Inspiration of the Week: Rattan Furniture

Is it just me, or do you guys have a soft spot for rattan furniture, too? I love it! Perhaps it’s nostalgia: a hold-over from too many episodes of Golden Girls as a kid? Perhaps it’s a part of my Floridian past that just won’t quit!

golden girls tableau

Image via

The iconic Golden Girls sofa pictured above with the girls in tableau. Like many of you, there are certain aspects of the Golden Girls set that left an indelible mark on my design brain. I love Rue McClanahan/Blanche’s kaftan get-up there in the middle. Brilliant!

The word “rattan” refers to more than 600 species of palm in the tribe Calameae, native to Africa, Asia, and Australasia (in the entry according to Wikipedia.) Rattan has been a natural and largely sustainable resource for furniture and handicrafts for ages. For my taste, the most exciting examples in Western civilization appear from the 1940s through the present. Some highlights follow…

paul frankl style rattan sofa

Paul Frankl style rattan sofa for sale; image via

The look above completely fits the 1950s/60s “Tiki” craze that washed over popular adult culture. It was quite en vogue then to host a swingin’ island-themed party. Period memorabilia is still bought and sold today!

1950s Italian rattan furniture

Sold! 1950s Italian rattan furniture, image via

butterfly rattan chairs

Sold! Gorgeous McGuire butterfly rattan chairs. Image via

Below are a few rattan pieces we’ve recently outfitted for Spruce clients. Love the fabric choice in the first group! The frames were all a bit different. They are family pieces, some old and some new(er) were to be integrated. The client used one fabric to unify the disparate construction details between the three. Fabric used is Schumacher’s Zebra Palm Jute Print in color Java.

rattan chair with two cushions

rattan chair with one cushion

group of rattan furniture

This next one is a digression on the theme, though my mind lumps them together. Specifically this construction is not rattan but inspired by the look. It is a turned- or carved-wood frame in the style of bamboo or rattan. Pictured is a bamboo Chippendale chair frame painted with a high-gloss lacquer black, and covered with an outrageous, ultra-luxurious Tibetan long hair lamb hide. We took a picture so it would last longer! This piece is available for purchase at Mercury Design Studio on 2nd Street; go get it!

rattan chippendale chair with long hair lamb hide upholstery

This pic below is my own personal nod to the 1980s inspiration. I found this chair at Corner Collector’s Market down the block from Spruce for just $60!!!! Yaaay! If you haven’t been “picking” there, go soon. There’s always at least one or two things I can snag, be it furniture, lighting, or art. Too much fun!

rattan furniture

My little slice of Golden Girls heaven at home in Austin.

If you haven’t experienced the joy of rattan furniture, try it out! It is typically ultra-durable, cushion options are infinitely interchangeable, and it is a natural blend for tons of interiors. You’re gonna love it! Let us know if you need some cushions for those pieces that you may own. We can do it!