Can Rattan Furniture Be Left Outside?

The natural aesthetic and versatility of rattan furniture make it a sought-after option for gardens and patios. But before you invest in one and decide to leave it outside, it’s important to understand its durability and maintenance requirements.

Can rattan garden furniture withstand the unpredictable elements and remain in pristine condition? The answer is yes — but only if you know which type of rattan to go for! Read on as we uncover the truth behind the suitability of rattan furniture for outdoor use.

Understanding the Marvels of Rattan Furniture

Marbella 5 Seater Rattan Effect Sofa Set with Coffee Table
Marbella 5 Seater Rattan Effect Sofa Set with Coffee Table

Rattan refers to the material derived from the stems of certain climbing palm plants. It is a natural, flexible, and durable material with a distinct appearance. Its slender, vine-like stems are woven together to create furniture pieces.

Over the years, manufacturers have devised ways to add a modern touch to natural rattan. This results in the emergence of an exciting alternative: synthetic rattan. Combining an authentic appearance with durability, it has revolutionised the world of furniture.

The difference

Understanding their differences is crucial when considering whether to leave rattan furniture outside.

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  • Natural rattan: Harvested from specific palm species and retains its organic appearance. It boasts a warm, earthy tone and exhibits natural variations in colour and texture.
  • Synthetic rattan: A man-made alternative that mimics the look and feel of the natural one. It is typically made from high-density polyethene (HDPE) or polypropylene (PP). Moreover, it is more resistant to weather conditions.

When it comes to durability, natural rattan is less resistant to the elements. It may also require more care and protection when exposed to outdoor conditions. Synthetic rattan, in contrast, is engineered to withstand elements. It tends to be more resistant to fading, cracking, and other weather-related damage.

As for maintenance, the former may need periodic oiling or sealing. Otherwise, it may not be able to maintain its condition for long and may dry or crack over time. But the case is different for the latter as it requires minimal maintenance. Plus, it’s easy to clean with a damp cloth or mild soap and water.

In terms of appearance, natural rattan provides a more organic and authentic look. It is known for its unique texture and natural colour variations. Meanwhile, synthetic rattan can be manufactured in various colours and finishes too. Not to mention that it is designed to look like a natural rattan – and thus, offering a wider range of design options.

Factors to Consider

4 Piece Rope Wicker Sofa Set in Grey & Brown
4 Piece Rope Wicker Sofa Set in Grey & Brown

Proper maintenance is essential to ensure the longevity and aesthetics of rattan furniture. This is especially true when it is left outside. Neglecting care can result in premature wear and damage. Here’s why TLC matters:

  • Longevity: Regular maintenance helps extend the lifespan of rattan furniture. This allows you to enjoy it for many years.
  • Appearance: Proper care preserves the natural beauty of rattan. This prevents fading, discolouration, or brittleness over time.
  • Functionality: Maintaining rattan furniture ensures that it remains structurally sound. This ensures comfortable seating and support.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Taking care of rattan furniture reduces the need for replacements or repairs. This helps you save money in the long run.

Tips for protecting rattan furniture when left outside

While rattan furniture is suitable for outdoor use. But it’s important to protect it from extreme weather conditions and other risks. Consider the following tips:

  • Use furniture covers: Invest in high-quality, waterproof covers specifically designed for rattan furniture. These covers provide an extra layer of protection against rain, snow, or sunlight. Ideal for use when the outdoor pieces aren’t in use.
  • Store during extreme weather: If possible, store the furniture indoors. Extreme weather conditions include heavy storms, strong winds, or harsh winters. This will help prevent damage caused by excessive moisture or temperature fluctuations.
  • Elevate the furniture: Is the furniture placed directly on the ground? If so, use furniture pads or place them on a raised surface to prevent moisture absorption from the ground.

Extending the Lifespan

BillyOh Siena 8 Seater Rectangular Rattan Dining Set
BillyOh Siena 8 Seater Rectangular Rattan Dining Set

To maximise the lifespan of rattan garden furniture left outside, consider the following:

Apply protective coatings

Consider using protective coatings specifically designed for rattan furniture. These coatings can provide an extra layer of protection against UV rays, wear and tear, and more. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.

Use UV-resistant products

Look for UV-resistant cushions or fabrics for your rattan furniture. These are specially treated to withstand prolonged sun exposure without fading or deteriorating.

Regularly inspect for damage

Inspect your rattan furniture for any signs of damage, e.g. loose weaving or broken strands. Address minor issues as soon as possible to prevent them from worsening.

Repair and reinforce

If you notice any damage, consider repairing or reinforcing the affected areas. You may seek professional assistance to ensure proper repair and maintenance.

Keep away from sharp objects

Avoid placing sharp objects or heavy items directly on the rattan furniture. Doing so helps prevent scratching, indentations, or other damage.

Regular maintenance

Consider these tips for routine care:

  • Use a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove dust and debris from the rattan surface.
  • Dampen a soft cloth with water. Then, gently wipe down the rattan furniture to remove any surface stains or spills. Avoid using harsh chemicals that may damage the rattan material.
  • While rattan is resilient, prolonged exposure to excessive moisture can cause damage. Wipe off any excess water after rain or cleaning. Also, ensure the furniture is completely dry before covering or storing it.
  • Inspect your garden furniture regularly for signs of pests. Take necessary precautions, such as applying appropriate pest control measures, to prevent infestations.


So, can rattan furniture be left outside? This question requires careful consideration and understanding. Generally, yes, it can be left outside. But then again, it needs proactive measures to withstand the outdoor elements.

It’s true that it’s a popular choice for outdoor spaces due to its versatility and aesthetics. However, proper maintenance, care, and protection are essential for maximising its lifespan.

Regular cleaning, using protective coatings, and inspecting for damage are all crucial steps. Moreover, using furniture covers, storing, and avoiding prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.

In the end, the decision depends on your specific circumstances. Assess your climate, available maintenance resources, and preferences to make an informed decision.