Wicker Buying Guide: What to look for when you buy online
A room furnished with wicker can set a comforting, romantic mood. Enjoy the company of friends and family outdoors at an intimate wicker dining set, or in a cluster of deeply cushioned wicker couches, loveseats, or even a porch swing. We sell wicker furniture from the highest quality manufacturers on the market, and most of our wicker is designed for outdoor use, enduring through season after season of pleasure.
The biggest part of your decision to buy wicker will certainly involve matching the furniture to your patio, home or garden decor. However, investing in an outdoor wicker furniture set is more than a merely aesthetic decision. Knowing a little about the history of wicker, how it is made, and how it should be used and cared for will not only help you choose high quality furniture that is made strong to endure the tests of both time and weather, but will also teach you how to protect and maintain your investment in the future.
What is Wicker?
The word wicker means 'slender, flexible twigs or branches'. Wicker furniture is made from the careful interlacing, weaving, of these pliable canes, willow branches, reeds, synthetic materials, or even spiral twists of paper. The word 'rattan' is often used interchangeably with 'wicker', but actually describes the long tough stems of the rattan palm. The word 'rattan' is also used to describe wickerwork, the characteristic weaving of these stems to make furniture and baskets.
The weaving of rattan or wicker furniture is a traditional craft, related to basket-weaving, first popularized in America during the Victorian era, when concerns about upholstered furniture being unsanitary made the clean lines and smooth surfaces of wicker a more appealing alternative. The allure of wicker skipped a few generations, only to return in a much improved variety of styles.
Today wicker design incorporates function with fashion, transgressing your grandmother's fussy-looking designs, and replacing them with large furniture with comfortable cushions and a large range of colors for both the wicker frames and their upholstery. Colors like chocolate brown, alpine green, burnt reds and warm yellows have replaced the standard cottage white wicker color in many applications. The new styles of wicker appeal to both men and women with wide seats, plush cushions and sturdy, natural sleek and simple lines.
Contemporary wicker furniture styles are offered with a great variety of nature-inspired prints, including very popular tropical toiles and botanicals. The cottage garden party look of Grandma's chintz can be updated by adding striped throw pillows, or pillows and accents with other simplified, complementary patterns and colors. Using earth-toned colors, like olive, lime, sage, marigold, lemon, amber, and even a soothing sky blue helps expand your patio space and decor by including the palette of the outdoors.
Use a neutral color palette of taupes, grays, sand, terra cotta, and grass green to provide an even more outdoorsy feel. Green is a very versatile color, blending well with dark and warm toned wickers. Adding nature-inspired accent furniture in materials like stone or linens also helps to create hints of the outdoors inside.
Or, use splashes of vibrant colors to brighten up your patio or porch. Our wicker is also available with bright, fun colors and prints that add instant cheer to your outdoor decor.
Wicker works well with upholstery, polished wood, and wrought iron. Wherever you use it, wicker adjusts to the room and makes itself at home.
Outdoor wicker is made to be more durable than indoor wicker. Since reeds and canes can mildew or rot when left outside, natural materials such as these are protected with resin coatings or paints. Some outdoor wicker is made from strong paper fibers twisted around metal wire for strength. These cords are then coated and treated with paints and treatments that seal the fibers, thus ensuring their longevity. Wicker does age over time, but with proper precautions and by positioning your wicker in more sheltered areas like covered patios and gazebos, you can decrease the chance of wear.
Resin and plastic have now been perfected to look like reeds, cane and rattan, and can withstand bad weather conditions including rain and snow. The durability of these materials and the ease with which they can be cared for have allowed wicker furniture to earn a permanent spot outdoors. Bringing them in during the winter is still good for maintaining the quality of finishes and cleanliness; just hose them down in the spring to prepare them for a summer of use.
Exercise is now recommended for more than sports conditioning. Health providers are recommending it for therapy for everything from obesity to depression. There once was a time when you saw someone exercising or working out that you could assume they were either training or conditioning themselves for participation in sports, or simply for their own physical health benefits. While that is still often the case, exercise is now used for so much more than training, or even physical health improvement. Exercise is now looked to to help treat and prevent illness. Exercise therapy has been defined as any regular physical activity that is performed to improve health, but "health" can encompass mental as well as physical health. Here we will look at various ailments and see how exercise therapy can aid in the healing or prevention of them. It is important to note that before beginning any exercise routine you should consult with your physician as to what would be appropriate for you.
Obesity: We've always known that more physical activity can help us burn those calories and either shed or prevent the onset of a few extra pounds. Daily physical activity helps to offset the daily caloric intake. To prevent weight gain, exercise as a brisk daily walk will do the trick. If your goal is not simply to prevent weight gain, but to lose what is already there you will want to progressively increase that walk, both by distance and by speed. If you are extremely overweight or out of shape do not jump into strenuous aerobic exercise. Studies have shown that the health benefits of exercise can be achieved with low intensity exercises such as stairclimbing, walking and even gardening. Low intensity exercises not only give the benefits of burning calories, they also improve strength, flexibility, cardiovascular function and your mood! Diabetes: Physical activity has actually been proven to help those suffering from diabetes. Exercise does this by improving circulation in the body and lowering blood sugar levels. Some that have suffered from diabetes were able to reduce their insulin intake after starting and sticking with an exercise program. Others that began a program when they were borderline diabetics were able to stay off medicines completely. One study has shown that when diabetics added weight training to their exercise regimen their blood sugar levels began to stabilize and their medication worked more efficiently. High Cholesterol: When we think of fighting high cholesterol, we immediately think of changing our diet, which is definitely one of the first things we need to alter. But along with adding proper nutrition to our lifestyle we should add an exercise program. How will exercise help? Exercise raises the HDL (good) cholesterol in our bloodstream. The HDL helps clear away the LDL (bad) cholesterol. Any exercise will raise HDL levels even a little, but if you want to reap the true benefits of exercise's cholesterol lowering capabilities, it is recommended that you get 30 minutes of vigorous exercise three to four times a week. Caution: The problem with this is that many people with high cholesterol have been only moderately active for some time so it is best to start out with something simple like brisk walking. Again, it is very important to speak with your physician before adding exercise to your daily routine. High Blood Pressure: Being physically active can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure by as much as 52%. The best exercise therapy to begin with for those with hypertension is walking. Stress: Exercise has long been known to be a stress reducer. Why? Vigorous activity increases our pulse rate and blood flow and helps use up the adrenaline in our bodies that is put there in stressful situations. Although vigorous or aerobic exercise works best for stress reduction, even a walk or brisk walk will help alleviate stress. Depression: Exercise can help people beat depression for a number of reasons, some of which we can prove and understand, and some of which we can't. What is proven? Physical activity and exercise causes the body to release endorphins, which are naturally occuring chemicals in the body that are known to elevate moods. Other ways exercise can help overcome depression are speculative, yet real to all of us who have experienced them. Our moods are lifted after activity because we've accomplished something we set out to do, which increases our self-esteem. Perhaps we are in a better mood because we are improving our physical appearance and condition, or simply because exercising takes our mind off the problem that was causing our depression in the first place. Regardless, we do know what can't be scientifically proven, and that is that exercise can raise our spirits. So we've seen how exercise can be used as therapy in a variety of situations, but what exercise is best? That should be decided by you and your care-giver, who knows your overall health and what your limitations may be. But let's take a look at just some of the many forms of exercises that are commonly used as therapy. Walking: Walking is probably the easiest way for a sedentary person to begin an exercise program. Anyone can do it regardless of money or space constraints and it usually is ok regardless of most physical conditions, but check with your doctor first. Aerobic activity: Any activity that raises the heart rate and sustains it for at least 20 minutes is considered aerobic, whether it's jogging alone or dancing with a class. If you are looking to greatly improve cardiovascular function or lose weight, aerobics are usually recommended. For optimum cardiovascular benefits, exercise must become a permanent part of a daily/weekly routine. However, it is imperative you get approval from your physician before starting an aerobic program, especially if you have been sedentary. Weight training: Weight training helps build muscle tone, condition the body, and reduce stiffness. For years it has also been known to strengthen our bones and help prevent osteoperosis or bone loss in post menopausal women. As mentioned previously, it has also been claimed to regulate blood sugar in diabetics.
There are many other forms of exercise that can be explored if you are looking for a type of exercise therapy. There is everything from water aerobics or aquacize to T'ai Chi or Tae Kwon Do in the martial arts fields. When choosing an exercise as therapy you need to first consult your doctor and together determine the results you are looking for. Do you want to improve your mental well-being? Then any form of physical activity will do. Are you looking to increase muscle tone or improve cardiovascular function" Then your therapy needs to get more specific. Be sure to choose an exercise therapy that you will enjoy and be able to stick with. Above all, remember that regardless of the results you are seeking from your therapy, any exercise is better than none.
Now the next time you see someone jogging down the street remember, they may not necessarily be training for the next local marathon. They may be trying to lower their cholesterol, get their blood sugar in check or simply forget about their stressful day.
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