There’s a reason rattan immediately evokes a faraway feel. It comes from more than 600 different species of climbing vines native to tropical regions including Indonesia, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and China.
Rattan furnishings have often been reserved for vacation homes or relegated to patio areas. But people are realizing their textural beauty is not limited to island life or for outdoor seating. The material lends warmth and depth and a singular sense of eclectic beauty anywhere in the home. “Rattan is a light-hearted, natural material that often adds sculptural interest to a space as it’s crafted to easily bend and curve and can be woven into a wide variety of shapes and patterns,” says Celerie Kemble, principal of Kemble Interiors in New York; Palm Beach, Fla.; and London.
“We’re seeing more homeowners bring rattan indoors,” she says. Whether used to craft furniture, lighting, or tabletop accessories, rattan provides warmth and lush texture. It can be incorporated into styles from traditional to contemporary, Kemble says.
“There is a reason we continue to see it even as styles and design preferences change over time,” says Carleton Varney, president of Dorothy Draper & Co. in Palm Beach, Fla. “It really is classic and, not to mention, very durable,” he says. The most important thing is finding quality pieces.
The material is beloved for its relaxed feel, says Phillip Thomas, founder and principal of Phillip Thomas Inc. in New York. “I’m always impressed with the artistry of how it can be woven into beautiful, sometimes sculptural pieces,” he says. “Rattan can be at home anywhere from a porch at a seaside retreat in California to a bedroom in a more formal New York City apartment.”
And it’s a kind of furnishing you can be proud to purchase. “When it’s harvested, it grows back very quickly,” says Mary Patton of Mary Patton Design in Houston. “This makes it eco-friendly—and you can feel good knowing your furniture does not contribute to deforestation,” she says.