No longer just for the garden, rattan furniture is gracing many-a-stylish home at the moment. It exudes a casual elegance; a golden, tanned hue that is both versatile and warm, fitting in with any interiors style (and not many types of furniture can lay claim to that!).
But rattan is no fleeting trend. Long ago, I fell in love with its glamorous history: from the all-wicker cocktail lounge aboard the Titanic, to style queen Marella Agnelli’s iconic Italian Villar Perosa, famously peppered with infinite wicker tables & chairs, to decorating doyenne Lee Radziwill filling her homes with wicker before immortalising the obsession & being buried in a wicker casket!
All I know, is that every room becomes instantly more refined with at least one piece of rattan in it. Here’s how I like to style mine.
Cosy up your (& the kid’s) bedroom. Rattan chairs and benches create a feel of comfort by adding a natural touch to any bedroom. The warm honey-tone pairs well with patterned textiles and - honestly- compliments any colour scheme cushions nearby. Look for a vintage wicker armchair for the corner of the room, a cane headboard, or try our scalloped Bunny bench at the end of your bed, draping a soft throw over the top.
Because it’s easy to clean and lightweight to rearrange, rattan furniture also lends itself well to a child’s bedroom or the playroom. In fact, my daughter’s bedroom has a rattan and bamboo bed, which she adores.
Mix up your seating at the dining table. Rattan dining chairs are an unexpected addition to the dining area, you don’t see many breakfast rooms featuring them at the table - and I personally love the look. Combine two or four rattan chairs with a bench or upholstered banquette at your dining nook, for a look that’s casual enough for the family yet super elegant for entertaining. This has the effect of opening up the space, making the atmosphere light, airy and welcoming- perfect for the upcoming Summer months of sunny morning coffees. And another styling bonus: rattan chairs go well with any tabletop colour scheme, so get creative and bright with your tablecloths and flowers!
Pretty-up your household storage: add a basket in every space. Wicker baskets can be used to store pretty much anything, and the consistent warm neutral colour dotted around rooms will bring a sense of uniformity and neatness to the overall look of the house. From toys and laundry to loo roll, spare blankets by the sofa, and houseplants, you can even use them as a wastepaper bin. My favourite use? Tidying up my husband’s keys, spare change and spare chargers that otherwise end up scattered over the kitchen island, into our Amandine fruit bowl. It’s his personal basket! Find a style of rattan container you like and pick it up in different sizes, you’ll love how satisfying it is to have one in every room.
Create a focal point in the living room, but remember it doesn’t need to be front-and-centre. Rattan is often the understated star of a room, creating a textural contrast to other pieces of furniture and painted walls, with its airy feel and shapely silhouettes. In the busiest room of the house, wicker brings a sense of calm and space, balancing out other materials and colours. Certainly for me, growing up surrounded by my great-granny’s (Marjorie Sharland herself), rattan furniture, I felt a sense of nostalgia and warmth from it. I was drawn to those pieces, and could feel glamorous stories of bygone parties drifting up from them. Opt for a wicker console table behind the sofa on which to add your books and twin lamps; try a side table by the armchair or a low, rattan coffee table.
Dip a toe into the trend, with rattan accessories. Rattan lampshades and sconces cast the most beautiful warm glow across a room. Try an oversized woven pendant (or two - I love them in pairs) over the kitchen island, and don’t forget to add yellow lightbulbs rather than white. This brings an air of warmth and softness to an often stark and modern space.
On the floor, layer a smaller vintage rug over a jute or sisal rug. I’ve done this before in our living room, kitchen and bedroom. It’s a beautiful look that frames the room, mixing print with the warmth of neutral tones. My top tip for sourcing your vintage rug without breaking the bank? On Etsy or eBay, I search terms like ‘flatweave Oukshak vintage rug’, for charming faded rugs and runners. Favourite a few first and the sellers will often message with additional discounts and free shipping!