Say the word "rattan," and few specific things probably come to mind; that is, bright colors, lots of plants, and plenty of sunshine. According to Mary Patton, designer and owner of Mary Patton Design, there's a reason for that. "Even though rattan is wood, it’s lightweight and light in color which can add a nice summery feeling to a variety of spaces." And that's all well and good — until, that is, you want to incorporate rattan into your home in the dead of winter without it feeling completely out of place. According to Patton and other design experts, though, decorating with this trending material in a non-summery way is easier than it seems.
Though if you're unfamiliar with the material, you might first want to know what it actually is. "Rattan is a type of material that is used in wicker weaves," explains Patton. "It is a naturally growing vine and has been used for furniture because it is lightweight, durable, flexible, and pretty."
And as for why you should consider using it in your space right now? Well, there are myriad reasons. Brooklyn-based interior designer Eliza Gran loves it for its ability to "feel both contemporary and vintage at the same time"; Dolley Frearson, co-founder of High Fashion Home, says it feels "very organic, unstructured, and has a hand-made look that people are loving right now"; and Ben Marshall, Creative Director of Hudson Valley Lighting Group, similarly explains that the natural material allows people to feel grounded and connected with nature, which has been a huge trend of late.
And while, sure, rattan does bring an "airy, laid-back, bohemian feel to any space," as Emily Robinson from The Citizenry's design team says, it's also completely possible to transform it into a cozy, wintry scene come cold weather with some expert tricks. A few of those, ahead.
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How To Decorate With Rattan In The Winter: Lean Into Scandinavian Design
As Kelley Mason, Manager of Creative and Content at Lulu and Georgia, notes, rattan has a "very natural fit" in Scandinavian design, especially when it comes to the colder months. "A rattan chair with a sheepskin throw looks perfectly cozy by a roaring fire," she says. Patton echoes this notion, adding that you can also bring in an element of upholstering. Thick knits and cool-toned woods will add to the Scandi feel as well, continues Mason.
How To Decorate With Rattan In The Winter: Pay Attention To Color Pairings
Frearson says that adding materials in warm colors to rattan accents can give it a warmer feel overall, and recommends shades like "caramel and deep rich browns, bronze, deep blues and teals, hunter and olive green, and black."
According to Marshall, the tones of your actual rattan pieces matter as well. "When selecting rattan, I would go with a tone that is naturally light with less blonde honey tones. This will give you a positive, natural feel but also allow you to work within a mid-light tone palette." With that, you can pair earthier colors like a slate stone, he says, which is ideal for creating a cozy winter scene.
How To Decorate With Rattan In The Winter: Combine It With Non-Rattan Furniture
Gran further reiterates that the textiles that surround each rattan piece are very important, and "combining them with other non-rattan furniture keeps it from looking like a sun room," she says. "In my living room I have two giant rattan chairs, along with a leather sofa and a marble coffee table."
How To Decorate With Rattan In The Winter: Layer Cozy Textures
Like a sheepskin rug or throw, Mason says that pieces like fur pillows, chunky knit throws, metal accents, or a vase of dried flowers can add a cozy feel to rattan's summery vibe. "Add in a few candles and a hot mug of something delicious to drink and you’re all set!"
Keep in mind, too, that certain textures paired with rattan will have the opposite effect — so avoid "lightweight materials, like cotton and linen," says Robinson. "While this combination can instantly transport you to a beachside oasis, this pairing doesn’t evoke the wintry, cozy vibes. "
How To Decorate With Rattan In The Winter: Avoid Light & Bright Elements
While there are plenty of things you can pair rattan with to make it feel more wintery, according to the experts, there are also a few elements you should avoid.
Mason says to skip any bright or neon colors, so consider giving all those millennial pink decorations you've bought over the years a break when it gets cold out. Additionally, both Mason and Marshall suggest skipping any coastal elements, so steer clear of pairing rattan with your palm tree wallpaper or tropical plants if you're going for a cozier look.
How To Decorate With Rattan In The Winter: Use A Light Hand
Though it's certainly tempting to pair all your favorite rattan pieces together, Robinson says doing so can enhance the material's summery vibe. "Too much rattan can overpower a room and make it feel too bohemian. Instead, opt for one or two statement rattan pieces — such as a rattan headboard or ottomans."