Wednesday, 1 July 2015

What Outdoor Furniture Suits Your Home and Lifestyle? Cane or wood?

by Jayde Ferguson
Dressing up your home with new furniture decorations can be exciting. Whether it’s your first home, or a refresh of the rental property you live in, the freedom to implement your own personal style according to your tastes and lifestyle is both a liberating and challenging experience. Most of us simply pick furniture based on what looks and feels good, but what really suits your home and lifestyle? We check out two types of furniture and uncover the differences between them and how you can do more than just improve your home’s outdoor décor.
Understanding the Difference between Cane and Solid Wood Furniture 
Cane furniture, like other wooden varieties, grows with you over time to become part of you and your family’s treasured possessions. Given its flexible nature, good quality cane furniture can last anywhere between 30 to 40 years so it can be easily regarded as a rewarding investment.
Solid hardwoods such as redwood, oak or pine are also extremely durable materials for furniture. Built with quality and craftsmanship in mind, the difference between solid wood and cane lie predominately in the way it is made. Cane is used to describe furniture made of wicker – a woven fibre formed into a rigid material. Because it’s light yet super sturdy, it has become a popular option for baskets and furniture that’s used more often, like outdoor dining furniture.
When it comes to outdoor living, there is something about cane furniture that is warm and inviting. Also known as rattan or wicker furniture, cane is made from the stems of the rattan plant which offers a tensile and long-lasting material ideal for furniture both indoors and outside your home.
Consider only good quality cane because if the work is virtuous, you’re looking at a decade or two with limited to no maintenance.  Those who like the look of bamboo furniture tend to choose cane, with its “island home” type appearance and cost-effectiveness; it’s a fun way to decorate your home to make it your own outdoor paradise.
Because of the flexible material it’s made from, cane can be shaped and designed into different types of furniture which leaves a lot of room for creativity, especially for those hard-to-buy for spots in your garden.  Although it can suit any home type, cane is particularly popular for outdoor living as it has an immense ability to resist any climate change and is water resistant and rust proof.
Whilst it is a low-maintenance option and doesn’t require frequent polishing, it’s advised an initial coat of wax is put on before it rains as it can be prone to fungus. If you have children that tend to play with the furniture, consider a natural coat of varnish every couple of years to keep its freshness. For those with pets prone to chewing, it’s also possible to re-cane your furniture every few years instead of throwing it out.
For those prone to diabetes, cane furniture can actually be a healthy choice because it cools down the body. No doubt you have heard about the cane cradles in the older days? Cane cradles are something families handed down from generation to generation for its good health aspects, also making it a great alternative for elderly people or anyone that suffers from bad posture and frequent back pain.
Choosing Solid Wood Furniture for Your Home 
Solid wood brings a stylish look when decorating your deck or patio area and is strong enough to easily satisfy all furniture applications, for both the inside and outside of your home. Although it is the more expensive option, you are paying for a lifetime of comfort and a characteristic appearance that never seems to get old.
Whilst it can be easy to opt for the decision of cheaper flat-packed furniture, these woods are simply manufactured products such as chipboard or MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard). Engineered ‘woods’ like these are made from lower quality woods and whilst are the perfect short-term solution for a large space crying out for furniture, they don’t have the same build quality as real solid wood furniture.
Real solid wood is a term of art, and buying solid wood furniture for your home can include endless benefits, especially for outdoor patio use. Solid woods like redwood or oak offer a beautiful, elegant and timeless appearance that can complement any existing décor.  Because of its sturdiness, solid woods are highly resilient against harsh weather conditions and varieties like cedar and redwood have natural chemicals that effectively resist wear and tear of daily use. As your furniture ages, the colour and movement changes in solid hardwoods add to its charm.
As tough as solid wood furniture can be though, the maintenance levels are higher than most other outdoor furniture types. If the wood is not taken care of, flaking and cracking can appear. To keep your furniture looking good and long lasting, stain removing, cleaning and varnishing will need to be done periodically.  From a green-minded perspective, it’s also important to remember some hardwoods are endangered species. Redwoods for example, are some of the most ancient trees and whilst it may look like award-winning furniture, from the conservation aspect this type of wood is best left on the tree. For environmental concerns, consider other options like pine, teak or timber.
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