Rattan is currently undergoing something of a revival. It would be wrong to call it a trend because it’s more of a classic that fell out of favour and has now cycled its way back round again. It’s part of the current mania for all things Seventies which those of who you who remember it first time round will be fiercely resisting.
Although, like all these things it’s often better second time around. And actually I don’t think it’s like fashion in that if you wore it first time you shouldn’t do it again the second time. It’s not that I disagree with that as a principle, it’s just that with clothes it seems entirely logical that something you wore in your 20s might not be working quite so well in your 50s. Hence the desire to steer clear.
Now that may not be the case for everyone, and I would strongly defend your right to wear it all again now just like you did back then, but I also understand that, for me at least, those denim hotpants which looked great (but not as great as Kylie’s) when I was 21 aren’t going to work quite so well now I’m 51 (although they do on Kylie). Mostly now I’m just breathing a sigh of relief that I can wear clothes I can breathe in.
But it’s different with furniture.
Because, as I said in the book – your house doesn’t have fat days or hungover days, or days when it just wants to lie around on the sofa wearing elasticated waists and eating all the biscuits. Your house is probably wearing its extra 30 years reasonably well (bar a little tidying up of the windows and skirting boards) and it will be quite happy to welcome a rattan chair, an orange sofa and a giant cheese plant back through the door again.
The question is are you? And this is why we talk about a revival. This time round the material is slightly different – perhaps improved – faux rattan, which can live outside and is more hardwearing, is growing in popularity for reasons of practicality. And perhaps this time round you won’t be putting a dusty cheese plant next to it. It’s about taking an classic and styling it in a modern way.
So there is black rattan. Or using rattan as a dining room chair and not confining it to a conservatory (also out of fashion now that we all want frameless glass extensions). Or weaving the strands more closely together so that the chair looks more like a Victorian Lloyd Loom, or perhaps taking one of the original design classics and sitting it in a modern space so that it doesn’t look like you haven’t redecorated since 1976, but more that you hung onto a great piece of furniture and repurposed it through the decades so that it always looked modern and fresh.
So don’t dismiss something because you remember it from first time round. Instead, welcome it back and show it how to dress itself for the new century. I’m about to wallpaper my bedroom in Anaglypta and when I first raised the possibility of that coming back in 2014 there was horror – and I’m barely overstating it. But it’s going to be cool and modern and painted in a dark, very matt colour and you will see that it will look great.
So give rattan a break and have a look at these five chairs and see if you think any of them could work in your updated 21st century house with a bit of updated 21st century styling. Having said that I do also have a large faux cheese plant but it lives in the bathroom and my faux rattan chair lives in the kitchen. So maybe it’s also about not going to back to old partners but finding new ones and that’s probably also true of life.
And that’s enough philosophy for a Thursday morning. To find out details of these chairs click the links under the pictures. And if you’ve read this far and want a water cooler fact for work: Rattan is the material used – it’s a kind of vine related to the palm tree – while wicker is the method of weaving natural materials, such as bamboo, rush and willow, to create patterns and objects.