What is rattan? Discover the natural material cherished for centuries.

August 29, 2023

Natural Rattan

Source: KOUBOO

When you think of KOUBOO, your mind likely goes instantly to our natural rattan furniture and home décor. After all, we’re passionate about bringing this exotic, artistic and beautiful material into your home. Natural, sturdy and steeped in tradition, rattan furniture embodies a time-honored tradition and brings an organic touch to contemporary spaces.

But beyond our brand, the story of rattan is one that’s certainly worth telling. That’s why we’re unraveling a story that spans continents, artists and craftsmen – and why we’re still passionate about this endlessly intriguing material. 

Rattan Weaving

Source: KOUBOO

What is Rattan?

Rattan, often mistaken for a type of bamboo, is distinctively unique. Sourced mainly from the tropical jungles of Southeast Asia – particularly Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. With its vast rainforests, Indonesia is known as the world's largest supplier, contributing about 70% of the global market.

Rattan is a vine that possesses an innate flexibility. This flexibility allows for intricate designs while preserving durability, making it a favorite amongst furniture artisans. With more than 600 species of rattan in the world, artisans can pick and choose for the most unique textures, hues and characters.

Rattan Weaving

Source: KOUBOO

Rattan vs. Wicker vs. Bamboo (Hint: It's not the same thing)

You see the words thrown around on furniture websites and in design blogs, but what is the difference between these woven materials? Don’t be baffled by the buzz words! Here’s a simple breakdown of these materials:

  • Rattan: More than just a vine, rattan is a symphony of strength and suppleness. Mature vines can stretch up to hundreds of feet and these long, continuous fibers are often used in crafting diverse furnishings.
  • Bamboo: Unlike the pliable rattan, bamboo is a rigid, fast-growing grass. Known for its strong, straight form, bamboo is often employed in structural applications or where firmness is essential.
  • Wicker: The term ‘wicker’ speaks to craftsmanship rather than material. Wicker is not a material but a centuries-old technique of weaving, which brought the world the exquisite wicker furniture that's so often, albeit mistakenly, associated solely with rattan. While rattan is often used in wicker craftsmanship, the term “wicker” does not refer strictly to rattan and may use other materials.

Fun Facts about Rattan

Pop these fascinating factoids into your back pocket for your next cocktail party or ad hoc furniture discussion:

  • Rattan is a sustainability champion of the world: With the ability to grow up to a few centimeters in a day, rattan's growth rate far surpasses that of hardwood trees.
  • It can take the heat: Unlike metal or certain plastics, rattan doesn't retain heat, making it cool and comfortable for seating and lounging.
  • Flexibility = durability: While innately flexible, rattan’s tensile strength rivals that of steel (insert mind-blown emoji here), ensuring that well-crafted rattan furniture lasts for decades.
  • It’s got that neutral vibe: As a natural fiber, rattan’s organic gradient of browns and yellows seamlessly blends with most decor palettes, making it a favorite amongst interior designers.
  • It’s a positive impact: Rattan is one of those rare natural materials you can feel really good about. Harvesting rattan supports millions of livelihoods in several tropical nations. What’s more, it provides an alternative to logging in threatened rainforests, helping to preserve less sustainable resources.

Rattan Furniture Creation

Source: KOUBOO

Uses of Rattan

As one of the rainforests most versatile offerings, rattan is favorite for artisans and craftsmen across various disciplines:


From our iconic Peacock Chairs to minimalist lounges, rattan’s elasticity and strength have inspired countless furniture designs.

KOUBOO Peacock Chair
Source: KOUBOO


Intricately woven wall hangings, beautifully designed mirrors, decorative room dividers – not to mention placemats and other tableware – serve to showcase the adaptability and versatility of this material.

Rattan Tray Decor
Source: KOUBOO


The beauty and strength of a rattan basket is difficult to imitate. Whether it’s a laundry, storage or fruit basket, rattan’s weave ensures breathability and style.

Rattan Hamper Basket

Source: KOUBOO

Culinary Adventures

Beyond its structural use, the tender shoots of certain rattan species are culinary delicacies in parts of Southeast Asia.

Rumi Cooks Rattan Shoots


Tribal Heritage

For many indigenous communities, rattan is an integral part of life, used for constructing homes, creating tools and building a livelihood.

rattan harvesting
Source: KOUBOO

How Natural Rattan Can Enhance Your Interior

With its natural vibe and intriguing backstory, the transformative power of rattan in interior spaces can’t be denied. Natural rattan lends several design bonuses to your space:

  • Ambient Warmth: Rattan, with its natural hues, infuses warmth into interiors, making spaces feel more inviting.
  • Texture Play: The grain and weave of rattan introduce a tactile dimension, enhancing the depth of a room.
  • Space Illusion: Open-weave rattan items, especially furniture, lend an airy vibe that gives the illusion of space – making them perfect for compact urban settings. 
  • Organic Element: In modern decor themes, rattan acts as a bridge between outdoor and indoor spaces, especially when combined with indoor plants or wooden accents.

Rattan bedroom set
Source: KOUBOO

Kouboo's Artisan Touch: Crafting Furniture and Decor with Rattan

Peruse our website and you’ll see our love for rattan evident in every Kouboo creation. Our artisans craft products using a variety of methods, including:

Wicker weave: The signature look of many Kouboo pieces, this method interlaces rattan strips in intricate patterns. You’ll see this look throughout our furniture and home décor collections.

Cane weave: This tighter, more refined weave, is often seen in higher-end rattan furnishings, like our Bermuda Rattan Cane Lounge Chair.

Hapao technique: A beautiful spiral weave technique, Hapao hails from the Philippines and is evident in many of Kouboo's creations – particularly our placemats.

We recognize the versatility and beauty of natural rattan. That’s why our artisans create a wide range of products to make your home more beautiful and more functional:


 Rattan furniture in living room

Source: KOUBOO

From sleek dining chairs to elaborate daybeds, Kouboo’s rattan furniture showcases both quality and artistry. These aren't just pieces of furniture; they're heirlooms created with exquisite craftsmanship. Explore our entire collection here.

Rattan Light Fixtures

Rattan light fixture
Source: KOUBOO

Light fixtures become art pieces when crafted from rattan. The weave patterns, when illuminated, cast captivating shadows, making spaces come alive in the evenings. Dive into the world of Kouboo rattan pendant lighting here.

Woven Baskets

Rattan basket living room
Source: KOUBOO

The blend of tradition and functionality is nowhere as evident as in Kouboo’s rattan baskets. Whether it's for storage or purely decorative purposes, these baskets are a testimony to handcrafted perfection. Explore the collection here.

Decor and Accessories

Rattan tray with flowers

Source: KOUBOO

Beyond furniture and baskets, Kouboo offers a range of rattan decor items. From placemats that make dining a rustic experience to serving trays that are as functional as they are beautiful, each item exudes a distinctive charm. Find the perfect accessories here.

A Choice in Beauty and Sustainability

In a world rapidly (and rightfully) seeking more sustainable choices, rattan stands out as a beacon of hope. Not just an eco-friendly option, its beauty and durability make it an obvious choice for discerning interior enthusiasts. At Kouboo, we're proud to elevate this humble vine into pieces of art. Dive into our curated Rattan Furniture Collection and let nature's artistry adorn your spaces.