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Interior Design

Totally Wickered!

When looking for ways to spruce up a room’s décor, the first thing we usually come up with is colour. And while changing shades is a fantastically quick fix, it can also be really time consuming, risky and fairly messy. A much faster and easier way to alter the feel of a room is through texture.

One way of introducing a new texture without breaking the bank is by decorating with wicker and rattan. Decorating with wicker and rattan will add cheerful, country look, or a fresh outdoors look, depending on the finish of the wicker and the shape and function of the piece.

First, let’s get our terminology straight when decorating with wicker or rattan. Wicker is made from reed, cane, rush, or willow – or a few other similar plant materials which become pliable when wet. The furniture made from wicker is woven with wetted wicker, and when it dries, it holds its form.

Rattan is a little different, even though in home decorating it has essentially the same effect. Rattan is one specific vine that grows in Far East tropical forests, and is known for its strength. Pieces made from rattan are generally made of thicker strips, and can be sturdier in their natural state.

The most common way of including wicker into a scheme is through baskets and containers. A row of wicker boxes on a shelf to hold your scattered clutter can really tidy up a room with style.

By shopping around, you’ll be able to find wicker baskets in just about every size, from tiny desk-top boxes to huge storage trunks that double as coffee tables. You can also find innovative unusual pieces such as large table lamps or ornately weaved ornaments that will enhance any decor.

Adding a chair, side table, or small chest of drawers can brighten up a dull corner. A small wicker table topped with a fresh green plant, or a wicker rocker decorated with yellow cushions will bring a bit of springtime to a dark and dingy room.

By using more than one piece of wicker, you can create a summery, outdoors feel to your rooms. A sisal carpet on the floor will start your room off. Add a few big potted plants and a glass-topped coffee table. Use wicker for the rest of the furniture, and you’ll have gone some way to bringing the outdoors inside (If you are decorating a bedroom why not pick up a floral or summer plant themed bed set to add to the look?).

Shopping at car boot sales and flea markets can be a great way to find wicker at lower prices, and wicker lends itself to being re-used again and again, because it’s so easy to give it a new look. When shopping for used wicker, first check to make sure the piece is sturdy, and doesn’t wobble or rock when you push on it. Just give the wicker a thorough cleaning when you get it home and it will be as good as new. First use a vacuum with a brush to pick up any soil or dirt if the furniture has been used outdoors. Next, wash it with warm water with just a tiny bit of soap but don’t soak the piece.

Once you’ve wiped it dry, put it in the sun or in a warm, ventilated room to allow it to dry thoroughly. If it is a chair or bench, don’t sit on it for a few days, as this can cause it to lose its shape if still damp.

If you want to paint the wicker, lay down several sheets of newspaper and spray the piece first with a white primer, then paint with whatever colour you choose to create an inspirational, individual piece of furniture.

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