Wicker furniture is extremely popular around the country. Many people like to put their wicker furniture outside on their porches. There is something incredibly charming about a porch with wicker furniture, especially in the warmer months. That said, wicker furniture indoor or outdoor, which is better?
Depending on the material, your wicker may require additional care to remain outdoors. Natural wicker is prone to wear in extreme conditions, so without treatment, it is better kept indoors without treatment. Synthetic wicker can last a little longer outdoors but still maintains a long-lasting life indoors.
We intend to answer this question in detail so that you may understand whether wicker furniture is best kept indoors or outdoors on your property. You may also gain a new appreciation for wicker furniture.
What Is Wicker?
While some people may mistakenly consider wicker a material, this isn’t completely true. Wicker is a style of weaving made from various materials. Also found in basketry, wicker is made of spokes, weavers, and vertical supports.
So what exactly is wicker furniture made out of then? Is wicker furniture made out of rattan? The truth is that people can make it from rattan, and often do, but people can also make it from bamboo, synthetic resins, and other materials. Depending on the thickness of the material, it often needs to be soaked in warm water before it can be weaved into a distinctive pattern.
You may find it surprising to know that wicker did not begin as a weaving design for furniture. It began as a design for weaving baskets. You can still find tons of intricate wicker baskets available in various patterns—these patterns spread to other items, such as furniture. The most common pattern is the over and under weave, but you can also find furniture consisting of caning or a combination of weaves.
History and linguistics aside, high-quality wicker furniture is among the most beautiful and comfortable furniture in the world.
What Is the Difference Between Wicker Furniture and Rattan Furniture?
Just as there are different types of wicker, things like rattan are commonly confused with wicker. Rattan is a material that is commonly mistaken for wicker and vice versa. Although there are certainly some visual similarities, these two are very distinct.
The first thing to clear up is the fact that, unlike rattan, wicker is a style rather than a material. Rattan, on the other hand, is a material typically harvested from palm trees.
Although people make most rattan from palm, there are hundreds of rattan species in use. You can find hundreds of varieties of rattan across Asia, Australia, and Africa. Most species of rattan have the same tendency to become brittle when exposed to an excess of heat or cold.
Owning Wicker Furniture
Owning wicker furniture is something to be proud of. When you care about the appearance of your home, it’s only natural to want tasteful furnishings. Wicker furniture has been popular for many years, and for a good reason—it’s gorgeous!
Attractive as it may be, there are some things that you should know about owning wicker furniture to keep it in pristine condition. One of the biggest and most important things to learn about wicker furniture is whether you should keep it inside or outside.
Is Wicker a Good Material for Outdoor Furniture?
So you want to know whether wicker is a good material for outdoor furniture? The answer to that question largely depends on what type of wicker furniture you are referring to. After all, not all wicker furniture is the same. You can find wicker furniture made from natural wicker or synthetic wicker.
There are some key differences between natural and synthetic wicker. While some people may be more inclined to purchase natural wicker because the name implies that it is more natural and subsequently more authentic, there are some disadvantages.
As you will discover, later on, people make wicker from other materials as well. The material that your wicker furniture uses determines whether you should keep it inside or outside.
But which is it? Should you keep your wicker inside or outside? What it boils down to is this: keeping wicker furniture outside can shorten its life, especially if you get natural wicker. Because it’s made from soft plant materials, such as rattan or bamboo, it can quickly become damaged when exposed to rain, humidity, cold, and the sun. Unless you treat it or use a synthetic model, wicker furniture is best kept inside—doubly so during inclement weather.
What Happens to Natural Wicker in the Heat
There are certain scenarios in which it would be best to keep your wicker furniture inside. For example, if your furniture is natural wicker, it’s best to protect it from the elements. That’s because natural wicker is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather-related damage when left outside.
Due to their susceptibility, it’s best to keep wicker furniture inside when not in use, especially if temperatures outside are extremely hot or cold. Unfortunately, this can present a disadvantage for anyone who wants natural wicker furniture but lives somewhere where such furniture might not thrive out of doors.
You may be tempted to try and treat your wicker with a spray to give it added protection, but even treated rattan fibers will quickly deteriorate in the sun and heat. The heat will make it brittle, liable to breaking and bleaching.
Bear in mind that this doesn’t mean you can’t ever put your wicker in the sun—just be sure it’s only out there for a few hours, and ensure that it doesn’t get wet (such as next to a pool). Otherwise, your expensive furniture may not last long at all.
What Happens to Natural Wicker Furniture in the Cold?
Just like heat, excessive cold temperatures can be harsh on natural wicker. In particular, it can lead to furniture made of it becoming brittle and more breakable. It may even cause mold and mildew to develop.
If you live somewhere that has a lot of rain, snow, or sleet, then your natural wicker furniture may also be vulnerable to mold. While a brittle and broken wicker chair is one thing, a brittle and moldy wicker chair is much worse. After all, who wants to sit on a mold-covered piece of outdoor furniture?
Though synthetic wicker furniture is much more dependable in cold weather, you may still need to be careful about what kind of cushions you put on it to prevent mold and damage. Often, synthetic versions of wicker will be called “all weather wicker,” so you know they’re safe to keep outdoors.
Keep Your Wicker Safe
Now that you know more about the differences in wicker furniture, it’s time to take an in-depth look at whether it’s best kept inside or outside. As you have discovered, natural wicker furniture can become brittle and break quite easily when left outside in extreme temperatures.
That said, would you be all that opposed to simply buying new wicker furniture to replace damaged pieces? You can ask yourself what is ultimately more important to you, the convenience and beauty of natural wicker furniture on your patio or durability and longevity?
For most people, however, it’s not worth going out and buying new outdoor furniture every few months just for the appeal of natural wicker. If natural wicker is very important to you, it’s best to keep it inside. At the very least, you can move your wicker indoors when it’s not in use or when the weather turns foul.
Synthetic wicker furniture might not look as magnificent as furnishings made from natural fibers, which is why some folks are much more passionate about natural wicker. However, despite its less luxurious looks, it’s sturdier and can stand up to the elements better.
Using synthetic materials means that you get furniture that looks like wicker without having to deal with any of its weaknesses. If you would rather be able to buy an outdoor furniture set that will last a long time and hold up in the elements, it might be better to go with synthetic wicker.
You will still have the beautiful weave pattern without any of the worries that come with natural wicker. There will also be no need to drag it in and out as the weather changes! Whether it’s by the poolside or on the patio, synthetic wicker is best equipped to hold up longer outdoors.
Best Places to Keep Wicker Furniture
There are all kinds of places around the home and office that you can enhance with wicker furniture. It all depends on the decor of your property and whether you have a porch or a patio. Wicker furniture looks fantastic on patios, porches, and even in the yard. Just remember that any pieces that you keep outside should be synthetic wicker.
If you use natural wicker furniture just to sit and admire your garden while cooking something on the grill, bringing your furniture back inside at the end of the day isn’t so bad.
On the other hand, if you like to break out natural wicker furniture for entertaining guests outside and on the patio, you might want to stick to synthetic wicker so you can save yourself the trouble of hauling it all back inside after each get-together.
For those of you that use natural wicker furniture outside, you may want to consider building a small storage shed. A storage shed is convenient because you can always keep your natural wicker furniture inside it rather than clutter up the house with it. Plus, a shed will likely be closer to where the furniture actually gets set up outside than your home is.
Creative Places for Wicker Furniture
Whether natural or synthetic, wicker furniture is something that you can show off and enjoy.
If you are looking for a place to put wicker furniture in your home or your yard, there are thankfully a bunch of creative ideas to help you out. For starters, you can add on to your home and build a sunroom where you can relax and unwind throughout the day.
Having a sunroom can add value to your property and makes for a perfect place to keep natural wicker furniture. Ideally, your sunroom would be situated near a patio where you can keep any synthetic or natural wicker furniture when the weather permits.
If a sunroom isn’t your thing, you could always opt for a gazebo. These are great for intimate gatherings and can easily house a small set of wicker furniture. There’s nothing quite like enjoying food fresh from the grill under a gazebo while watching the sun go down with your friends or family. Even in winter, a cup of hot chocolate in a chilly garden can be a magical way to end your day.
How to Care for Outdoor Wicker Furniture
If you do decide to keep your wicker furniture outside, you’ll likely have to take extra precautions to keep them clean and well-maintained. Unsurprisingly, wicker furniture is prone to gathering up dirt and debris, particularly if they stay out through the year—yes, even synthetic wicker needs a good cleaning now and again.
For those of you that store your wicker furniture indoors at the end of the season, you will need to keep a checklist of things to do when bringing the furniture inside to ensure its longevity.
First of all, you will need to remove the cushions, take them inside, and clean them thoroughly. You should store the cushions separately from the furniture itself unless you wish to use them on additional furniture inside through the rest of the year.
When cleaning the cushions, it’s important to make sure that they are completely dry before storing them. If the cushions are not dry by the time you put them away, they could end up growing mold, which would mean you would have to clean them all over again.
The next thing you should do is to clean the wicker furniture pieces with a wet cloth. It is best to clean wicker furniture with plain old water. However, you can add a bit of gentle detergent if your furnishings got particularly dirty or dusty.
Once you have finished cleaning the wicker, you should dry it off. Just like the cushions, you need to make sure that the wicker is completely dry or you run the risk of developing mold. Once the wicker is dry, you should apply a coat of lemon oil.
Applying a light coat of lemon oil to it will preserve your wicker furniture and protect its finish. Without lemon oil, wicker furniture can lose its finish over time. When wicker furniture loses its finish, it can lose the shine of its appearance.
By the time wicker furniture loses its finish beyond repair, as in when lemon oil cannot help anymore, you will have to purchase new furniture.
Another way to prolong the life of any wicker furniture you keep inside is to cover it with a thick and sturdy material. The material should be waterproof in case of accidents and should be thick enough to protect the furniture from the sun. You can prolong the lifespan of your wicker furniture by following these helpful tips on how to take care of it.
Indoor or Outdoor? Natural or Synthetic?
Ultimately, the question of whether wicker furniture is better indoors or outdoors will depend on the furniture being natural or synthetic.
Sure, natural wicker furniture is beautiful in its aesthetic, but it’s ill-suited to staying outdoors for long periods of time or being in extreme weather conditions. Natural materials should be kept indoors or have their time limited outside to ensure their lifespan.
On the other hand, synthetic wicker is durable and adaptable, but it is not considered as aesthetically pleasing as the natural version. Despite the fact that it doesn’t look quite the same, synthetic wicker is often superior because it can be left outside without worries.
To sum up: it’s wise to store synthetic wicker furniture on the patio or by the pool because it will hold up better outside and when wet. You can use natural wicker furniture in the sunroom or throughout the interior of your home. Although high-end synthetic wicker furniture looks stylish, it isn’t something most people would want to keep indoors.
It’s time to put your new knowledge of wicker furniture to use and start enjoying it! Get out there and pick out the wicker furniture that suits your taste. If you follow these tips and take care of it, a new set of wicker furniture can last for a long time.
Once you get started, you will probably find more places to put wicker furniture than you thought you had! Many people like to build collections of multiple sets for different seasons or occasions.
Go ahead and start exploring your options. There is a ton of beautiful wicker furniture out there, both natural and synthetic. Find something that matches your unique style and enjoy!