A Brief History of Wicker

A Brief History of Wicker

Wicker furniture may seem trendy right now, but there are thousands of years of history behind it. In fact, wicker has been around for most of human history. However, before you go shopping for wicker furniture to update your patio, let’s clarify the different styles.

A Brief History of Wicker

Ancient Times

Archeologists have found wicker that dates to 3000 B.C. in Egypt. They even found some samples in the tomb of King Tut. The plants that grew on the banks of the Nile were perfect for creating wicker furniture, and once the Romans started spreading it, the rest is history.

Victorian Wicker

In the 1800s, wicker furniture underwent another historical change. The British Empire warred with China, where rattan came from. That lead to a search for alternatives. That’s when reeds were added to the mix so that enterprising people could continue making wicker furniture.

In the “New” World

The first piece of wicker, a baby carriage, did arrive in America on the Mayflower. However, indigenous people had similar weaving techniques. In the late 1800s, Cyrus Wakefield began making wicker furniture.

In the 1890s, Wakefield merged with its biggest competitor, Heywood Brothers. The pair automated the cane weaving process, making wicker furniture cheaper and more accessible to the public.


Wicker does fall in and out of style, and after the 1930s was no exception. Wicker furniture was popular through the 1960s and 1970s before falling back into relative historical obscurity. During its revival, the Victorian designs were once again welcome in the home, making way for wicker.

The Usual Wicker Furniture Suspects

Wicker furniture is currently widely available in many styles. Wicker chairs, sofas, and coffee tables are all popular. More exotic shapes such as daybeds and lampshades are also available. You can match any style, from Scandinavian minimalism to coastal chic.

Modern Wicker Furniture Style

Modern wicker furniture style tends to feature a geometric construction and hard angles. These square creations are the easiest for you to find. If you like this wicker furniture style, consider pairing it with greenery or a non-geometric rug to break up the lines.

Vintage Wicker Throwbacks

Since wicker furniture had a revival, those styles have currently become vintage. Vintage wicker furniture tends to feature more rounded edges and wider seats than the modern style. It also tends to have more fine detailing in the seat and back, requiring more care.

Antique Wicker Furniture Style

When cared for properly, wicker furniture can last for decades. You can now find antique-style wicker furniture in your favorite secondhand shop. It may require a little maintenance to look new again, but the time investment is worth the beauty.

Moving Indoors

People tend to think of wicker furniture as a style for their outdoor spaces. However, wicker furniture history indicates that it was used in every part of the home. Consider bringing wicker furniture into your home regardless of your preferred style for a fantastic accent.