Cane, Rattan, Wicker Conservatory Furniture – Whats the Difference?

Cane, Rattan, Wicker Conservatory Furniture - Whats the Difference?

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Cane, Rattan, Wicker Conservatory Furniture – Whats the Difference?

You’ll hear the terms “Cane”, “Rattan” and “Wicker” used interchangeably within the interior design industry, but let it be known that they are NOT the same thing; despite some of their similarities.

The defining difference between all 3 of these is that Cane and Rattan are materials (both formed from the rattan palm which we’ll get into later) and Wicker is a style of weave, which can be done using many different materials such as bamboo, willow, and reeds.

With that being said, just because these things all have their subtle differences does not mean that you have to choose only one of the styles and stick with it.

If you’re looking for some brand new conservatory furniture, you could happily cohabit space with these styles along with soft fabrics like velvet and linen to help complement the look; along with colorful plants to further emphasize the natural outdoorsy look.

If you’re still confused as to the difference between Cane, Rattan and Wicker then we suggest you should keep on reading so we can clear it all up for you!

If you just want to jump straight in and buy some new furniture you can see a fantastic range of conservatory furniture in our conservatory furniture shop.

What is Rattan?

Rattan is vine-like species that grows in tropical forests all across the world in such places as Africa, Australia, and even Asia.

Once the skin has fully been peeled away it presents a flexible yet sturdy material that is perfect to be used in weaving different kinds of shapes.

The exterior of the rattan plant is used to create other furniture and is known as Cane, which is a material we’ll get into a little bit later.

There are just over 600 species of Rattan and because of its strong and fibrous quality, it is a popular choice of material used when creating an outdoor garden and conservatory furniture.

And because it offers a natural look to your interior or exterior.

If you’re looking for Rattan furniture, make sure you know if it’s truly rattan or if it’s a close, more eco-friendly alternative to this flexible material.

The reason we say this is because some manufacturers are now opting to substitute typical rattan material with an eco-friendly alternative.

Currently, the plants themselves are being cut down faster than they can be replaced, simply because of the way they are farmed and harvested.

This alternative allows manufacturers to get a rattan marital which is much more affordable.

Rattan Conservatory Furniture

Rattan furniture offers a timeless aesthetic design that can be added straight to your garden or conservatories, it will truly adapt to any situation, regardless of the current style you have going on in space.

Since natural rattan uses the skin of the original plant, it means that the furniture is naturally resident against UV rays, frost, and rain, which makes it the perfect addition to a conservatory or garden area.

Although this does not make it completely waterproof, it can withstand water here and there, it is best to invest in some form of cover which can be used over the winter months and those rainy days you can’t get out into the garden.

As long as the rattan weave is tightly knit, you will get more than enough comfort when you invest in a set of tables and chairs for your conservatory.

What is Wicker?

Wicker, as mentioned in the intro, is the style of the weave that has been used for thousands upon thousands of years – it can be tracked by Ancient Egypt its that old, with items like wicker chests and boxes found in the tombs of ancient pharaohs.

Though it’s been around for thousands of years, it’s only most recently become popular in the modern area thanks to its organic and crafty look.

Wicker Conservatory Furniture

As we now know wicker furniture more so refers to a specific design technique than its features rather than materials it may have been made out of.

You can expect to find all types of wicker furniture created from materials such as bamboo, reed, and willow.

Although one thing wicker furniture does share from piece to piece is that they all offer a natural organic look to your conservatory or outdoor area.

Meaning that you can combine this beautiful furniture with other natural-looking designs, like rattan or cane furniture.

What is Cane?

Cane, just like rattan, derives from the rattan plant, which is why it is so often associated with rattan and rattan furniture.

Although, the cane is the thinner material that is gained from stripping the rattan plants exterior down.

Again, just like we mentioned with Rattan furniture, manufacturers are looking to use eco-friendly alternatives because of how expensive cane is becoming due to the lack of rattan plants currently available to the industry.

Cane Conservatory Furniture

Mesh split cane is stretched over the parts of the framework typically on the backs and the seats of chairs to give it its sturdy character, the types of furniture you’re going to see with this style are high-backed chairs and ornately carved front stretchers.

It is usually used as a supporting material, rather than the main focus of an object or accent piece.

Cane, Rattan, Wicker – What’s the Difference?

Now that you understand what they are individually, as well as what you can expect from the type of furniture they may be a part of, let’s compare them side by side so we can fully understand the difference.


Let’s first start with wicker.

As we’ve established, Wicker is a technique used to design a piece of furniture, not a material itself, like Cane and Rattan.

For this reason, it’s pretty obvious to see the difference: it is not a material, it is a style of design.

The wicker design is featured in both rattan and cane furniture as this technique uses the materials in an optimal way so that manufacturers can create items that are sturdy and comfortable.

Cane Vs Rattan

Okay let’s get down to it, what is the difference between Cane and Rattan furniture?

Although it comes from the same plant, they have very different uses when it comes to furniture design.

Most of the time, Rattan is used in much larger reedlike furniture, such as large seating or lounge chairs which are perfectly suited to being outside or in a conservatory area.

Whereas Cane is used in thin, woven accent pieces, such as the backs of dining chairs or on the cabinet doors of a bedroom dresser.