With a history spanning at least 5,000 years, you might expect the novelty of wicker furniture to have worn off by now. But to the contrary, modern wicker outdoor furniture is more stylish, comfortable and durable than at any point in its considerable past.
How is that wicker furniture has been so spectacularly successful -- by any measure -- for so long, and still continues to grow in desirability?
The Miracle of Modern Wicker
In the not-too-distant past, wicker outdoor furniture was at a crossroads. Though aesthetically appealing, wicker furniture wasn't exactly durable, quickly becoming sun-faded or cold-brittle, and subject to attack by all sorts of molds, mildews and creepy-crawlies. Though the advent of plastics solved many of these problems, early plastics weren't particularly attractive; nor were they renowned for producing comfortable seating surfaces. Wicker outdoor furniture could be comfy and elegant, or it could be hardy, but it was seldom both.
But times change. Where once wicker outdoor furniture could only be expected to last a few years at best without rigorous care, today's all-weather wicker patio furniture will last decades in any climate -- with all the rustic charm and cozy comfort of its predecessors.
All Natural -- Or Not?
Though largely responsible for making wicker a truly "all weather" option, many consumers remain concerned about the appearance of synthetic fibers. The truth is modern synthetic materials can be made to look and feel so natural that most people never notice the difference, even if looking close, as is demonstrated nicely in the Saddleback Collection or the Cabo Wicker Collection (click on an individual piece for close-ups of the weave). Of course, synthetic fibers can be made to look decidedly unnatural, for those going for a more offbeat look.
Natural fibers have come a long way too, thanks to advancements in varnish and resin coatings which inhibit wear, warping, cracking, and fading, as well as creating a strong barrier against water, insects and molds. However, natural fibers do require more upkeep than synthetic materials, thus making them less popular and increasingly hard to find.
A piece of furniture is only as strong as its frame. Even most natural weaves are equipped with metal frames these days. Aluminum is most common, being strong yet lightweight, not to mention rust-proof and immune to insects and elements.
Although extremely rare, it's still possible to find wooden frames in natural wicker pieces, but again this makes the piece both more cumbersome and prone to decay if used outdoors. When it comes to frames, the advantages of aluminum far outweigh those of wood.
Maintenance Free Furniture
Modern wicker outdoor furniture is virtually maintenance free, requiring little more than the occasional spray with a hose for cleaning. Dirt and spills are easily wiped off of both synthetic and treated natural materials.
One of the more distinct advantages of using synthetic fibers is that the color is embedded throughout the material, so color is retained even if the piece scratched or chipped. Likewise high-quality synthetic wicker has built-in UV protection to inhibit fading, adding years to its life.
Vintage Charm in a Modern World
Wicker has a unique appeal in any setting, be it a rural farm or an urban business complex. Its rustic refinement is rarely matched in the furniture world, indoors or out. With the variety of styles, sizes, shapes and colors available today, it's not difficult to find the perfect wicker piece for even the most discerning patio. If you're in the market for outdoor furniture, wicker is definitely worth a second look!
Other blog articles you might find interesting:
Loaded with important information about the different types of patio furniture materials and styles as well as great style tips from our team of designers, you'll find everything you'll need to help you create your own backyard escape. As an added bonus, we've also included a useful checklist that you can complete and take with you when you go shopping for patio furniture.