How To Add Natural Texture To Your Home: The Wonder Of Wicker

In 2010, we were living in Caversham and my living room was looking the worse for wear.  Due to poor household maintenance (aka we were absolutely clueless) we hadn't realised that the magnolia tree against the house was slowly dripping rotting rainwater through the bricks and before we knew it, the entire wall was soaked.  Cue large insurance claim and two weeks of a humidifier annoyingly humming away for 24 hours a day.   

Classic mid century styling by  Ball & Claw Vintage .

Classic mid century styling by Ball & Claw Vintage.

I was starting to work out what my core decorating style was and realised this was a good opportunity to try something new.  The room had been Cornforth White but I'd gone off that and decided that pure white walls were the way forward.  I stripped the room of furniture, including a huge grey velvet four seater Heals sofa that I had picked up on eBay for a tenner a few years before.  Joe totally loved that sofa, mostly because he literally used it as a day bed.  I was so annoyed at a) his innate laziness, and b) the fact it encouraged him to lie prostrate from the moment he arrived home from work, that I decided to take action.  

Without Joe's knowledge, I stuck it on eBay and sold it for £40 to a man who was 6ft 10 (true story).  He came to collect it with his girlfriend and I smugly chuckled to myself in the knowledge that her huge boyfriend would soon be lying in Joe's position.  Joe himself was slightly put out when he arrived home to find it gone and replaced with a sideboard.  

This ornate headboard is the perfect contrast to  Cowboy Kate 's dark decor.

This ornate headboard is the perfect contrast to Cowboy Kate's dark decor.

Anyway, I'd seen a room in Livingetc with a huge jute rug.  I decided this would be absolutely perfect for my white walled, wooden floored newly painted living room so scoured the internet until I found something suitable.  eBay, as always, was my homeboy and I found one of 230cm diameter for the excellent price of £160.  

From that point, I was a total convert and most of the time, will always choose natural textures for flooring over anything else.   Over the years, this passion has extended to my furnishings and I've all manner of wicker, rattan, jute and bamboo in my home ranging from coffee tables to headboards to peacock chairs.

Only when writing this blog did I discover (via the Oracle that is Wikipedia) that wicker was actually a word that describes woven furniture, not an actual product.  Wicker can be woven from rattan, bamboo, willow, cane and also synthetic materials.  Ever since ancient Egypt people have been using this method to make furniture.  The Victorians preferred it as they believed it to be more sanitary than upholstered furniture, a fact that would fail to uphold should my own wicker collection be examined. 

Charity shops are an absolute winner when it comes to picking up second hand products.  I've found many a rattan side table at my local St Leonards Hospice Shop and eBay has a plethora of bamboo beauties should you choose to look.  Unfortunately I'm currently in the market for a new bamboo coffee table after sitting on mine last week to take a fireplace photograph and breaking the glass.  I'm not sure whether that says more about my weight than the quality of the product, tbh.

These natural materials are perfect for all aesthetics, whatever your decor style.  The recent rise in the popularity of plants and all things green has accentuated the idea of bringing the outside in.  It's really versatile too and is the perfect nod to the 70's decor trend, yet has a timeless appeal that will never go out of fashion.  From close weave rattan which is minimalist and contemporary, to open bamboo and wicker that lend themselves beautifully to a boho style, there's plenty of choice to give your home a textural update.

If you're looking for some natural inspiration, then there's loads of it out there.  And whatever your own style may be, it's easy to incorporate into your space.

Bianca Hall  mixes rattan with glam.

Bianca Hall mixes rattan with glam.

Alexandra Vrennes  adds natural to the neutral.

Alexandra Vrennes adds natural to the neutral.

The bamboo drinks trolley gives this eclectic room an edge.  Photography  Anisa Rrapaj

The bamboo drinks trolley gives this eclectic room an edge.  Photography Anisa Rrapaj

So if you are not charity shop savvy, what's out there?   In the name of interior research, I've done an edit of the best of the bunch, ranging from bargain buy to budget busting but all bloody beautiful.

Rattan Magazine Rack , Zara Home £49.99

Rattan Magazine Rack, Zara Home £49.99

Filey Footstool , Dunelm £49

Filey Footstool, Dunelm £49

Rattan Lampshade , Grace & Glory £79.95

Rattan Lampshade, Grace & Glory £79.95

Bamboo Oval Mirror , Made In Design £44.95

Bamboo Oval Mirror, Made In Design £44.95

Franco Albini Ottoman , twentytwentyone £295

Franco Albini Ottoman, twentytwentyone £295

Lacquered Walnut Rattan Chair , Alexander & Pearl £245

Lacquered Walnut Rattan Chair, Alexander & Pearl £245

Kos Hand Braided Rug  160cm, Kukoon £108.95

Kos Hand Braided Rug 160cm, Kukoon £108.95

Round Water Hyacinth Basket , HM Home £24.99
Cuun Bench, House Doctor , Made In Design £734

Cuun Bench, House Doctor, Made In Design £734

Suzane Rattan Day Bed , Maisons Du Monde £344

Suzane Rattan Day Bed, Maisons Du Monde £344

Rattan Lamp Shade , Rockett St George £160

Rattan Lamp Shade, Rockett St George £160

Seagrass Tray , Also Home £40

Seagrass Tray, Also Home £40

Vintage Mid Century Planters , Homeplace £125

So that's my edit of my current faves.  Every home needs a little bit of wicker, whatever your style.  Plus, it's an eco friendly option, lasts for years and it's natural texture adds real warmth to your space.  Just don't sit on the bamboo coffee table.