Buying Rattan Garden Furniture: Everything You Need to Know

Are you looking to buy a rattan garden furniture set? We know it can feel a little confusing, there’s lots of different styles, types and sizes available which makes it hard to know what the best option is to suit you. 

Well the good news is, we’re here to help! We’ve put together this guide covering everything you need to know about rattan garden furniture to help you pick out the perfect set for you. Of course, our friendly Duxburys team are on hand to help so if you need any further advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Choosing the Right Size

It may seem like an obvious one but the first consideration is how big or small you need your new rattan garden furniture set to be. This is largely impacted by the size of your garden space and how many people will be using the furniture on a regular basis. 

Before beginning your search for the right rattan furniture, we’d suggest measuring your space. Consider how much space you actually want your furniture to take up, remembering to leave plenty of room to move around and socialise. 

Once you’ve got your garden/patio measurements and have an idea of the layout you’re looking to achieve, you should know roughly how big you want your new rattan furniture to be. If you’re shopping online we would always recommend looking at the dimensions of the furniture sets rather than making a judgement based on the product images.

If space isn’t an issue with your garden, you could look at rattan sofa sets, corner sets, dining sets or fire pit sets depending on which style you prefer. If room allows, you could even look at hanging egg chairs or loungers to complement your new furniture set.

If you need a more compact option, a 2-Seater Bistro set could be perfect. There’s also some great compact corner sets available, like this one, or cube sets which are a great option for people looking to save on space. The options really are endless, which leads us onto our next point…

Choosing the Right Type of Furniture to Suit Your Needs

Once you’ve worked out the desired dimensions of your garden furniture and have a rough indication of the layout you’re looking to achieve, you need to consider what you want your garden furniture to be utilised for; is it to relax in the sun? Is it to dine with your family and friends? Or maybe it’s to have a quiet place to go to enjoy a glass of wine in the evening? Again, it may seem obvious but you want to get the most out of your furniture set, so think carefully about what you will use your new furniture set for the most.

If you’re looking for a sociable dining space, corner sofa sets, dining sets or firepit sets are all great options. However, if you want an area for enjoying a drink and lounging in the sun, hanging egg chairs, sofa sets or sun loungers might be the perfect choice for you.

Materials used and rattan quality 

This is where things start to get slightly more complicated. There are quite a few technical considerations relating to the materials and the quality of the rattan furniture that you need to think about in order to get the most out of your investment. We’ve summarised the main points here:

Steel vs aluminium

The material used in the manufacturing process massively impacts the overall price of the set. The frames of rattan garden furniture sets are typically made from either steel or aluminium. Steel is a heavy metal that can easily rust, whereas aluminium is a lightweight metal that doesn’t rust. So, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that rattan furniture sets with aluminium frames have a greater price attached to them. 

Most furniture sets with a steel base are powder coated in an attempt to delay the rusting, which does work for a time. However, over time rusting will occur which can result in visible rust dripping down your furniture. So, if you’re looking to invest in a quality rattan garden furniture set that will last for years to come, we recommend opting for a set that has an aluminium frame.

Recycled vs quality rattan

Next up, rattan quality. Often, rattan sets are made using recycled plastic, an exercise that cuts costs down massively. The result being that the rattan furniture set simply won’t stand the test of time and will start to break down and crack. As a general rule, if a garden furniture set only comes with a 1 year warranty, avoid it. Good quality rattan garden furniture should come with a minimum of 3 years warranty. 

There are a few different types of rattan materials, including PVC, PU and PE. PVC and PU synthetic are a cheaper option but aren’t as weatherproof. You would typically expect furniture sets made with this type of plastic to come with a 1 year warranty as standard.

PE synthetic rattan is the best quality, it’s fully weatherproof so it can be left outside all year round. Although it’s a more expensive option, it won’t crack or go brittle over time.

Weave style

There are a few different weave styles available to choose from and the decision you make here has a big impact on the product weight, durability and comfort, as well as the price you pay.

Flat weave is the most common weave style and is an incredibly popular option. It’s also the cheaper option compared to other weave styles. It’s lightweight, making it very easy to move around. 

Another option is half round weave, a popular choice due to the fact that it is incredibly comfortable and has a luxurious look and feel. Typically, this style of weave is available in more colours than flat weave, offering a bit more flexibility style wise. 

Rod weave is the most expensive style of rattan weave, it’s also the heaviest which makes it incredibly durable! It’s very luxurious and comfortable to sit on so it is another extremely popular choice. Most sets that feature rod weave come with a guarantee of up to 10 years.

There’s no right or wrong option when it comes to weave style. It is entirely your choice and should be decided based on desired comfort, durability and ultimately how much you want to spend on your new rattan furniture set.

Cushion fabric

Comfort is a really important factor for most people when choosing new garden furniture. The quality of the cushions plays a pretty big part in that! Typically, a thinner cushion that uses a cheaper fabric is going to cost you a lot less than a thick cushion that is made using a soft fabric. 

Good quality cushions should also feature a venting panel so that any moisture can easily escape. Remember to check this before buying any furniture online or ask the retailer if you’re shopping in-store.

Cushion filling

The cushion filling is what ultimately determines how comfortable it is. There are a couple of different options here, all of which vary massively in terms of comfort, longevity and price - so it’s really important that you consider the options!

The main filling types are foam, fibre or a combination of the two. The most expensive option is fillings that are made of foam and wrapped in fibre as these offer the benefits of both materials. The foam element provides the strength of the cushion and stops it from going flat over time, while the fibre adds comfort and the ‘plump’ look that expensive cushions have. However, one drawback of this cushion type is that foam fillings can fill with water and if they’re not properly dried out, can lead to mould developing.

Fibre filled cushions are a good option although the quality of them can vary. The lower grade fibres will generally go flat within a couple of years, but higher grades can last a lot longer. If you’re looking at a set with fibre filled cushions, we would suggest asking the retailer about the grade of fibre used.

The third option is cushions that are just foam filled, typically the cheapest option. While the lower price point is a selling factor to many people, the cushions can be uncomfortable so bear that in mind whilst making your decision.

Flat-packed or self-assembled

The next consideration is whether to go with a flat-packed option or a fully assembled set. It probably isn’t a surprise that flat-packed options are a lot cheaper primarily due to the fact that they cost a lot less to manufacture and ship. However, flat packed options have the tendency to rust around the steel bolts that are provided. This can result in furniture beginning to wobble and becoming unstable. 

While the initial upfront cost of pre-assembled furniture is more, the long-term value is a lot higher than it is with flat-packed options. 

Glass thickness

The final point we’ll cover is the thickness of the glass on your coffee tables or dining tables. This makes a huge difference to the rattan underneath it. The thicker the glass on the table the more protected your rattan is from the sun (when we do get it here in the UK!). Additionally, if any accidents were to occur, a thicker glass comes with a lower risk of smashing.

Closing thoughts…

To summarise, investing in a quality rattan garden furniture set is a big thing so you do need to make sure you consider all of these aspects to ensure that you get the most out of your set as possible for years to come. If you need any further help or advice, the Duxburys team are happy to help!