Decorate

15 ways to add rattan for a complete coastal refresh

Classically cool, rattan is more than a passing trend.
rattan-bedhead-guest-bedroom-blue-wallpaperPhotography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Heliconia

We think rattan burst onto the homewares scene about 10 years ago but the truth is, it was gracing home interiors before any of us were born. With a rich history that dates back thousands of years, it is the OG of sustainability, sourced from a climbing plant and endlessly versatile. The lightweight build of pieces shaped from rattan belies their strength and the relaxed aesthetic of the weave is evocative of travelling through the Orient of yesteryear, or sipping cocktails poolside in elegant hotels in Southeast Asia, or kicking back coastal style on a handwoven lounger while watching waves roll in.

While rattan has always had a natural appeal, particularly in coastal interiors, it lends itself to any aesthetic – from plantation style to French provincial, adding texture and warmth for that classic laid-back feel. Either as an accent piece or the neutral base to build from in any room, rattan is a robust and timeless way to style your home into a relaxed haven.

rattan kitchen cupboards

American oak cabinetry with rattan inlay by Loughlin Furniture helps to visually connect the kitchen with the adjacent living room. “I have rattan and basket weave everywhere,” says Mei. “My husband says I’m obsessed with baskets!”

What’s the difference between rattan and wicker?

It’s easy to confuse rattan and wicker, as they’re used interchangeably. While rattan refers to the plant, wicker is the weaving style. Rattan furniture is crafted from the core of the rattan plant, a climbing palm that naturally grows in tropical climates such as Asia, Africa, and Australia. And, much like bamboo, rattan is strong and lightweight.

On the other hand, wicker is the weaving style used for furniture and baskets, dating back to ancient Egyptian times. Natural or synthetic fibres can be used, with rattan being a popular choice for its durable and breathable qualities.

small laundry layout rattan folding doors
(Photography: Ess Creative)

Coastal styling with rattan

The coastal look is all about bringing the outdoors in, with natural materials and breezy fabrics replicating a windswept beachscape. Cool colour schemes pair beautifully with the warmth of rattan creating dimension against a white or grey backdrop, with an accent chair, a few wicker baskets, or a woven lampshade an effortless way to go coastal. But, as with everything it’s easy to go overboard.

While a room full of rattan can lend itself to a monochromatic look with complimentary pieces, mixing too many colours or textures can quickly make a room feel cluttered. Rattan works best as an eye-catching accent or seamlessly blended into a home alongside similarly warm furniture and fabrics.

For a touch of relaxed style, explore our top picks of rattan furniture and homewares.

Shop rattan furniture

1

‘Tahiti’ rattan mirror

$890, Highgate House

Made of rattan and fir wood, this delicately crafted mirror is the perfect way to brighten a room with a pristine glass plate against a warm maple stain finish.

Key features:

  • Rattan frame
  • Fir wood accents
  • 3.2cm bevel
Curved rattan sideboard.

02

‘Bodhi’ natural 3 door sideboard

$1699.99, Adairs

There’s nothing like a statement furniture piece to add interest into a space like this rattan sideboard, merging organic curves and rattan inlaid doors for a beachy, laid-back feel.

Key features:

  • Sand-free
  • Quick drying
  • 400gsm
Two round woven rattan trays.

03

‘Capri’ round rattan tray

from $39.95, Pillow Talk

This serving tray introduces a coastal touch to afternoon drinks or as decorative addition to tablescapes, featuring handwoven rattan to hold glassware and cutlery. Available in two generous sizes, it’s hard not to love these delightful rattan trays.

Key features:

  • Metal and rattan
  • 30cm or 45cm diameter tray
  • Handwoven
classic weave dining chair light colour

04

Classic weave dining chair, Light

$520, Highgate House

This timeless chair features classic white cushions and light rattan and has style and comfort in swathes. Sturdy timber legs support a blond rattan woven tub-style seat with armrests to settle in for leisurely dinner conversation.

Key features:

  • Handwoven natural rattan
  • Dimensions: 54 x 56 x H88cm
  • Sunbrella outdoor fabric seat
A circular rattan wall mirror.

05

Moonah round rattan wall mirror

$269.95, Myer

If you’re looking for a decorative wall piece, this mirror blends a snug rattan weave with tempered glass creating a coastal-centric focal point in any space.

Key features:

  • 90cm glass
  • Reinforced hooks for hanging
  • Rattan frame
A round woven rattan basket.

06

Loire round basket

$44.95 (usually $89.95), Freedom

Whether used as a laundry hamper or as a stylish storage solution, this basket has a rustic and versatile appeal with handwoven rattan and easy-carry handles.

Key features:

  • 35cm x 38cm
  • Handwoven rattan
  • Made in Indonesia

07

Seville rattan & bamboo tea cart

$349, Temple & Webster

Turn afternoon tea into a seaside soiree with this rattan bar cart offering ample shelf space to display drinkware or serve-up cocktails.

Key features:

  • Handmade
  • 100% rattan
  • Low-rise shelves
A curved rattan armchair.

08

‘Malawi’ rattan club chair

$599, Temple & Webster

This club chair fits beautifully into nautical and beachside homes blending both comfort and function with an intricate rattan weave on a simple rounded frame.

Key features:

  • White cedar and rattan
  • Handwoven
  • 7kg

09

‘Banana Palm’ (Design 2) artwork

$199, Hamptons Home

This captivating artwork takes inspiration from a collection of tropical palm tree drawings from the 1700s. The bamboo-style timber frame provides a sophisticated touch, making this artwork a must-have addition to coastal homes.

Key features:

  • Four-part art series
  • 53cm x 43.5cm
  • Bamboo-inspired frame

10

‘Alice’ scallop rattan pendant light

$199, Ivory & Deene

Like rattan, scalloped edges are an enduring trend so putting the two together is a given, with this rattan pendant light bringing a sense of whimsy to the coastal aesthetic, finished with an antique-style chain.

Key features:

  • Metal and rattan
  • Antique brass chain
  • Made by local artisans

11

Rattan daisy wall basket

$108.95, Olli Ella

This rattan wall piece is a fun alternative to shelving for handy storage around the home. Pop in a toy or book in the children’s bedroom, or collect keys and phones by the front door. It could even hold flowers or plants for a naturally elevated look.

Key features:

  • Natural materials
  • Dimensions: L40 x W15 x H40cm
  • Handwoven natural rattan over a metal base

12

Rattan log basket

$379, Alfresco Emporium

A rattan basket is classically coastal, and this log basket from Alfresco Emporium is no different, elegantly storing toys, blankets or wood within a rounded base.

Key features:

  • Hand-crafted
  • Rattan
  • Made in Thailand

13

‘Nevada’ rattan sideboard in Weathered Oak

$2290 (usually $3895), Coco Republic

The ‘Nevada’ sideboard is an eye-catching centrepiece, featuring rattan inlaid panels, an oak structure, and plenty of storage with an interior shelf keeping items neatly tucked away.

Key features:

  • Handwoven style
  • Oak and rattan
  • 52kg
Double layered white washed baskets with rattan handles set of 2

14

Double-layered white-washed baskets with rattan handles (set of 2)

$288 (now $192), Pomelo Home

Who says rattan can’t also be hard-working? This stylish and functional basket keeps washing, toys, shoes or books corralled anywhere in the home. The double-layer weave gives added strength and durability.

Key features:

  • Bamboo with rattan handle
  • Handmade in Vietnam
  • Sold as set of 2

15

Round rattan placemat in Dark Brown

$29.95, Wheel & Barrow

There’s a reason this placemat is a best-seller, beautifully adding a textured touch to tables through a rich round of handwoven rattan. Just add the matching coasters to the complete look!

Key features:

  • Rattan
  • 35cm circle
  • Handwoven

The main bedroom in a neutral palette with a wicker hanging lampshade.
(Photography: Louise Roche / Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Related stories