Bohemian interior design: 10 rattan pieces for your vintage shopping list

Bohemian interior design

This is the first in a new series on vintage shopping, and this month I’m putting the spotlight on the renaissance of rattan. This seems to have come hand in hand with a revival of all things 1970s which, thanks to the likes of Gucci, has also hit the catwalk. Rattan also happens to work perfectly with our new obsession with having a plethora of plants and greenery in the home, where more is definitely more.

The 70s-inspired rattan, plants and tropical print combo has been perfected by LA-based designer and blogger Justina Blakeney. Queen of maximalist bohemian interior design, her vibrant website The Jungalow is brimming with inspiration.

Colourful bohemian interior design by Justina Blakeney

Another interior designer with a bohemian sensibility is Sera Hersham-Loftus of Sera of London. Her project Little Venice Rooms (pictured at the top of this post) combines rattan chairs, plants, sumptuous fabrics and antiques with a romantic, dreamy, feminine and Parisian twist.

But now for a brief dendrology lesson (I had to look that up too). Rattan is a climbing palm with a flexible woody stem, referred to as a liana rather than a wood. It grows at ground level and uses other trees as support, in order to climb up to the well-lit areas of the forest. There are 600 different species of rattan and the stems range in diameter. You’ll see rattan used for basket and furniture making because it’s lightweight, durable and can be bent without breaking – at least not easily.

Poster of Norma Talmadge in a peacock chair

Rewind to the Victorian era and rattan peacock chairs were being imported from East Asia, providing porches and parlours across the US and England with a taste of the exotic. From the 1920s through to the 1970s countless stars have been photographed in these fan-shaped chairs, from Katharine Hepburn to Jane Birkin and Brigitte Bardot. This style of chair also become synonymous with the erotic series Emmanuelle after it appeared in the film, so you’ll hear some refer to it as ‘the Emmanuelle chair’.

The peacock chair may be the perfect statement piece, particularly in a boho bedroom or sunny corner, but if you don’t have the space, rattan details such as baskets, mirrors, magazine racks and ottomans are an ideal addition to a relaxed, boho inspired interior. Here are my top 10 vintage rattan picks, available to purchase online.

1. RATTAN PEACOCK CHAIR

boho vintage rattan peacock chair

Description: Rattan and cane peacock chair
Date: 1970s
Buying from: UK
Price: £595
Available from: 1st Dibs

2. MID-CENTURY PEACOCK CHAIR

Mid-century peacock rattan chair

Description: Large rattan armchair in the style of Rohé Noordwolde and reminiscent of the Peacock chair by Franco Albini.
Date: 1950s
Buying from: Netherlands
Price: £371
Available from: Pamono*

3. RATTAN SWIVEL CHAIR

Vintage rattan swivel chair for the bohemian interior

Description: Rattan swivel chair
Date: 1970s
Buying from: Netherlands
Price: €295
Available at: VNTG

4. MID-CENTURY RATTAN SUN MIRROR

vintage round rattan mirror

Description: French rattan sun mirror stamped Art Vannerie RR
Date: 1960s
Buying from: UK
Price: £225
Available from: Bia London, also on Etsy*

5. RATTAN COFFEE TABLE

vintage rattan coffee table

Description: Vintage rattan coffee table from Rohé Noordwolde
Date: 1950s
Buying from: Netherlands
Price: £232
Available from: Pamono*

6. RATTAN MAGAZINE RACK

Bohemian home rattan magazine rack

Description: Vintage rattan magazine rack
Date: 1960s
Buying from: USA
Price: Approx £39.56
Available from: Etsy seller Pure and Vintage*

7. ROHE NOORDWOLDE RATTAN LOUNGE SOFA

Vintage rattan lounge sofa in a bohemian interior
Description: Rattan vintage soft produced by Rohé Noordwolde
Date: 1960s
Buying from: Netherlands
Price: £557
Available from: Pamono*

8. RATTAN OTTOMAN BY FRANCO ALBINI

Franco Albini rattan ottoman

Description: Rattan ottoman by Franco Albini
Date: 1950s
Buying from: Worldwide
Price: from £416
Available from: 1st Dibs or buy new from Twentytwentyone

9. SET OF 2 VINTAGE RATTAN CHAIRS

Vintage 1950s rattan chairsVintage 1950s rattan chairs

Description: Pair of 1950s rattan and iron lounge chairs, made in Denmark.
Date: 1950s
Buying from: Sweden
Price: £1,394
Available from: Pamono*

10. RATTAN STARBURST MIRROR

1960s vintage rattan star mirror

Description: Handcrafted Spanish starburst mirror
Date: 1960s
Buying from: Spain
Price: Approx £1047
Available from: 1st Dibs

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PHOTO CREDITS

From top:

Sera of London – Photo by Michael Paul

The Jungalow

3 Poster of Norma Talmadge via Zazzle

4 – 13 as credited

Author: Antonia Edwards

Antonia is the founding editor of Upcyclist. Based in the UK, she is the author of two books: 'Upcyclist: Reclaimed and Remade Furniture, Lighting and Interiors' (Prestel 2015) and 'Renovate Innovate: Reclaimed and Upcycled Homes' (Prestel 2017).