Thursday, Dec 01, 2022 | Last Update : 05:07 AM IST

  Life   More Features  18 Apr 2018  Cane & able!

Cane & able!

Published : Apr 18, 2018, 1:26 am IST
Updated : Apr 18, 2018, 1:26 am IST

The earthiness of rattan and bamboo has always been a wonderful option for home decor.

There is something special about materials and forms that evoke nostalgia.
 There is something special about materials and forms that evoke nostalgia.

The earthiness of rattan and bamboo has always been a wonderful option for home decor. Now Saheba Singh goes further into the weave to tell you how you can make the most of wicker.

To evoke the glorious era of the 1980s with furniture and accessories crafted from wicker and cane furniture, one must traverse the styles that have emerged from whence it sprung. Here, we reimagine wicker furniture for contemporary living. There is something special about materials and forms that evoke nostalgia. Forms that take you back to an era. It makes you revisit the past and relive happy times spent in happy spaces. 

Cane and wicker do this for me; take me on a trip down memory lane. While planning to update your home decor, wicker furniture probably isn’t the first choice on your shopping list. It calls to mind an outdated ‘80s home adorned with plaid couches and unpainted wooden furniture. It doesn’t have to be that way, however, you could always add sleek and chic wicker pieces into your homes and tweak it to circa 2018. Or, have an out and out vintage cane piece and place it cheekily between all things contemporary. It makes for an interesting contrast.


Cane furniture, which is also known as wicker, is basically made of stems of the rattan plant. Cane is a versatile and eco-friendly material ideal for both indoor and outdoor furniture and can adapt itself to modern trends and styles to lend an accent to a space.

When it comes to the use of rattan in your interiors there are many reasons to spruce up your home décor with cane. Here are some:

  • One of the greatest advantages of rattan furniture is that, it’s light in weight. It can be carried around quite easily. 
  • Unlike other wooden furniture which requires frequent polishing and maintenance, wicker or rattan furniture requires low maintenance. It needs occasional polishing to retain its charm and elegance. When used in the garden and patios as outdoor pieces, it has the immense ability to resist all types of climatic changes. 
  • Go green! Cane is environment-friendly, it includes the use of natural materials. Wicker furniture can be shaped and designed into different types of furniture. 
  • From traditional styles to modern reinventions, woven pieces are here to stay. There are so many ways to incorporate wicker into your style, so it’s the perfection addition for almost any interior space, be it traditional golden tones or popular greyed-off finishes and modern dip-dyed objects, the options are endless. With these tips you can evoke the glorious era of the 1980s with furniture and accessories crafted from wicker and cane furniture, in a more contemporary and modernised way. 
  • A wicker bedhead can add a subtle nod to a bedroom, and lightweight woven bedside tables transform the simplest room into an inviting retreat.  A wicker bed will add a bit of rustic charm to your master bed room, and it looks absolutely marvellous in natural light. 
  • Wicker/cane stools work effectively in kitchens — they soften the straight lines and add texture. Make sure your wicker dining chairs have colours that match your dining room wall and curtains for a cohesive look. Darker chair colours are favourable with a formal look and sophisticated appeal, however, you can also go for light colours, such as white, to add breeze and airiness to the room.
  • Cane and wicker fittings can create really dramatic light effects. Lightweight in any size, cane and wicker are perfect for oversized styles in the entry foyer or over the dining table or even hanging very low over an end table. They add undeniable character due to their earthy texture, and the shadows created on the surrounding walls when lit. Most love them in pairs over a kitchen island, or as a statement chandelier in a bedroom or living room. 
  • Wicker furniture has the reputation of having a timeless look. If you decide to replace your home office furniture with wicker-based furniture, you can get a contemporary yet timeless look that is uniquely different from others. You can even use metallic accents with your cane accessory to add a striking, bright and elegant accent to your space.
  • Explore new territories at home with versatile baskets ideal for storage. Makes for great laundry baskets and smaller baskets on the vanity counter for toiletries or even as trays to roll up and keep face towels in. Throw in a few flowers around this tray and you have a winner. 
  • Now that you know how wicker can embellish your home decor, go ahead take cues from these ideas and give your home a timeless earthy appeal! 

History of wicker

Wicker is such an integral part of the history of man that it is mentioned in the myths of many primitve societies. The Potawatami Indians believed there was an old lady who lived on the moon and weaved baskets. Basketweaving has been a part of so many cultures around the world. The earliest known evidence of the production of wicker furniture date back to the Sumerian civilisation of 4000 BC.  

The Sumerians used wicker for shelter, floors, transportation, clothing, furnishings and utensils.

The ancient Romans were found to have a design of wicker furniture similar to their predesessors.

The word wicker is believed to be of Scandinavian origin: wika which means to bend in Swedish, and vikker meaning willow. Wicker is not a material in itself, but rather an overall classification of furniture woven from any one of a variety of materials like cane (rattan), willow, bamboo, reed etc.

The oldest surviving pieces of wicker furniture date from the Egyptian Empire. These pieces include chests made of reed and rush, wig boxes of reed and papyrus, and wicker hassocks and chairs.


— The writer is a prolific interior designer, and director of a reputed design firm that is behind the interiors of Masala Library (Delhi), Social (Delhi), Smokehouse Deli (Delhi), Playboy (Pune), Farzi Cafe (Bangalore), among others.

Tags: evoke nostalgia, wicker furniture, cane furniture