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At Modish, we have a curated collection of products in home decor, furniture and lighting for your modern home. Our special focus on sustainability and environment has led to a large range of wicker, bamboo, rattan and cane furniture products that are stylish and chic. The Modish catalogue consists of high quality, exquisite, hand-crafted or artisan made items sourced from different countries in rustic, industrial, farmhouse and vintage styles. We sell reputed brands like Roost, Kalalou, Modway, HomArt, Zuo, GoHome, Vagabond, Gold Leaf, Zodax etc.

 

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FAQs in Wicker, Rattan and Bamboo Furniture

What is the difference between bamboo, wicker and rattan furniture?

There is a common misconception about bamboo, rattan and wicker - many people use these terms interchangeably. But they all mean different things.

  • Rattan and bamboo are two different types of materials that are used in furniture making. Rattan is from the palm family and is a vine-like plant that cannot stand on its own, but grows with support from other sources (usually around trees). Bamboo is a grass that grows independently and is much stouter than rattan. Both species grow very fast, often up to six metres per year! The Philippines is one of the main producers of rattan.
  • Bamboo is hollow, but rattan is not. Because bamboo is hollow, it is inflexible, as any bending would snap it. Although bamboo is very hard, rattan is more durable than it. When bamboo grows, it is uniform in thickness, irrespective of how tall the plant grows. Rattan being a vine, becomes thicker as it grows.
  • Since rattan is flexible, it can be woven into intricately designed furniture. Therefore an easy way to check if your furniture is rattan or bamboo - check if the canes are curved or bent and if so, the furniture is rattan. Bamboo, on the other hand being rigid is used in more simplistic designs as its stems must be arranged parallel to each other. Often, both rattan and bamboo are used in the same furniture, with the main body made from bamboo and bindings or patterns created using rattan. Typical examples of rattan furniture sets are - rattan outdoor furniture, rattan patio furniture, rattan indoor furniture, rattan bedroom furniture, rattan garden furniture, rattan living room furniture, rattan sunroom furniture etc.

Wicker: Furniture made from both natural materials like bamboo and rattan or synthetic fibres is often referred to as wicker. The term wicker does not have anything to do with the materials used to create furniture; rather it is the name given to the process of weaving different materials into patterns. Wicker furniture is made from weaving these materials around wooden or metal frames to produce chairs, tables, sofas, wicker patio furniture, wicker outdoor furniture, wicker furniture cushions, white wicker furniture, indoor wicker furniture etc.

Wicker furniture can be made from either natural or synthetic materials. Natural wicker is made from materials like Reed, Cane, Rattan, Seagrass, Bamboo, Willow etc. Synthetic wicker is made from materials like Resin, Vinyl etc.

What is the difference between wicker and rattan furniture?

Wicker and rattan are two terms that commonly are confused with each other, but they mean very different things.

Rattan is a material used to make woven furniture or decor, while wicker is a style of weaving that material into a finished product. Rattan describes the raw material for the product, while wicker refers to the weaving process that created the product. Rattan is a naturally growing vine that grows in places like Australia, Asia & Africa. During its production process, the skin of the vine is peeled away and utilized for weaving purposes as “rattan”. Often the core is not wasted, but finds use in other types of furniture. Rattan is used for furniture as it lightweight, durable, flexible, and decorative. While it is very popular, it doesn’t score high on sustainability, as the rattan stalks are cut prematurely and they don’t regrow. Hence sometimes synthetic materials are used in place of naturally occuring rattan.

Wicker can be made either of natural fibers or synthetic ones like resins. Wicker furniture is usually hand-woven, and it is high in quality and quite durable. Synthetic wicker materials look similar to natural rattan, but they are longer lasting. Natural rattan cannot be used outdoors while exposed to rain, but polyethylene based synthetic wickers (or outdoor wicker patio furniture) are great for outdoor because of their ability to withstand the elements of nature. Wicker furniture sets are very popular and come in a wide variety - be it wicker bedroom furniture, wicker furniture set, wicker porch furniture, resin wicker outdoor furniture, white wicker porch furniture, wicker lawn furniture etc.

What is the difference between bamboo wicker and rattan wicker furniture?

The term “wicker” is often confused with the material for making furniture products, whereas it is actually the process by which materials (e.g. wood, rattan, reed, willow, banana leaf, bamboo) are woven into furniture, baskets and decorative products. Wicker made from bamboo is called Bamboo Wicker, while that made from Rattan is called Rattan Wicker.

Bamboo Wicker: It is a product made by weaving bamboo material into a desired shape. Bamboo is hollow, but that doesn't make it a weak material. In fact, it is stronger than many hardwoods like oak, cherry, maple etc and cannot be bent. Being hollow, bamboo wicker products don’t usually use screws, but are wrapped (or tied) together together in place. Bamboo typically has prominent, distinctive rings on its surface, while rattan is smoother. Bamboo wicker is used extensively for home decor - from beautiful baskets and stylish furniture, to Christmas ornaments and decorations.

Rattan Wicker: Rattan is more widely used in wicker furniture than bamboo, though bamboo is aesthetically more appealing. Sometimes rattan products are made to look like bamboo rattan furniture.

What are the benefits or advantages of wicker furniture?

Wicker furniture is very popular for outdoor usage in porches, patios and balconies. Here are the advantages wicker has over other types of furniture -

Versatility: With hardwood furniture, it's not easy to move them around or change their orientation to suit a different mood. But wicker has no such problem - it's position can be changed in a jiffy to match your changing tastes and styles - from casual to elegant, or modern to traditional. Wicker is versatile because it can be adapted quickly to different decorating styles. Examples could be white wicker furniture set, white wicker patio furniture, black wicker outdoor furniture, white wicker outdoor furniture etc.

Flexibility: With other types of furniture, it's not easy to add an accessory or a new piece while maintaining consistency and uniformity. But wicker can fit seamlessly with almost all furniture styles - it comes in so many colours & designs, that you can easily match wicker furniture to the glass, wood or metal tables and chairs you already own.

Durability: Natural wicker needs more maintenance and cannot be used outdoors, but most modern ‘wicker’ furniture isn't made of natural fibres, but synthetic resins that are moulded to give a natural look. These are very easy to clean and maintain. They are very durable even outdoors, dry up real fast if wet, and getting stains off them is easy as well.

Affordability: Moulded resin wicker furniture is much cheaper than natural wicker furniture, or other types of furniture like hardwood or metallic. Inexpensive wicker patio furniture sets or wicker living room furniture are available as well.

What is bamboo furniture? What factors should one consider when buying furniture made on bamboo?

Bamboo is considered one of the world’s fastest growing plants. It actually is a kind of grass which matures in about 5 years. Bamboo plants reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the main contributor to global warming. When compared to an equivalent stand of trees, Bamboo releases 35% more oxygen, making it one of the best plants on earth for sequestering carbon. All these factors have led to bamboo becoming a popular environment friendly, renewable resource that is harvested from fully sustainable and rapidly regrowing forests.

An additional advantage of bamboo is that it is grown organically, without the use of pesticides, fertilizer, chemicals. Bamboo is harvested without usually killing the plant. The root system is left in the soil to regenerate again into a new tree in 5-6 years.

Given the above factors, bamboo has become an inexpensive and an eco-friendly choice for making sustainable & chic furniture. Various furniture products of bamboo are built and sold at bamboo furniture stores - table and chair sets, beds, cabinets, coffee tables, sideboards, tiles, partitions, dressers etc. You can have bamboo outdoor furniture, bamboo wall decor, bamboo bedroom furniture, bamboo patio furniture, bamboo living room furniture etc.

If you’re trying to buy bamboo furniture, here are some factors to consider -

  • Color: Furniture made from bamboo is usually available in two colors - natural bamboo & carbonized bamboo. Natural bamboo is typically the light maple color - that’s the natural color of bamboo if it is manufactured into furniture without any attempt to alter its natural appearance. Carbonized bamboo, on the other hand is the result of a steaming process that brings out a darker, amber shade in bamboo’s natural grains.
  • Composition: The smooth furniture look of bamboo furniture we see finally is achieved by cutting the bamboo stalk (because bamboo is a grass, not a tree, it doesn’t have a trunk but a stalk) into small, narrow sections and then gluing, tying or fusing those sections together.
  • Durability and Cost: Bamboo is actually quiet hard and its durability can be considered comparable with various hardwoods Because of this factor, bamboo isn’t cheap, but costs less than most furniture made from hardwoods like oak, maple, and cherry.
  • Eco Friendly Character: If you’re into an eco-friendly lifestyle, bamboo is simply the best choice. Bamboo is the greenest of all materials. Because it is actually a grass, it grows very fast and can be harvested much sooner than trees. It does not need to be replanted after each harvest, since it just regrows from the old roots. So bamboo plantations can continually harvest the same stand of bamboo every few years fore-ever without removing the parent plant (thats why bamboo cultivation is almost like mowing your lawn).

What are the advantages or benefits of bamboo furniture? Why has bamboo furniture become so popular?

Bamboo has become extremely popular because it is amongst the world’s most environment friendly resources to raise, harvest and use, thus promoting a sustainable and green lifestyle. Milled, sanded and finely finished bamboo furniture is comparable to hardwood furniture in terms of durability, beauty and aesthetic appeal. Many people love bamboo’s natural, tropical and beach-bum rustic look, which is a welcome departure from the woody, ornate look of other furniture styles.

Here are the key advantages of using bamboo furniture -

  • Durability: Bamboo furniture withstands everyday use and it is more resistant to damage than typical hardwoods. This is the reason why bamboo gets used for kitchen cutting boards - it takes the wear & tear of repeated knife use and still retains it form and beauty better than other woods.
  • Resistance to Swelling & Shrinking: Bamboo furniture is resistant to swelling or shrinking due to atmospheric changes. It can withstand changes from humid to dry air and variations in temperature.
  • Hardness & Strength: Something that may surprise you - Bamboo’s tensile strength is comparable to that of steel. It is for this reason bamboo fibers are used in composite materials to strengthen them. If bamboo is laminated, its strength gets enhanced, and this provides another layer of protection against wear and tear.
  • Large Choice: Bamboo home furniture is usually available in a wide variety of styles and finishes. Designers & decorators use bamboo home decor in innovative designs in all-bamboo or composite materials. ModishStore stocks and sells a wide range of bamboo chairs & tables, bamboo beds, bamboo bar stools etc.
  • Finishes: Bamboo furniture is fine grained and is available in various stains and finishes, to match your taste and style.

How durable is bamboo furniture? Is bamboo resistant to rot?

Bamboo furniture is very durable and it easily withstands everyday use and is more resistant to damage than typical hardwoods. Most bamboos undergo a treatment and curing process, which adds to their strength and hardness. Bamboo will not rot if kept indoors in a dry condition. If it gets wet, then it may start rotting in a few years.

Can bamboo furniture be used outdoors? Does it get wet?

Bamboo furniture should not be kept in the open outdoors - if that happens, it may get damaged by being exposed to moist and wet conditions. But bamboo furniture can be kept in a covered verandah, patio or balcony outside the line of direct exposure to the sun and rain. It is advisable to have a water-proof cover for spreading over it when lying unused in the verandah.

How durable is rattan furniture? Is rattan furniture waterproof and weatherproof?

Natural rattan is very strong, flexible and durable. While rattan furniture can be used outdoors in porches, patios, balconies etc, it should not be completely left out in the open, as this would wear it out and eventually disintegrate it. Long exposure to direct sunlight, rain, temperature changes or humidity affects rattan furniture, even if it has a coating of UV protecting sealer. If you use rattan outdoors, you should consider moving it inside during harsh weather and cover it with a protective sheet when not in use. Rattan will last much longer on a protected porch or indoors than if it’s used in the open outdoors.

But you can have synthetic rattan furniture also, which is far more suited for outdoors as it is weatherproof and waterproof. It’s also easy to clean and maintain which improves the longevity. Modern, synthetic rattan gets made from durable UV resistant and weatherproof resins (or plastics), which isn’t affected by sun, rain or high temperatures.

What is the difference between cane furniture and rattan furniture?

Rattan, a type of tropical palm tree that grows in SouthEast Asia, is a vine that grows around trees. Each vine has a solid core that is very strong. Rattan poles are strong enough to be used as furniture frames. They support weight loads for tables, chairs and sofas. Many rounded curves in furniture are created by heating and steaming rattan poles so that they bend. Upon cooling, the bent rattan pieces retain their curved shape. Usually the outer skin of the vine is left on rattan poles as they have an attractive marbleized look. Rattan is known to be one of the strongest woods available, thus making it an ideal material for making durable furniture. One of the uses of rattan is supplying the cane for certain styles of furniture.

Cane is a part of the rattan plant. It is produced by peeling off the skin of the rattan vine. This material then gets wrapped around solid hardwood, steel, or aluminum frames for furniture making. Cane is less porous, which allows it to repel spillage. Cane is pliable, which makes it suited for the production of chair seats or furniture facades.

Cane is often used in combination with rattan. While rattan is usually treated and painted, cane is left in its natural round state. Strength-wise, cane is usually stronger than rattan, thus it is used for binding purposes. Both cane and rattan are inexpensive wicker materials, and considerably cheaper than hardwood or plastic furniture. They are also lightweight, which allows then to be moved around easily. Sometimes cane is wound over rattan poles in creating natural looking woven furniture.

Buying Guide for Wicker, Rattan and Bamboo Furniture

Buying Guide for Bamboo Furniture

Here are some factors to know when shopping for bamboo furniture -

Green / Sustainable Theme: Bamboo’s popularity is closely linked to the growing trend towards green and sustainable lifestyles. Many people adopt sustainable products because they are concerned about the environment and want to play their small part in promoting it and advocating it further to friends and family. Hence this factor does play an important role in people’s preference for bamboo furniture.

Bamboo Furniture: Bamboo is used in a vast selection of furniture. You can easily find bamboo chairs, tables, bed frames, cabinets, kitchen cabinets, entertainment enters, bar stools, dressers etc.

Selecting bamboo type: While buying authentic bamboo furniture, make sure it is sustainable bamboo (bamboo grown and harvested naturally that remains sustainable) rather than any look alike. If the furniture includes bamboo veneers, you should ensure that the glue used is sturdy and nontoxic. If you’re looking for the greenest possible product, make sure the stains used to shade/colour the furniture are water based.

Indoor / Outdoors: Is your bamboo furniture meant for indoors, or it is likely to be used outdoors as well? This is an important consideration, since bamboo should ideally be kept away from direct rain or moisture. It’s not a good idea to use bamboo in the open outdoors, that’s exposed to the elements of nature. But you can use it in balconies, verandahs and patios - if that’s the likely scenario, make sure the bamboo you buy has a protective coating of polyurethane sealant to prolong its life.

Manufacturing Origin: Authentic bamboo is usually made by artisans from small villages, where their communities have been making it for generations. Hence check for the manufacturing origin of the product you are buying. It’s best to avoid mass produced, factory made bamboo products.

Care / Maintenance Factors: Bamboo furniture is sturdy and durable, but it requires cleaning, rubbing and occasional washing with mild soap solution. Bear this in mind while selecting bamboo items for your home. If you live in a dry, dusty place, its possible bamboo furniture will require more cleaning since the dirt may get lodged in the crevices & fissures.

Wicker Furniture Buying guide / Rattan Furniture Buying Guide

If you're buying wicker furniture or rattan furniture, here are a few factors to consider before making your purchase decision -

Natural vs Synthetic: The first decision to make is whether you want natural or synthetic wicker. Synthetic wicker works well outdoors, but natural rattan has a different feel and aura that synthetic can't give. Natural is best used indoors, and requires greater care and maintenance; on the other hand synthetic comes in greater choice of colors, designs etc. We suggest you go by your own tastes and preferences.

Wicker material & design factors: There are four key choices to make while shopping for wicker or rattan furniture:

  • Frame: Common materials for the furniture frame are aluminium, stainless steel etc. Aluminium is lightweight, does not rust, but it oxidizes over time without compromising the strength. Stainless steel frames are cheaper, but they will rust over time. Its advisable to have powder coating done over the frame - this protects the surface from chipping, rust or colour fading.
  • Weave Pattern: The common weave types possible are - flat, narrow round or half round. Flat rattan is the lightest weave, while narrow round rattan uses more material in the product assembly, resulting in a heavier product. Also you can choose from a wide range of colours and textures in weave to reflect your personal style and taste.
  • Cushioning: The foam for cushioning in wicker furniture can be either of two types: regular foam sponge, or layered foam (sandwich foam) that’s interlaced with synthetic fibres. Regular foam sponge is cheaper and best suited for occasional use furniture. Layered foam is stronger and tougher. Avoid cushioning made of low density foams, as they are not comfortable to sit upon, and don’t last long as well.
  • Fabric: Common fabric materials used are polyester, acrylic or Sunbrella. Polyester can be screen printed in a variety of bright colours, shades and patterns, but it fades in the sun and isn't weather resistant. Sunbrella is regarded as the best material in outdoor fabrics. It is water, fade, mould, mildew and stain resistant.

Furniture type - Large or Small? Indoor wicker furniture is generally of two types - person bearing ones, on which you'll sit, rest or sleep (examples are couches, sofas, chairs, benches, beds) & non person bearing furnitures (examples are desks, TV stands, sideboards, coffee tables, side tables). You'll have to decide if you want an all wicker arrangement, or want to mix and match with other solid wood furniture options.

Covers: It’s a good idea to shop for a cover for your wicker furniture set, specially if you get extreme weather in your city. It’s best to just move the wicker furniture into your garage or indoors when the weather goes bad, but if that’s not possible, make sure to buy a good quality cover or sheet for the wicker furniture. This will keep it dry, save it from moisture and dust, and generally prolong its life.

Care and Maintenance for Wicker, Rattan and Bamboo Furniture

Care and Maintenance for Bamboo Furniture

Here are some do’s & don’t to take care of your bamboo furniture -

  • For general cleaning, the bamboo furniture can be regularly dusted, with either a soft dusting cloth or a vacuum dusting attachment. Every few months, you can wash with a mild detergent and water solution to remove soil or surface dirt; you may need a small soft-bristled brush to clean between joints and in crevices. If using detergent, choose an organic or natural soap rather than harsh detergent, which can damage or discolor the bamboo’s natural sheen.
  • To maintain the bamboo’s luster & glow, you can rub it every few months with linseed oil. Very low humidity or dry weather can cause bamboo to crack, so for indoor furniture, applying a small amount of linseed oil can be helpful. Other than linseed oil, rubbing a thin coat of liquid wax into the bamboo can also help in retaining the shine and luster.
  • Bamboo has to be protected both from water exposure and excessive dryness. Water and moisture encourages rot and the growth of mold, which deteriorate the bamboo, while very dry air can strip it of natural oils and cause cracking. Wiping it weekly with a dampened cloth can prevent over drying and cracking, especially in cold weather when the heating system throws in warm, dry air continually into your home.
  • If you notice a stain or liquid spilled on your bamboo furniture, clean it immediately, else the stain may set and become permanent.
  • For whatever reason, if mold develops on your bamboo furniture, clean that area thoroughly with soapy water. Use a sponge or an old toothbrush to remove all signs of the mold from the surface. Dry the area completely to avoid recurrent fungus growth in future.
  • If bamboo gets cracked due to weather exposure or age, you can try to fix the damage by gently sanding the area with fine sandpaper. Then smooth paste wax over that spot to recondition the color and tone of the wood.
  • Although bamboo gets used outdoor (in verandahs or patios), it can't tolerate prolonged exposure to the elements or direct sunlight. If you use bamboo outdoors, keep it in a sheltered area or a covered patio. During the rainy season, consider moving the bamboo furniture inside, or store it away to avoid exposure to moisture.

Care and Maintenance of Wicker Furniture or Rattan Furniture

You can maintain the beauty and integrity of even antique wicker furniture for many years if you know how to properly take care of them. The inherent nature of wicker furnishings- that which is its woven nature makes wicker more prone to dirt and dust. Here are quick and easy steps on how you can guarantee their durability, flexibility, strength, and beauty for many years to come:

  • To avoid the accumulation of dust and allergens, it is best to dust and clean your wicker furniture regularly. Use a clear furniture polish to repel dirt and dust for days.
  • It is ideal to protect your wicker furniture through the application of lacquer. This should be made one a year or once every two years to ensure quality and to retain the strength of the materials.
  • For areas that are deeply soiled, the quick solution is to clean it with soap and water.
  • To avoid accidents, make sure to smooth out the edges and rough spots with sand paper.
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