Things to consider when buying Rattan Furniture

When it comes to buying rattan garden furniture, either online or in a shop, the process can seem daunting and maybe even overwhelming. Who knew that there were so many options to choose from but what about all the other options that you cant see! In a minute we are going to take you on a quick ‘What to look for’ guide through buying rattan furniture.

Comfortable rattan garden furniture with grey pillows in beautiful backyard

Initially when you look to buy rattan furniture you might just think ‘What size table do I need?’ or ‘How many chairs can I get?’ or maybe just ‘What colour to choose?’. All of these are very credible questions and we have written some other articles here to hopefully help answers these initial questions.

But what about all of the other questions that you should ask, but don’t yet know to ask?? Here we will do our best to guide you through the process and hopefully not overwhelm you and put you off your purchase of outdoor rattan furniture.

So lets make a list of some of the other things we need to consider before going into detail on each.

  1. Product Sizes
  2. Framework materials and thickness
  3. Does it need assembly?
  4. Cushions included?
  5. Material of cushions?
  6. Glass Safety
  7. Product material
  8. Delivery options

You may look at this list and say that some of these really don’t matter to you, and its probably true, they don’t. But lets ensure you have as much information available to you to ensure you make the best informed decision on your next purchase of rattan furniture.

Overall product size

This doesn’t just mean, does the furniture fit in your garden. Hopefully, you already have all of the dimensions and have worked this out. But what about some of the other dimensions?

Top view of wooden terrace with comfortable wicker garden furniture

Have you checked the table height from floor to top? Not all outdoor dining tables are the same height so its worth double checking. Would you be able to get other chairs underneath should you need to, or is the table designed specifically for the accompanying chairs only?

For rattan dining chairs its worth checking the overall seat dimensions. Will they be comfortable to sit in? Are they quite narrow meaning you cant add extra cushions? How tall is that back? Will it support you and your family adequately throughout a meal?

For a rattan Sofa, what is the height from floor to seat? Are the sofas very low when sitting meaning you are not in a comfortable position? As with dining chairs – is the back high enough to be fully supported so you can sit back and relax fully? What are the height of the arm rests?

Your main aim for buying furniture is to be comfortable when using it. There are lots of different designs out there for both dining chairs and sofas so its worth knowing these dimensions. You could be spending a lot of time sitting on your outdoor furniture so make sure that it is comfortable from the start.

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Framework materials and sizes

Framework is something you will very rarely see or consider when buying your furniture, but again it is a key area to ensure that you buy a strong sturdy piece of furniture that will last.

Rattan furniture framework will be mostly made from 2 materials. Steel and aluminium. There are pros and cons to both. Steel frames are considerable cheaper to produce meaning that the overall cost of the furniture should be lower. However steel frames can become weaker when exposed to weather. Steel is a material that can rust. If your frame becomes work and damaged then any protectives paintwork could mean that water gets in ad slowly rusts the steel. This not only damaged the furniture but rusty water stains! Any furniture that is sat rusting over winter will probably cause stain damage to the surface it is sat on meaning you may need to replace your patio, aswell as your furniture!  Most steel framed furniture would have a lifespan expectancy of around 2 years.

The standard option that most manufactures now go for is a strong sturdy aluminium framework. When made from aluminium, there will be no rusting and no staining to your patio as the main positive! Although as always your furniture needs protecting during the winter especially, water and cold weather will not damage an aluminium framework. You will usually find that rattan furniture that has aluminium frames will come with a guarantee upto 10 years for peace of mind.

Be sure to confirm this with the shop when purchasing as again this could be a costly point to overlook when making your purchase.

Its also worth noting the size of any framework too. Look mainly at the legs and arms of any chairs and tables. Are they small and thin meaning that they could easily bend or get damaged. Or are they thick and sturdy meaning you would feel comfortable putting your whole weight of the arms of the chairs to stand up, or maybe even your friend or partner perching on the arm of the sofa while they talk to you.

Does it need assembling?

I have seen many comments and reviews on other websites where people have purchased large furniture items only from them to see them arrive in flat-pack box form. For most people, this isn’t a consideration, but it needs to be. When you browse around a website or go to your local garden center to try out the rattan furniture, most people will ask for delivery, but they never ask how it will be delivered. When the van turns up outside your house, the van door opens and you are presented with multiple boxes, all labeled up 1, 2 3, etc. hmmm not what you were expecting?

As with other areas of the product, how the product is assembled and delivered is a big key factor in the pricing. If someone needs to assemble the item prior to delivery, there will be a cost involved. If the van can only get your pre-assembled table and chairs order on for delivery then the cost will be far higher than if he could get 10 flat pack sets for 10 different customers.

All of this aside, there are also some other factors to note from this. If your furniture arrives pre assembled and without the option of flat pack, then it is very likely your furniture is welded together rather than bolted together. This will give you a much stronger piece of furniture that is likely to last longer and be more durable. If the furniture is assembled from flat pack, either pre delivery or by yourselves then the likely hood is that it will use steel bolts and washers for the assembly. As we mentioned above in the frame structure, these can rust and although they are unlikely to break, you may find some staining on your rattan furniture around the framework areas that hold the bolts. This can be very off putting and frustrating! The other downside to having your furniture bolted together is that it may come loose over time. Your chairs may wobble, or your table might become uneven as a leg moves position. The costs of a fully welded framework, although initially it might be higher, the long term benefits are greater.

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Have you asked if the cushions are included in the price?

This is always one that I enjoy asking when I look around shops myself. When you look at the pictures on a website, or when you wander around a shop and sit down in the chairs, you instantly feel yourself sink into the luxurious cushions and relax. Its only when you stand up and find out that those cushions that brought a lovely, relaxed smile to your face now cost an additional £200 for the full set! Ouch!

Don’t fall into this trap as if the cushions aren’t included in the price, then what other hidden extras are there lurking in the small print!

Thanksfully for all of our sets, we will include all of the cushions that you see in the pictures for the pirce that is shown so don’t be afraid of any hidden costs!

Its also worth noting the material that the cushions are made from. These cushions are part of your outdoor rattan garden furniture, the keyword there being outdoor! For most furniture, the standard will be waterproof material that is also washable. You should also look at any stitching that is visible. Try to ensure that this stitching is not normal cotton as this will eventually rot over time with the elements. The stitching should be a polyester style material that will be strong and durable throughout the different weathers.

Before we leave the subject of cushions, there is 1 valuable area that you should ALWAYS check for your furniture. ‘Is the material UV protected?’. Your rattan furniture is going to be outside all day potentially during the summer and the cushions are going to be in full view of the strong sun UV rays. It can be very frustrating when you buy some lovely furniture and then after a few months in the sun the cushions start to look a different colour where they have been exposed to the UV rays. Again this is something that very easily gets overlooked but is a very visible and important part of any outdoor furniture.

Have you considered Safety?

Parents and daughter sitting with their dog in the garden

Do you have young children or even pets that may run around the garden with pure excitement? If yes then safety should always be an extremely important consideration when buying your garden furniture.

When you purchase tables predominantly, they can have the option to come with a glass top. Here the alarm bells should be ringing. Some pieces of furniture come with very thin glass tops meaning that any impacts on them could cause them to smash easily. Ideally the thinker the glass, the less likely it will be of smashing should someone accidently fall on it or knock a table over.

As with all glass furniture, it should be approved tempered glass for extra safety. This increases the strength of the glass and will hopefully greatly reduce any chances of injury should anything happen.

Rattan Material

There are a few consideration to look over with regards to the material for the rattan itself. Although a lot of the pieces with look the same, they could be made from different materials giving different problems potentially.

We are not going to go into great details here as we have covered this in a lot more depth on another article. This will guide you through the differences in the material and should allow you to make a much more informed choice.

To cover this briefly, look for a rattan furniture set that is made from PE synthetic ratan as this will be the most hard wearing and weather resistant of all the available materials.

The last thing to consider before handing over your hard earned money is the delivery of the furniture. This again can be a very costly area depending on the retailer. For most people, delivery will be included in the price you pay to give reassurance. From some shops, who don’t have their own vehicles, or don’t usually ship items this could be something that get charged extra.

Most furniture, if already assembled (the ideal scenairio as we mentioned earlier) will need a sizable vehicle for delivery. This can work out very expensive, especially if your order is the only one that is going on the van! It may also be worth asking locally around where you live if anyone has a van and would be willing to help you collect the furniture rather than pay for a dedicated courier.  There are always people that are willing to help for a a small fee so shop around and see what works for you.


If you have made it this far down then give yourself a good pat on the back, that’s a lot of reading. But hopefully we have helped you get a better understanding of what we hope will be a purchase of some new rattan furniture. We have put together a small check list below to help you you’re your decision when you look around our products. As always, if there are any issues or questions then feel free to get in contact and we will do our best to help as quickly as possible!

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