White synthetic rattan furniture is wonderful for outdoor entertaining in the summer. Dark rattan is more somber, but looks especially fetching next to spicy red, gold, and orange Indian fabrics. Natural rattan can be paired with green accents or floral patterns to bring the look of the outdoors inside.
All types of rattan chairs can be kept in tip top shape with routine cleaning. To clean the rattan without soaking it, whip up some suds using a little dish detergent and water. Skim off the bubbles and rub them over the rattan using a clean cloth. This provides quick routine cleaning without getting the furniture wet. Wipe with a soft, dry cloth, or allow to air dry. You can repeat this cleaning every two to four weeks as needed to maintain the furniture.
Boiled linseed oil and lemon oil work wonders as moisturizing agents. They can be gently rubbed into the rattan to prevent cracking and splitting. Rattan is naturally resistant to such damage, but dry climates and rough floors can cause problems. Keep your rattan furniture oiled for maximum protection.
If your rattan furniture has already suffered from splitting, a few easy steps will have it looking like new in just a day. When you first notice a split, apply some furniture glue to it. Then use tape to bind the pieces tight and hold them in place until the glue dries completely. This technique can also be used to repair rattan wrappings that have come loose.
If your rattan furniture starts to look dusty, use a soft feather duster to whisk away loose particles. A clean cloth can be used for general dusting. For stubborn dirt, use a soft toothbrush or small furniture brush to get into the crevices of the material.
Always store your natural rattan furniture indoors, or keep it covered with weather-proof vinyl if you need to store it outside. Synthetic rattan is durable and will withstand the weather more easily. With these care and cleaning tips, you’ll ensure that your rattan furniture – natural or synthetic – will be enjoyed for many years to come.
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