Each year when the first spell of warm weather arrives, a visit to the shed to bring out last summer’s patio furniture will unveil either a perfectly usable, albeit dusty, set of table and chairs or, if you’re unlucky, a rotten, rusty mess that will need replacing.
If you’re presented with the latter, rattan garden furniture sets are a stylish and long-lasting option that will save you money in the long run and keep you hosting year after year. However, with a range of materials and designs to choose from, it’s important to properly consider the type and style of rattan furniture best suited to your garden and your intended uses.
If you’re in the market for a new set of rattan garden furniture, The Recommended spoke to two home and garden stylists to get their advice on what you should look out for and avoid. In line with these recommendations, we’ve put together our list of the best rattan garden furniture to buy this spring.
Jump to the best rattan garden furniture:
- Best budget rattan furniture: Bigzzia 4 piece Patio Rattan furniture
- Best fold away furniture set: Dawsons Living Faux Rattan Bistro Set
- Best boxy rattan set: Abreo Mixed Grey Rattan Weave Sofa Set
- Best for comfort: Keter Corfu Outdoor 4 Seater Rattan Sofa Furniture Set
- Best for reading: WeCooper Teardrop Wicker Lounge Chair with Cushion
- Best minimalist set: Yaheetech Garden Furniture Set
- Best for reclining: TecTake Rattan Sun Lounger
- Best for hosting: Abreo Rattan Dining Set Furniture
- Best modular rattan set: EVRE Outdoor Rattan Garden Furniture Set
Our home and garden design experts
Peter Reader is an RHS award-winning garden designer who studied at the prestigious KLC School of Design. Peter started his career working as a full-time GP for 12 years, then spent ten years working as a medical director before changing career to follow his passion for horticulture and design. Peter believes “space has its own unique atmosphere”, and as the designer, it is his job to work with clients to deliver the garden they desire in a way that realises a space’s full potential.
Joanna Thornhill is an interior stylist, writer and author of The New Mindful Home (Laurence King Publishing), a book which explores how you can use interiors to “aid living with intention, slow living, and create supportive room layouts”. Joanna loves sharing tips for decorating authentically and mindfully on her Instagram page and website.
We put three questions to both of them to get their top tips for building a garden living space and find out everything you need to know when shopping for rattan garden furniture for your home.
How can you create a living space in your garden?
You should start by choosing the location of your furniture carefully, says Peter. “Think of when you want to be in the sun or shade and where the best garden views are,” he says. “Proximity to the house is useful as you will use the space more, but also consider seating spaces that will draw you out into the garden and give different views.”
Joanna agrees, adding that you should think about the design and layout of your garden living space just as you would for rooms inside your house. “Decide on a preferred style or colour palette,” she says, “then build it up from there, starting with larger pieces, such as furniture or a large rug, before layering in accessories and accents like cushions and lighting.”
The function of your space is also important to consider. “In a small alfresco area, would a laid-back sofa and coffee table suit your household better than a dining table set?” Joanna asks. “Or if you have a larger garden, could you create different ‘outdoor rooms’ to accommodate both dining and relaxing?”
If the characteristics of your garden permit it, you might want to consider plants or screens to create a feeling of privacy and intimacy, Peter adds, explaining that it can help to make garden living spaces feel more enticing. “Don’t forget the vertical axis as well. For instance, a pergola can make a space feel more comfortable. But don’t over-fill the space with furniture; allow space for people to move around and spread.”
What type of rattan garden furniture should you buy?
When it comes to buying rattan furniture, there are generally two materials to choose from. “If you are looking for outside furniture, then you need to be looking for artificial rattan, as it can be left outside all the time, including the winter,” says Peter. “You should also look for a sturdy build with a strong aluminium frame, which supports the weight but keeps the structure light in weight.”
Artificial rattan is typically made from two types of plastic. “PWC rattan is cheaper and less robust,” says Peter, “but it is not recyclable. PE rattan is also plastic, but lasts longer and is recyclable, so is by far the best buy.”
Alternatively, you can opt for natural rattan furniture, which Joanna says “undoubtedly holds the most visual charm, blends beautifully into an outdoor space, and offers an eco-friendly choice”. The downside of natural rattan, however, is that it is not very durable if left outside and exposed to the weather for long periods. “You should therefore consider how much maintenance you are prepared to put in,” says Joanna, “and whether you have space to store your furniture set indoors during the winter months or throughout inclement summer days”.
If you are short on space but set on natural rattan, you could always mix and match. “You could go with synthetic rattan for bulky furniture pieces, like sofas and dining tables, then use the real deal for smaller accents like a bench or footstool that you can easily take into the house when needs be,” says Joanna.
What should you avoid when shopping for rattan garden furniture?
Peter recommends steering clear of furniture that looks and feels flimsy. You should also consider the size of your garden. “When you buy your furniture, be sure how big your space is,” he says, “chairs in a large shop will look relatively smaller than in your garden, so it can be easy to buy too big if you are not sure of your measurements”.
As a designer, Peter prefers light rattan furniture as opposed to classic, box-type designs. “The problem that I have with this as a designer is that it takes up a huge amount of space on the patio, and also, it is very solid to look at. I therefore recommend styles that are lighter with arched legs, and spaces in the armrests. These can be just as comfortable, but you can see through them to the garden and leave more space on the patio.”
With all this expert insight in mind, we’ve put together our list of the best rattan garden furniture below.
The best rattan garden furniture
Best budget rattan furniture: Bigzzia 4 piece Patio Rattan furniture
Lightweight and versatile
This four-piece rattan furniture set is made from PE plastic, which our experts say will last longer than natural rattan when left outside, and unlike PWC plastic, can be recycled.
This furniture set includes two armchairs, one double seat sofa, a table, two armchair cushions and a double set sofa cushion. The table features a tempered safety glass top, while the legs and chairs are made from thick-braided, all-weather rattan, which is UV treated and fade resistant. The feet on this furniture set also come with anti-skidding rubber feet, designed to protect your patio from scuffs.
Best fold away furniture set: Dawsons Living Faux Rattan Bistro Set
A nice range of colours
Complete with two fold-away chairs and a tempered glass top table, this lightweight, faux rattan furniture set from Dawsons Living is perfect for enjoying a drink at the bottom of your garden.
Available in a choice of five colours – clay, copper, black, dark green, and chilli red – and available to buy as a sofa, single chair, and footstool, this furniture set would suit any garden style. With weather-resistant rattan and rust-resistant frames, it is designed to withstand wet summer weather if left outside occasionally. Its foldable design makes for easy storage during winter.
Best boxy rattan set: Abreo Mixed Grey Rattan Weave Sofa Set
This boxy rattan furniture set from Abreo is made from PE plastic and includes a double sofa, two chairs, coffee table, and an outdoor waterproof cover.
One of the main pieces of advice our experts gave is to steer clear of furniture that feels flimsy. This furniture set is made from high-grade PE woven rattan and comes in a boxy design, which should make for a sturdy feel. Our expert Peter says to measure your patio space when buying garden furniture such as this, as it can be easy to buy items that are too big.
Best for comfort: Keter Corfu Outdoor 4 Seater Rattan Sofa Furniture Set
Featuring ergonomic and cushioned chairs, this four-seater rattan furniture set from Keter is designed to promote comfort and relaxation for long periods.
According to our expert Peter, furniture sets such as this with spaces in the armrests will help to encourage a spacious feel on your patio and allow you to see through to the rest of your garden. This rattan furniture includes a two-seater sofa, two armchairs and a coffee table, and is available in a choice of two colours: graphite with grey, and graphite with cream/ mushroom.
Best for reading: WeCooper Teardrop Wicker Lounge Chair with Cushion
A relaxing space for one
Featuring a teardrop design, this floor-standing, PE rattan lounge chair is designed to provide a relaxing reading space indoors or outside.
The frame of this chair is constructed using high strength steel, and has a maximum capacity of 360lbs. The base of the chair features anti-skid pads and the cushion’s filling and outer fabric are both ignition and water-resistant.
Best minimalist set: Yaheetech Garden Furniture Set
Simple yet stylish
Made from high-quality, handmade PE wicker, this minimalist three piece rattan furniture set from Yaheetech is designed to maintain its colour and brightness over time.
Available to buy in a choice of two colours – beige and black – this furniture set features adjustable foot mats, which is great for uneven surfaces. It also comes with a small coffee table and soft cushion pads.
Best for reclining: TecTake Rattan Sun Lounger
Soak-up the sun in style
Made from PE rattan and aluminium, this rattan sun lounger is a great pick for sunbathing in your garden or relaxing by the (paddling) pool, year after year.
Our expert Peter recommends rattan furniture with an aluminium frame as it will support the weight of the rattan while keeping the structure of the furniture light in weight. This sun lounger from TecTake also has five adjustable backrest positions, soft cushioning and practical armrests, and is available in three colours: grey, black and black-brown.
Best for hosting: Abreo Rattan Dining Set Furniture
Great for garden parties
If you love hosting, this nine-seater corner rattan dining furniture set is great for having all the family around.
This set includes a nine-seater sofa, three stools, a dining table with tempered safety glass and an outdoor waterproof cover for wet weather. With removable and washable 7cm, thick density foam cushions, this rattan furniture set can be easily cleaned after a busy dinner party.
Best modular rattan set: EVRE Outdoor Rattan Garden Furniture Set
Lightweight and adjustable, this modular rattan furniture from Evre is a great all-in-one option, as it can be easily customised into a seating area, sofa or lounger.
This four-seater furniture set is made from PE plastic and includes one individual seat, two corner seats, a footstool, three seat and back cushions, and a coffee table with a tempered safety glass top. It also comes with adjustable floor protectors to accommodate an uneven patio, and the cushion covers can be easily removed for handwashing.
If you would like to read more expert-recommended round-ups, check out our Garden page, where you’ll find more recommendations, including the best outdoor dining sets, the best outdoor cushions, and the best outdoor rugs, with expert advice from home and garden designers.