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The “Not New” Trend That We’re Suddenly Leaning Into HARD

design by athena calderone | styled by colin king | photo by nicole franzen | via architectural digest

What could possibly be a “not new” trend that all of EHD is suddenly in love with? Hold onto your hats ladies and gentlemen, because it’s WICKER (that was my attempt at a joke). But what does “not new” mean? Let’s get one thing straight right out the gate – wicker isn’t making a comeback, because it never went anywhere. It’s not a new trend, but an eternal, timeless way of life. But recently I’ve noticed a serious uptick in the amount of wicker I’m seeing, and not just in vintage-inspired rooms. I’m seeing wicker in some real modern spaces and it’s looking FRESH. Which is where my new found obsession with this age-old decor trend sprouts from.

The wicker I’m seeing now isn’t boring, cliché, or dated. It’s warm, organic, and VERY COOL. It’s all about taking vintage wicker pieces and re-working them into modern spaces. Or using wicker to create interesting modern shapes. Remixing it with industrial metal or sharp contemporary lines. You’ll find no orange lacquered wicker around here.

And just as a side note, the term “wicker” refers to the method of weaving together natural fibers while “rattan” and “cane” are the names of actual fibers used. You learn something everyday . . . .

I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the sheer hilarity that is wicker having a moment in 2020. We’re supposed to be living in the future, the age of chrome and jet packs. And yet . . . Wicker. So what is it about this weaving of natural fiber that has wormed its way into our modern hearts? Here’s my theory – We’re surrounded by fast, shiny, and new all the time, which makes us yearn for those connections back to the natural world. We just want those moments of grounded warmth in our new build, white painted, homes. Enter that perfect, vintage wicker basket.

Jess, on the other hand, has a theory that the recent “granmillenial” trend (or in our case, eccentric english grandma, which wicker is definitely a component of), stems directly from our need to feel safe. With all our instant access to horrible news, and the polarizing state of our politics, the feeling of being back at grandma’s, safe and happy, is driving us to replicate those cozy rooms of our past.

Thank you for coming to our TED talk.

In all honesty, those are some pretty lofty theories (and we’d love to hear your theories in the comments), but the cliff notes version of this thesis is that wicker is once again a prima ballerina in the design world, not just an ensemble member. Listen, I’m here for it. I already ordered a vintage wicker lampshade to use somewhere in my house, because I’m easily influenced and quick to imitate the cool people I follow on Instagram. *shrugs*

Speaking of lamps, that’s where I’ve really seen this wicker trend the most, so let’s start there.

Wicker Lighting

design by athena calderone

Athena Calderon of Eyeswoon is really the pioneer of this modern wicker lampshade trend in my opinion, and I’m gonna give credit where credit is due. How is she pulling this off so successfully? Modern ideas, vintage materials. Above she uses a lamp that has a wicker shade, but the shape and style of the lamp body is very modern. So that hit of wicker brings a touch of warmth that a black metal or white linen shade COULD NEVER.

design by athena calderone

Here, the base on the lamp is a modern touch, while the shade is a super traditional, yet clean silhouette. Plus, there’s a nice mixture of a modern and vintage in this vignette that helps balance the addition of the wicker. The combination of the clean picture frames, organic stool, wicker, and the vintage table all balance each other.

via life interiors

Wicker and wood is a power couple, I’m calling it. Together they’re neutral and monochrome, but the difference in textures really elevates the overall look. The key here is choosing wood and wicker that are similar enough in tone to achieve that monochrome feel. Or if you want contrast, go big or go home. I could see a black wood lamp with a super light wicker shade looking particularly sick.

1. Flynn Floor Lamp | 2. 9602 Floor Lamp – Wicker Willow | 3. Flynn Single Wall Sconce | 4. Black Metal And Wicker Adjustable Wall Sconce | 5. Shore 1 Light Table Lamp in Tan Rattan | 6. Parasol Table Lamp | 7. Wicker Trumpet Pendant Lamp | 8. Brighton Table Lamp | 9. Poppy Pendant | 10. Rattan Sconce Minimal Wall Light | 11. Santa Barbara Round Pendant | 12. 1970s Vintage Natural Wicker Table Lamp

Continuing on . . . .

Wicker Furniture

photo by tessa neustadt | design by amber interiors

When it comes to wicker furniture we’re not talking about the white wicker nightstands from your aunt’s “beach cottage” themed guest room (I know that’s an oddly specific and very personal example). Instead, these are natural-toned wicker pieces in seriously elevated shapes, mixed in with cool and modern materials. That dining banquette (used by the illustrious Amber Interiors) is WHAT. I’M. TALKING. ABOUT. It feels organic and laid back, but still gets serious style points for amazing design and that u-shaped leather cushion.

photo by tessa neustadt | design by leanne ford

RED WICKER ALERT, and it’s looking gorgeous. That is all.

photo by maarten willemstein | design by studio modijefsky

I honestly can’t get over these wicker bar stools, and want mini versions as dining chairs. They’re super minimal, and in contrast with of the sharp black metal, feel totally modern. They work great in this warm, deco-vintage space, where they feel super tonal. But I could also see them being the element that brings in some warmth to a minimal, modern, white space.

The category is: Drool-worthy wicker furniture. Does anyone else get heart palpitations from staring at the above photos? I NEED the ones on the left for my patio this summer. I probably needed them last summer and didn’t even know it. They’re mod, they’re casual, they’re unique, THEY ARE VERY COOL. And that image on the right is a two-fer, because you’re getting a hit of that pleated lampshade also endemic of the Granmillennial trend (Did I order one of those too? Yes. EASILY INFLUENCED BY THE PEOPLE IN MY OWN OFFICE).

design by sarah gibson

Alright friends, this one is CONTROVERSIAL. But we’ve been seeing a lot of what we’re calling “wicker drape” furniture recently. We’ve seen it mostly as taller console tables, and it can be a lot of wavy wicker to stare at. But this little stool from Sarah Gibson’s home is making a strong case for it’s kind. The super traditional vibe of the vignette is softened just enough by the inclusion of this little wicker baby and its white cushion hat. It’s the baby Yoda of the wicker world, and I want to protect it at all costs.

Cruz Outdoor Dining Chair | 2. Marisol Coffee Table | 3. Britanna Patio Bar Cart | 4. Vintage Trompe l’Oeil Wicker Draped Console Table | 5. ULRIKSBERG| 6. Pierce Rattan Two-Seater Chair | 7. Rattan Rocking Chair | 8. Wicker Side Table with Removable Wood | 9. Woven Cube


design by atelier vime

Want to dabble in the wicker arts, but aren’t ready to make the commitment to a giant wicker chair? Why not?! HAVE I NOT INFLUENCED YOU ENOUGH?? If you’re stronger than me, but still wicker curious, enter the wicker accessory. We’re talking vases, we’re talking trays, we’re talking baskets. These are the small pieces that bring a pop of warmth, organic vibes, and serious cool-factor into your home.

A wicker basket is the easy and classic answer to using wicker as decor in your home, and we’re pretty sure that it will never go out of style. What I love about the bowl-shaped wicker basket on the right is that it’s vintage and feels like it has a story. It’s a big punch of warm soul to those shelves.

photo by tessa neustadt | from: let’s get cozy – fall style at target

And just to prove the point that wicker has been cool for while, here’s a shot from a room Em styled all the way back in 2015. It may have been 5 years ago, but that wicker bullhead is still looking pretty cute. It’s more of whimsical way to incorporate wicker into a space, and you can find tons of these wicker animal heads online.

photo by ty mecham & rocky luten | via food52

Frands, just hang a wicker bag on your wall. So you can realize the joy and warmth it brings not only to your heart, but to your home. It’s another super easy way to try out this new-to-me-but-not-new-to-the-world trend, with very low risk.

Braided Tray | 2. Wicker Shell Sculpture On Stand | 3. Dark Rattan Oval Bowl | 4. Priscilla Large Rattan Vase | 5. Cottage Fish Basket | 6. Rattan Magazine Rack

Ok, my time is up. And now it’s your turn to tell me all about your wicker wins OR your wicker woes (I’m pathetic, I’m sorry). Are you team granmillenial/eccentric English grandma or team GET THIS WICKER OUT OF MY FACE. I’ll still like you either way, I promise. Meanwhile, I’m off to create an entire wall out of wicker because I feel like it’s my new purpose in life.

design by atelier vime | via ad magazine

See you in the comments!


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60 thoughts on “The “Not New” Trend That We’re Suddenly Leaning Into HARD

  1. I am Team Wicker. But then I’ve always been Team Wicker. Any suggestions on the best place to go to buy a wicker lamp shade — just the shade?

  2. So well written!!! Your humor and speaking voice come through and it’s still super clear and tightly edited. Bravo! Definitely inspired to get some wicker, will be a fun thing to search for at flea markets this spring.

  3. I really love the return of wicker to more modern rooms. Serena and Lily has a lovely array of pendants and they really bring a modern coastal feel but wouldn’t be out of place in the urban “just a touch of Bohemia” room imo. But Amber Interiors has the more exciting application to me. Just seeing it in unexpected places makes it fresh. I will say that as a natural material it suffers our northern dry winters and can get very brittle over the years. Thanks for the lovely round up.

    1. I had never even thought about how the weather in an area might affect the material. I wonder if that’s why wicker is so prevalent in patio furniture if super humid areas?

      1. I would say that’s likely, although the materials also grow in warm climates so its more ‘local’ in that sense.

  4. I’ve been team wicker for a while but actually have been feeling a pull away from it! I think in my case it’s only because my house was feeling a bit too farmhouse traditional and I have been trying to pull it in a more modern direction. So, I still LOVE wicker but I’m trying to balance it out more with modern pieces. This article was perfect for me because it’s showing me how to balance the two.

  5. I am loving all of this! I especially love the unusual modern shapes that can be woven. So sculptural.

    Unfortunately my husband won’t even consider a wicker anything to cross the threshold of our home. I’ve tried, he just has a very negative reaction. Maybe he didn’t enjoy his stay at grandma’s beach themed guest room?

    1. My husband is the same! But I just showed him a chair in this post, and he liked it. I think he’s been going to enough flea markets and antique faires with me over the last 6 months that I may be converting him. He has a good style sense, but the range is small.

  6. I’m loving the wicker trend! I’ve been seeing wicker planters a lot over the past year or so and it’s such a nice contrast against dark green leaves and a cute way to add texture to a room. We have wicker baskets of all sizes in our apartment, and I’d love to add a bigger piece, like the UO coffee table you included in this post — so cute! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I’ve always loved wicker and have some of it around — the warmth and texture relax a room — and would steal half these items if I could!

    (I do kinda think, though, that you need to apologize to your aunt.)

  8. Interesting trend. What about wicker bedframes? I bought the Ikea Sundnes over 15 years ago and thought about replacing it and might reconsider now.

    1. Just looked it up, DON’T REPLACE. It’s such a sick bed. I’m currently considering a caned bed myself, which is pretty similar.

  9. Amber interiors banquette is so gorgeous, but how on earth would u keep it from getting gross?
    It seems like world’s most impractical choice for a dining space.

    1. I think, like anything when it comes to form vs function, it’s a lifestyle choice.

    2. My thoughts exactly on the beautiful banquette. Even the other pieces that might not be near food seem impractical. Don’t get me wrong, I love those lampshades but thinking about vacuuming them with an attachment every month makes me take a hard pass.

  10. Grrreat post!

    Sooo, ive been eyeing off a pendant shade at…. Kmart! Wot the? Yep. Under $20!!

    In Australia, we don’t get so much affordable furniture, light fittings, lamps, etc. as you guys in the USA do and our version of Target is pretty crap, sorry to say. They basically don’t do furniture and are currently failing as a brand/business.

    Kmart, however, is killin’ it with homewares (and a smidgen of a-bit-too-cheap furniture, it won’t last long). I’ve bought bath mats, a quality chopping board, brass tray and some other bits n bobs there over recent months and they’re all goooood.

    Me thinks Aussie Target needs Emily Henderson to set them straight!

    I have a heap of baskets in the kitchen and we use them! Daily! Also our rubbish bins in the kitchen and bathroom are both wicker. The kitchen one is lined with used shopping bags and bought rubbish bags when we run out – basically, it’s open topped and is emptied after cooking dinner each day, so no smelliness. (I can’t get my head around garbage disposals in the kitchen sink! Not a thing in Australia. Plus, wot happened to composting, people?!?) Maybe that’s why people have this flush and forget attitude?!? Seriously, dry your clothes in the sun and breeze and compost your scraps. Boom!

    Back to wicker … we replaced our roof in 2017, very old glazed tiles to Colourbond, and I’ve been waaaaaiting to buy two comfy wicker chairs to go on our verandah to complement the swing seat. This fantastic, funny and fully-timely post has nudged me in the trigger direction. Thanks! ☺

    1. Wow, you don’t have disposals in Australia?! BUT YES, get those wicker chairs. Your veranda will thank you.

      1. I’m a fellow Aussie and have never seen a disposal in real life. In fact I can’t even quite imagine it.. where does the food go???

      2. Where, exactly, do you suppose all the garbage disposed of down the drain?? Hhmmmm?
        It goes into the system, with all its nutrients that, in turn, cause harmful alfal blooms, fish kills, pollution…yada yada.
        A lot of countries still send their waste into the ocean in underwater pipelines that people on the beaches can’t see.
        So, effectively, you’re swimming in whatever goes down your drain (or toilet).

  11. Team wicker! I definitely lean towards rattan and wicker. Here in Florida we are lucky there is such an abundance of vintage wicker and rattan style (modern looking and white beauty) that works really well with modern and of course boho.

    1. I hope the production designers hoarded some of those amazing wicker prop pieces, haha

  12. All I see when I look at most modern wickers is my cat shredding it in 2 seconds flat haha! But in certain coastal applications is very pretty.

      1. It IS stunning. But also, like where the magical power source for that island lamp?

      2. Thank you! I just checked out her blog and that kitchen is done with Ikea cabinets + Semihomemade. Genius!

  13. But we’ve been seeing wicker everywhere for at least 2-3 years now, if not more? I almost feel like it’s about to blow over soon, classic as it may be, due to the total Pinterest overload by the all wood, wicker, and linen, all beige and terracotta natural decor. Just look at Kinfolk interiors or any big brand home decor catalogue in recent years, it’s unavoidable. Granted, the images featured in this post feel different and fresh to me, more grandmillenial than all-natural in style, but this kind of products have been trending for a while, so I am just surprised that you guys see wicker lamp shades and animals in modern interiors as a 2020 thing?

  14. Hi hello just stopped by to say THANKS A LOT on behalf of my bank account. Like the true EHD minion I am, I just bought the small and the large version of that UO coffee table. Just clicked right on the link and bought it. What is happening with this blog right now??

    1. Ha! but those coffee tables are so cool so I just have to say that I support this purchase 😉

    2. We wholeheartedly approve of this purchase!! My bank account and your bank account can console each other because I am also constantly #Emfluenced.

  15. I am 100% team granmillenial/eccentric English grandma and I need a wicker lamp immediately

  16. Okay so I get it … wicker is back. It’s not my favorite but I inherited some wicker when I bought my home 10 years ago. I was going to finally give it the heave ho. I don’t hate it Or love it. It’s just there lol . I just thought it was dated. How do you judge if the wicker you have is a do or a serious don’t!?

    1. Hm, the do/don’t standard is a hard one. I think you just decide if you like it or not. But know that some of it is highly collectible and surely someone, somewhere wants it if you don’t. For tables or other furniture pieces there are even restorers who will repair and recondition…but totes Marie Kondo this ‘trend’

  17. I’ve been seeing sooo much wicker for the last couple years. I am definitely on board but do fear over saturation.

    How do you guys feel about white wicker? I have a retro bedside table with white wicker accents (that I got for free on the side of the road!) and I love it but do fear it is too grandmas-beach-house-that-is-actually-in -the-suburbs.

  18. I absolutely think both Emily and Valinda are right (we want to counteract all the shiny/sleek/new surfaces AND we want to feel safe like we are at our grandma’s house.

    I also think it’s because there is a HUGE backlash happening right now around plastic production and consumption. Anyone who has seen Blue Planet on Netflix or heard David Attenborough talk about this realizes that it’s hurting our planet in a tangible way that’s easier to notice than a lot of “far away” climate change disasters. By 2050, it’s estimated that there will be more plastic in the ocean (by weight) than fish. We dump literal TONS of plastic into the ocean ANNUALLY. People are waking up to their own plastic consumption and are trying to reduce it by buying in bulk, refusing extra plastic packaging, and alerting companies to their frustration when products are packaged in plastic needlessly. Coke use to come in glass bottles, and you could return them for money back to the company. Now Coje refuses to go back to that system, because they are more concerned about their bottom line and are not being held accountable for their contribution to all the pollution and this climate emergency.

    As part of this backlash, I think more thrifty, vintage, and eco-friendly decor items are becoming more popular. People are realizing their consumption habits need to change, and that means refusing what isn’t necessary, and buying second-hand. Saving things from landfills, or at least choosing decor that can be composted is more appealing now.

  19. This is a general comment about the redesign. There is lots to love (yay nav!), but the right bar of ads is so distracting. On a tablet, it’s a third of the page — and as a result the story images are now so small they are hard to fully appreciate and competing with clashing brands. It’s really letting the content down. Hope this is tweakable b/c it’s killing the vibe! Otherwise though there is tons to love in the refresh

  20. Take a look at Svenskt Tenn – Josef Frank was utilizing wicker in lamps etc. back then and it’s timeless gorgeousness!

  21. I was an antique wicker dealer for 33 years! And, it was so hot(guess kids now say “sick?! ) I couldn’t find and sell it fast enough. Live in a house in FL and one in upstate NY with lots if it..all mixed with traditional furniture.
    And since I was featured in USA Today, some magazines , and home onlarge house tour ,guess the “look” was acceptable! Sure was and still is to me! Wish though I could sell some if it as we are downsizing. Any suggestions? Have tons ,even a 3 piece bedroom set! Loved the article. But , I prefer the much better made!

  22. Hi! This is a side question – but do you know what color the kitchen cabinets are in the first picture?I love it!

  23. “We’re surrounded by fast, shiny, and new all the time, which makes us yearn for those connections back to the natural world. ”

    John Naisbitt referred to this phenomenon as “high tech, high touch” back in the 80s. Of all the things he predicted, I find that one to stay consistent.

  24. I’ve seen some very chic cane and wicker dining chairs lately that I’m seriously eyeing for my small dining room redo. There’s just something about it that is so classic and comforting. I lean toward old things generally speaking. I have to constantly check myself and temper my tendency to go overboard on vintage or antique furniture. I love that these new pieces I’m seeing let me have the best of both worlds. Old classic feelz with new modern silhouettes and I’m totally here for it.

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