If you're in the market for furniture – for any room or even outdoor
location, give a thought to wicker furniture, with its certain charm and
romance, cane-woven texture and stained, painted or oiled surface. Wicker
furniture brings to mind tropical islands or a charming bed and breakfast
in the south of France. Some of the appeal may be attributed to this
warm, inviting and comfortable look.
Wicker furniture may be made of a number of vining woods with four main
groups. These are bamboo, reed, rattan and willow. They're then woven in
to the furniture piece.
When shopping for wicker, look for quality and solid construction. The
best pieces will be woven tightly, with a snag-free surface and no
splinters. The underside of the legs should have hard rubber tips or
casters to protect the furniture.
Don't be tempted to buy wicker furniture requiring you to assemble the
piece. Working with wicker is an art, and joining pieces is best done by
the manufacturer. Similarly, if shopping used furniture, be aware that
re-caning is not cheap and may cost more than the piece.
This type of furniture may be used in the garden, but you must take
special care to prevent damage from mildew and exposure to the elements.
When using outdoors, be sure you get some furniture covers to protect
throughout the winter. However, there are also resin materials which can
replicate the look of wicker furniture quite closely. So this is an
alternative you may want to consider.
Conversely, dry winter heat tends to dry out the wicker furniture, so
you'll want an oiled or sealed finish to prevent this aging of your new
furniture. You can use oil, varnish or varathane to seal the furniture.
Maintenance of wicker furniture is minimal, especially in the case of
indoor wicker furniture. Simply vacuum with the brush attachment or dust
as you do your weekly cleaning. Be careful not to wet the wicker as this
can lead to mildew.
Sealed wicker furniture may be taken outside and cleaned on a yearly
basis with a mild soap and water solution. Spray off with a hose and set
in the sun. A warm, breezy day is a good time to clean the furniture, as
it dries quickly. Use a sponge or clothe squeezed dry when cleaning
painted wicker, so that you do not wet the wicker. Depending on the
piece, you may want to turn it over to make for faster drying time.
Don't be tempted to sit on your furniture until it is completely dry,
which takes 3 or 4 days. It must be thoroughly dry before use, or you
risk the piece sagging or stretching in unattractive ways.
Wicker is so attractive, you can find a piece for any room in your home.
In fact, an entire bedroom of wicker furniture produces a charming and
comfortable atmosphere. The again, a single wicker towel closet in the
bathroom can almost constitute a makeover.