After decades of sitting pretty on screened porches, wicker furniture is getting a serious second wind.
Clean, modern pieces made from jute, rattan, rush and other durable fibers are easy to find and look fresh indoors year-round. So invest in an iconic bed frame or a chair. These picks add a shot of style without any heavy lifting.
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Graceful and ultrasustainable, this material — harvested from the solid core of a Southeast Asian climbing palm — can be steamed and molded to create statement-making shapes. And these days, reproductions of midcentury European designs and other sculptural pieces abound. Consider this sleigh bed and other objects here as stylish examples.
Sources: Serena & Lily Avalon daybed, $1,198, serenaandlily.com. Parachute linen sheet set, in Blush, $169 for full/queen; and linen top sheet, in Blush, $99 for full/queen, parachutehome.com. Tine K Home hanger, in Rattan, $6, tinekhome.com. Bungalow 5 Timor Temple jar, in Natural, left,, $260, bungalow5.com. Ballard Designs Piper woven urn, in Large Antique Walnut, $139, ballarddesigns.com. Matta Musi slipdress, in White, $83, mattany.com. Marazzi Studio Life Central Park glazed porcelain floor and wall tile, 12 inches by 24 inches, $2.50 per square foot, homedepot.com.
Natural wall coverings offer immediate dimension and coziness. “Grasscloth is a clever, subtle way to add texture,” says Taylor Jacobson, an interior designer in Los Angeles who loves soft, feminine pinks and grays like these, as well as prints and supersaturated colors. Finishes vary from smooth to coarse. “Choose fine grass-cloth for a sleek, minimalist look, and a loose one for a more rustic feel,” she suggests.
Another guideline: Don’t use it in rooms vulnerable to moisture, humidity and fingerprints, which can cause mildew and leave stains.
Also known as bulrush or cattail, this wetland reed has serious bona fides: It’s been used to shape chair backs and bottoms since the time of the pharaohs. In more recent history, American Shaker furniture makers gave their austere rockers’ seats this four-flap envelope motif, and mid-century Danish and American designers experimented with the frame’s look.
Most contemporary iterations use twisted paper cord instead of natural rush, but both are surprisingly hardy, thanks to the density of the weaving. So sit down and stay awhile.
Source: Suite NY woven-rush lounge chair, $3,460, suiteny.com.
This invasive aquatic weed may be a landscaper’s nemesis, but interior designers love it for its chunky, nubby quality. The stalks can be dried and worked into distinctive baskets, or woven over metal frames to create pieces that bring the outdoors in.
“Nothing about it looks manufactured,” says Mike Frank, owner of Frank’s Cane and Rush Supply, in Huntington Beach, California.
A hamper made from the material lends a spalike vibe to a bathroom, and extra-large baskets make chic planters.
Sources: Oriental Furniture woven four-panel room divider, in Natural, $279, wayfair.com. Baskets, from left: The Container Store braided water-hyacinth storage cube, $40; and round water-hyacinth hamper, $50, thecontainerstore.com. IKEA Jassa decorative vase, $25, ikea.com. Cost Plus World Market Cameron natural hyacinth braided small and medium tote baskets with handles, from $35 each; and Aimee Arrow small and medium baskets, from $25 each, worldmarket.com. Crate & Barrel Onslow tray (against wall), $40, crateandbarrel.com.
You’ve probably seen this fiber twisted into a crunchy ribbon around a bouquet or gift, or braided into accessories like totes and sandals. But delicate raffia palm fronds can also be spun into fabric that resembles grasscloth — for a third of the price, says Frank. And that frees you up to experiment with it: Just a few yards give the doors of this plain armoire a custom, earthy finishing touch.
Do-it-yourself idea: Trim raffia fabric to fit the surface you want to cover (be it a panel or even a tray). Spray the back of the fabric with adhesive (try 3M Super 77 multipurpose spray adhesive), press it evenly onto the surface and let it dry completely.
Sources: IKEA Hemnes wardrobe, in Yellow, $379, ikea.com. Benjamin Moore paint, in Lambskin #OC-3 (on wardrobe), and Simply White (on wall), benjaminmoore.com. Cane & Basket Supply Co. fine close-woven raffia cloth, $12.50 for a 2-foot-by-6 foot sheet, caneandbasket.com. Jenni Kayne Carrie Forbes Salon Slide sandals, in Natural, $310, jennikayne.com. Made Goods Jasper pillows (similar to shown), mecox.com.
JUTE & SISAL
There are lots of reasons why rugs made from these tropical leaves are a top pick: They’re neutral, versatile and relatively inexpensive.
“If you need to cover a large area, use a jute or sisal rug as your base, then layer a smaller patterned one on top,” says Jacobson.
Just be mindful of which textile you use where: Sisal, made from the agave plant, is rough, resilient and ideal for high-traffic zones, while jute is softer and well suited for rooms where bare feet tread.
For a softer feel, look for rugs with wool or hemp blended in.
Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate