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Rattan vs Cane Furniture: Which Should You Pick?

Castlery   |   Aug 28, 2022

Many assume that rattan and cane are one and the same material; granted it’s certainly an easy mistake to make. At a casual glance, both appear to come from the same material, usually in similar design styles with similar finishings and tones. Interestingly, while they come from the same plant, they are slightly different materials both harvested and used in different ways.

Rattan furniture is made by weaving and detailed shaping the plant stem itself, while cane furniture is made from the outer pliable skin of the plant. Still a little confused? Not to worry, our handy article will tell you all you need to know about whether to choose rattan or cane furniture for your home.

The differences between cane and rattan

Remember that while both materials come from the same plant, they are used in different ways and for different purposes. Generally, rattan is used in the construction of the entire piece of furniture. It can be a standalone accent piece such as the Mico Rattan Coffee Table, or to create a casual and resort-like room like the Mico Rattan Armchair. Being a natural material, rattan can be used in various room styles, including boho, retro, or coastal. Be mindful that rattan is porous, so it can get damaged if exposed to moisture or kept in humid conditions.

beige grey sectional sofa with rattan armchair and coffee table with storage Elevate your living room and bring in the vibes of a boho-chic resort with rattan curves from the Mico Rattan Coffee Table and Mico Rattan Armchair. Picture credit: @deysislife

Cane will be used more often in tandem with wooden-framed or metal-framed furniture. This use of mixed materials elevates the sophistication of the furniture and is often applied in chairs, upholstery, or storage. It’s great for adding a natural accent to a mid-century or traditional room. Some cane weaving patterns will feature negative space as well, which creates an airy and lightweight feel. Our current cane offerings include the Lucia Cane Sofa and Edith Cane Chair.

The advantages of using cane and rattan

Rattan and cane have many advantages over some other materials used in furniture design and make a great choice for your home. Being fully naturally grown and free of pesticides or fertilisers, rest assured you will not be bringing any chemicals into your home. In addition, because of their rapid growth they are CO2 neutral and an excellent source of sustainable material. These materials are also recyclable, which reduces their end of life impact. And because they grow under the canopy of trees, they are also doing their bit to protect the forests. So, choosing either cane or rattan is a good choice from a sustainability point of view.

white cane sofa loveseat in living room with white furniture @chalovescafe keeps the lounge clean and classy with the plush Lucia Cane Sofa taking centre stage in a contemporary white-themed living room.

Designs of cane and rattan

Previously, both cane and rattan were generally regarded as old fashioned furniture, used only in sunrooms and conservatories; but over the last decade, that has completely changed. Both cane and rattan have been rebranded to be used in a variety of design styles, ranging from mid-century furniture to modern and minimalist designs. Both materials are used to make all kinds of furniture in these varying styles too, including cabinets, sectional sofas and 2-seater sofas.

Cane and rattan can both work in a choice of design schemes in living rooms, dining rooms, and more. The natural curves and organic feel of both cane and rattan adds a natural touch to any space but can also be teamed with more modern materials and color schemes.

Indoor vs outdoor use

Both rattan and cane furniture are weather resistant and can be used outside, but it is always a good idea to cover furniture when not in use. Try and avoid extensive exposure to moisture for rattan as this can cause some warping, discoloration, and degradation over time. Cane is slightly more resilient but also needs to be treated carefully if used outside. Of course, it is also possible to get certain types of poly rattan that are specifically designed for outside use.

dining room with a marble dining table, patterned jute area rug and black cane boucle chairs The Edith Cane Chairs make the dining room (styled with the Ventura Jute Area Rug and Kesley Marble Dining Table) feel like a cafe with its cane backrest and boucle seat encased in a black frame.

Which is better: cane vs rattan

Both cane and rattan have a range of advantages for your home. They are both light, strong, and durable and can be used in a huge array of design styles and with other materials. So, the choice of cane and rattan really boils down to which suits your personal preference.

Is rattan stronger than cane?

As cane and rattan come from the same organic source, they share many of the same qualities. In general, cane tends to be a bit lighter, very pliable, and incredibly strong. However, despite paling in comparison to cane, rattan also offers a high degree of strength.

What is the difference between cane and rattan?

Although both cane and rattan come from the same plant, rattan is a long, solid-stemmed plant that is woven into the shape of the furniture. Cane is the outer skin of the rattan plant, which is trimmed down and used to make frameworks for furniture.