Wicker vs Metal Outdoor Furniture

Wicker vs. Metal Outdoor Furniture

When it’s time to update your backyard design, there is much to take into consideration. It can be challenging to find outdoor furniture that’s stylish, durable, and within your budget. Two of the best available options are wicker and metal patio furniture. Check out this breakdown of both types to help you make an informed decision for your home.

What is Wicker?

Contrary to popular belief, the term “wicker” refers to the weaving process rather than the material. This opens up a world of possibilities for those who love the classic look of wicker furniture since you can find styles, colors, and maintenance levels to suit your needs. Rattan is the most common organic fiber used to make wicker. Pliable and easy to work with, this fiber comes from palm stems. While lovely, this is best for indoor use since it tends to deteriorate with excessive moisture and sunlight. Manufacturers often use synthetics like vinyl and resin for outdoor wicker furniture. They also use an aluminum frame for added reinforcement. These pieces have the same chic look of their natural counterparts with the added benefit of being weather- and fade-resistant.

What is Metal?

You have several options when it comes to metal outdoor furniture. Each one has pros and cons, but the best choice comes down to your personal preference.
  • Stainless Steel: Sleek and on-trend, stainless steel resists rust and wear with proper care. However, it is quite heavy, making it difficult to move and store.
  • Wrought Iron: Probably the sturdiest of the three, wrought iron furniture stays put in windy conditions. Timeless and sophisticated, well-maintained tables and chairs can last for decades. Frequent upkeep is necessary to prevent corrosion, though.
  • Aluminum: Metal patio furniture made from aluminum is affordable and comes in an array of colors. These lightweight pieces require minimal effort to rearrange, but dents and damage are more likely to occur.

Durability Makes a Difference

Durability is the key to determining whether wicker or metal patio furniture is right for your deck or balcony. Since some materials are better suited for outdoor use, this should be your first consideration when choosing outdoor seating or dining collections.


While rattan holds up best in screened porches and climate-controlled interiors, resin wicker is the better choice for furniture that needs to withstand the elements. Thanks to a protective lacquer, this furniture resists fading and rot. Plus, if damage does occur, repairs are as simple as reweaving any loose fibers.


Metal patio furniture also varies in durability depending on the material. For example, aluminum is light, so you run the risk of it blowing away in a storm. However, a thin powder coating gives it the same resistance to water and sunlight as stainless steel. Iron, on the other hand, rusts rather easily, so pieces require care when exposed to rain or snow.


Regardless of their outstanding strength, both wicker and metal outdoor furniture needs some upkeep. Resin wicker requires the least maintenance with occasional brushing and an additional lacquer coat if it starts to lose its glossy finish. Wipe away rust as it forms, repaint chips, and buff out scuff marks on iron, aluminum, or steel models.

What to Consider When Decorating

One of the most exciting parts about choosing between wicker vs. metal patio furniture is the many ways in which you can decorate. It’s important to consider where you live, your style, and color preferences.


Location is everything when you’re trying to decide between wicker or metal outdoor furniture. If your home is in an area that gets high winds, you may want to avoid lightweight pieces like rattan or aluminum. Alternatively, saltwater and humidity can corrode iron and steel. Additionally, metal matches the ambient temperature, so hot weather can make for a scorching seat.


The resin used for most outdoor wicker furniture comes in a variety of hues, including natural-looking neutrals. Most metal patio furniture is also available in an assortment of colors, particularly aluminum, which can have a solid or textured finish. Wrought iron, however, typically comes in its signature matte black.


Highly versatile, both types of furniture coordinate with a range of styles. While many associate wicker with coastal and traditional decor, much of today’s selection works well in contemporary designs, too. You can opt for darker shades and clean lines to achieve this look. The streamlined silhouettes of metal patio sets go well with modern exteriors, but the wide array of colors also creates some exciting design opportunities. Select brighter tints for a fun, eclectic backyard, or choose earthier tones to create a tropical vibe. Of course, wrought iron always has a timeless appeal.

Exploring Your Options

Whether you pick wicker or metal patio furniture, there are plenty of ways to decorate your deck or porch. Check out these suggestions for some inspiration:
  • Poolside Fun: Enjoy long afternoons in the sun with a set of aluminum chaises and a chic metal patio set featuring an umbrella for shade.
  • Cabana Getaway: Kick back for cocktail hour with a wicker bistro table and coordinating barstools.
  • Rustic Retreat: Searching for metal fire pit ideas? Position wrought iron chairs around the fire for a cozy spot to relax under the stars.
  • Traditional Lounge Area: Gather friends and family with a comfy wicker sectional set with plush cream cushions and a dark brown finish.
  • Mix and Match: Get the best of both worlds by blending materials. Try pairing a classic wicker table with a couple of modern metal patio chairs.

Deciding Between Wicker vs. Metal Patio Furniture

Wicker and metal outdoor furniture each has unique benefits, so your final decision should come down to which type works best for your lifestyle and tastes. Both are versatile and have weather-resistant, long-lasting options that will allow you to enjoy your selection for years to come. Hopefully, this analysis helps you find the perfect fit.
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