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The moment good weather arrives, everything feels better. Vino in hand, we just parade up and down the garden, making mental notes of the things we'd like to do and never end up doing (I have lots of these lists, don't you?). Garden furniture and decor is of course a priority, especially because I know for a fact, this year I will spend more time in the garden than ever.

Currently knee deep in mud (and not metaphorically), I am keeping busy stripping our deck of old paint before I will sand it down in the the areas I know we end up walking on (no one likes splinters on their feet, do they). It's not a pointless task what I am doing, and it is well overdue. Painting the deck year after year without adding any oil to help preserve it means that some of the plank ends are rotting away and no doubt will need to be replaced longer term.

In between jet washing and sanding benches and chairs, I think about the furniture that have recently been launched and will no doubt sell out before we reach May - they always do and you always end up waiting until August before new sets arrive.

So here are my top 20+ ideas for 2021 outdoors decor.

Rattan furniture is making a comeback

There is a slight confusion when using the terms "rattan" and "wicker" which we often see used to describe furniture that have a characteristic woven pattern. However, not all rattan furniture is wicker furniture. Rattan is simply the material that certain furniture (primarily outdoors ones) are made of, whereas wicker is the style of the weave.

Rattan can be found mostly in tropical climates in Asia, Africa and Australia. Its appearance is like a vine and when processed (the skin is removed to be used), it is a flexible material that is ideal for weaving. Wicker on the other hand is a weaving technique that is as old as the Pyramids and in fact this is where it originates from. Wicker rattan furniture are lightweight, durable, stylish and - depending on who makes it, can also be affordable.

Rattan, I think, will be the bigger winner of outdoors furniture this year. Although your local garden certain may surprise you with their offering (as will Facebook marketplace where you can source vintage pieces), the truth is that high quality rattan furniture costs a lot but last long. Low priced synthetic resin rattan furniture do not last as long and you definitely do not want to be sending an entire outdoors dining set to the tip. So invest once, in good quality pieces (usually larger and heavier tables and chairs).

Tip: Outdoors furniture should still be kept in a shed or garage over winter to avoid damages, especially around the base and legs.

Above and below: the Pacifica Dining Chair in Driftwood by Serena and Lily is classic wicker furniture with a twist and outdoor-friendly materials. All-weather resin, expertly woven for eye-catching texture, lends the look of woven rattan.

Above: Outdoors setting for 8 by Neptune (chair model: Caydon, £270 each). It’s made using a material that mimics natural willow and rattan, in natural tones that are easy to live with).


Shop the look

Above and below: Cox & Cox rattan furniture (UK)

Below: Bridgman Garden Furniture (UK)

Garden Accessories by OKA

Above and below: French Bistro looks by Serena & Lily

Below: Kensington High Back Lounge Armchair with Footstool from Bridgman

Should you invest in rattan furniture for your garden?

  • Rattan furniture have a timeless beauty and are definitely a material that can show true craft, irrespective if made with natural rattan or synthetic resin.

  • If you are buying one of the more expensive sets/pieces, try them out first! This is especially important with lounge and dining chairs. Do not just rely on imagery which can make furniture look larger than it might be.

  • Investing in more expensive dining sets will pay off in the long term. If you have a choice, choose aluminium over steel frame as aluminium can be left in the rain and not get rusty over time - it also has longer warranties.

  • Flat packed furniture does not last as well as pre-assembled ones. That is because bolts loosen up over time and require re-tightening.

  • If you live in a more wet environment, consider synthetic rattan instead of natural one, to make it last longer.

  • Ensure the glass on top of rattan tables is toughened, this will protect the rattan underneath more from the sun.

  • In the winter, protect your outdoor furniture by keeping them covered or ideally in a shed or garage.

  • If the rattan breaks in certain areas, this will not alter the overall look of your furniture, so I think that rattan is more forgiving than other outdoor material.

Whatever you choose to do, when purchasing a piece of furniture, you should never try to follow trends. This will only end up in costing you more money in the long term and it is not good for the environment. The last thing you want is cheaply made furniture sent to the tip.

Sources for quality rattan furniture



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