Why Is Cane Furniture Suddenly Everywhere?

published May 13, 2019
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Credit: Lana Kenney

In the interior design world, trends come and go faster than you can say, “mid-century modern”—but you can bet they’ll eventually make a comeback.

Take cane furniture, for example.

Wickered furniture has been around since ancient Egyptian civilizations, and caning has been having small resurgences since the 1600s (psst… you can check its entire history here). Now in 2019, centuries after cane furniture burst onto the design scene, we’re seeing it everywhere.

And we mean everywhere. These days, just about every store from the wonderfully affordable IKEA and Target, to luxury retailers you feel fortunate to window-shop at carry cane furniture. Accents like chairs, credenzas, and cabinets are featured in just about every “it” space. And of course, caned decor is all over your Instagram.

“Cane furniture is definitely having a moment,” says Anna Brockway, co-founder and president of Chairish. “Shoppers are also gaga for skirted wicker tables, lampshades, and lighting, especially when animal inspired.”

So what’s the deal? Why is cane furniture making such a comeback? Why now?

For some design experts, caned furniture feels like a walk down memory lane—with a twist.

“Not only is design cyclical, but it also draws in nostalgia,” say Julien Albertini and Alina Pimkina, the design duo behind Asthetíque Group. “If paired right, you can create a timeless balance within a space.”

But that doesn’t mean this iteration of caned furniture. Plenty of brands, like Industry West, are giving this trend a modern flair.

“Cane furniture has been around for hundreds of years, but we have recently been inspired by its use with more modern forms and colors,” says Jordan England, CEO and founder of Industry West.

England was inspired by a trip to Milan two years ago but credits his collaborator, Bangkok-based brand Atelier 2+, for the success of its cane furniture inventory.

If you’re looking for a fresh way to bring cane furniture into your home, take a page out of Industry West’s style book and look for round pieces with cleverly placed pops of color.

“The perfectly proportioned arches and other forms of wood and cane with spot on colorways makes this collection drool worthy,” England says.

But just like any other design trend, the success of your cane-clad room lies in how you choose to style your pieces. Textures like canvas and velvet in light colorways can pair nicely with your airy cane furniture, while adding some leafy greens into the mix will give your space a California cool flair.

While cane and rattan furniture come from the same place—cane furniture comes from peeling off the skin of a rattan vine—we can’t help but feel like the two weaves are a bit at odds with each other. But instead of becoming “the new rattan,” England insists the two styles can work together in perfect harmony.

“I think these two techniques will continue to be successful and complementary to each other,” he explains. “The form and complementary material is almost the more important element. Rattan or cane on the right style chair or light fixture can work just as well.”

So, the million dollar question: Does cane furniture have as much staying power as, say, mid-century modernism or millennial pink? Yes and no.

“It may not stay as white hot as it is now forever, but I would still say timeless materials and techniques that have a 500-year track record are a pretty safe bet,” England says.

In other words, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you really love the trend, go big or go home with a caned loveseat or dresser. However, if caned furniture feels more like the flavor of the week, opt for smaller (and yes, less expensive) pieces.

What do you think? Are you loving the caned furniture craze or ready to move onto other trends? Sound off below!