In Residential Outdoor Furniture

Discover a more durable alternative to wicker patio chairs

Often confused with rattan and bamboo, wicker is a natural fiber traditionally used in basket making. Today, we utilize this material made from willow shoots to manufacture furniture and accessories, including baskets, sofas, cradles, light fixtures and more. People love the touch of Scandinavian inspiration it lends to their décor.

Consequently, it should come as no surprise that its growing popularity has led to its use in outdoor furnishings, especially chairs. While wicker offers undeniable advantages, enabling us to stand out, in keeping with the current trend toward earthy nuances, it’s important to understand its disadvantages. To help ensure that your garden furniture remains beautiful season after season, we would like to offer you an alternative that’s more durable than wicker but with just as much charm.

Why wicker chairs are so popular

décoration, mobilier et chaises en osier

example of wicker furniture, chairs and decoration, (not available at JML)

When we think about wicker, we immediately get a clear picture of the style. This trademark appearance is a result of the characteristics of the willow branches from which it’s made. On the face of it, opting for wicker means reaffirming an original style that has been making a strong comeback in recent months. Furnishings, particularly chairs, made from this material help create a Zen-like atmosphere. And since this material is largely unfinished (it’s simply soaked in water to make it easier to work with), it’s refined without being too delicate and sophisticated without being too pricey.

Wicker style is versatile enough to suit virtually any taste, whether rustic, contemporary or resolutely modern. In fact, you’d be surprised at the diversity of wicker furnishings currently on the market. And if you can’t find a color you like among the available options, you’ll be delighted to learn that it’s possible to stain or paint a wicker chair. This certainly expands the range of possibilities!

Wicker may tick all the boxes in terms of esthetics, but what about resistance and durability? This material has a reputation for being able to remain outside even during severe weather, as long as you observe certain maintenance guidelines. However, to be fair, we should give you the whole story. Wicker has two primary drawbacks, which we’ll detail below. Luckily, there are alternatives.

Wicker is good, but synthetic rattan is better!

Behind the description of wicker as a nearly perfect material lie two notable weaknesses. First, we should point out that its color tends to become greyish over time. Second, exposure to sun, rain and temperature fluctuations can make wicker brittle, increasing the risk of breakage.

chaises en rotin synthétique - imitation osier

Synthetic rattan chairs offered at JML

This is precisely why synthetic rattan—which looks so similar that it’s often mistaken for the real thing—can offer you a more appealing, more durable option. Equally elegant and comfortable, synthetic rattan garden furniture, also called “polyrattan” or “resin wicker,” is made from an innovative, tough, durable plastic material (PVC or polyethylene) to imitate the look and feel of natural rattan. More resistant to severe weather than wicker is, it’s particularly recommendable for use in the fabrication of garden chairs, dining chairs, armchairs and other outdoor furnishings. It offers the same warm ambience and ease of maintenance as its natural cousin. It also features the same lightweight construction, which you’ll greatly appreciate when the time comes to move or rearrange your chairs. With regard to design, it leaves little to be desired, as it’s a suitable material for creating elegant, modular furnishings in a wide variety of colors. Having made its appearance around 2006, it has quickly gained popularity as an option that’s both beautiful and durable, two qualities that have become increasingly in demand in recent years.

meuble extérieur en rotin-synthétique - table et chaises

Chairs and outdoor table in synthetic rattan offered at JML

As for the price? Synthetic rattan is still affordable, even when combined with a frame made of aluminum, another material that’s easy on the pocketbook. This combination is highly valued, as it’s versatile and in keeping with current trends, which favor harmonizing our indoor and outdoor spaces. So why stop at chairs when you can also rethink other furnishings, for instance, your coffee tables?

Would you like to learn more about synthetic rattan garden furniture?

By now, you understand that, if your objective is durability over time and despite changing trends, synthetic rattan imitating the look of natural wicker is your best bet. And if you need advice on garden chairs or on creating the garden furniture arrangement of your dreams, feel free to turn to the team at JML Inc. These specialists would be more than happy to guide you and can personalize their services to respond to your tastes and your budget!


Boutique Odette. Pourquoi opter pour des meubles en rotin et en osier? [Why opt for rattan and wicker furniture?] 2017.
Le Rêve chez vous. Le rotin synthétique [Synthetic rattan]. 2022.
La Presse. Le rotin a la cote [Rattan is in favor]. 2009.