Written by Terry Smith
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UK’s best garden rattan sofa sets tested to last furniture for outdoor garden use
This article was last updated on August 8th, 2022 at 5:52 am
After testing these rattan sofa sets in my garden I have to tell you one thing that stands out above all: no two garden rattan sofa sets are the same. And whilst my favourite style in testing is the corner seats, my kids loved the stools that often come with these fashionable looking designs. The next thing I noticed was the wide range in quality. Some of the sets I tested were in the £1500 – £2000 range right the way down to sets on offer around £500. Amazingly, some of the lower end sets had all the charm and most of the quality but some of the set up and assembly really did upset me! Some brilliant, others absolutely shocking 😀 There are definitely bargains to be had, just like the garden day beds – so before I bought and tested some of them, I had a good look for a broad spectrum of the rattan sofa market. In the end I decided this budget corner rattan sofa set I tested was the best for outdoor use and quality:
PRO TIP: From extensive testing I soon realised some of the assembly fees and then subsequent packaging removal costs are an absolute bargain. It takes a couple of hours and in some cases to setup these rattan sofa sets – and some of them you really need two people as well as a cordless drill or impact driver to save you serious time!
Best rattan sofa sets – top picks from testing:
Backyard Furniture Barcelona Luxury 10 Seater Casual Dining Rattan Garden Set with Cushions in grey – [personally tested and proven]
EVRE Rattan Outdoor Garden Furniture Set – best alternative and budget garden sofa set
Azuma Monaco 5 Piece Grey Rattan Garden Furniture Set
bigzzia Garden Furniture Set 5PC Rattan Modular Corner Sofa Set
EVRE Rattan Outdoor Garden Furniture Set – 6 seater
vidaXL Outdoor Lounge Set 16 Piece Poly Rattan Brown Garden Furniture Seat
Setting up and assembling rattan garden sofa sets
The one thing you’re not prepared for with the setup of these sofas, without question is the confusion and it doesn’t matter what one you go for, all of the sudden you look back at that setup cost you dismissed and think ‘why did I try to save a few quid’ 😀 And that was my thoughts being an advanced DIY’er 🙂
Let me tell you though, once I did start to work my way through the smaller seats and reduced the overall number of pieces I started to feel good. Here’s a look at those little seats that gave me the confidence I needed 🙂
Let’s take a look at a typical assembly and what you’re likely to find. The first thing is you’ll notice when unpacking the fixings they are all Allen keys or hexagonal bits if you’re like me and you use a cordless drill or impact driver. As well as the odd few bolts mixed in where they haven’t been able to weld them to the frame. If you don’t understand what I mean, here’s a picture of that which will help:
One massive tip is to remember these panels are not quite perfectly square, or when you assemble them on a less than perfectly square surface it can pull them out a bit. So when you’re presented with a panel that needs bolting both sides, put both bolts in loosely first and then tighten both sides a litle bit at a time. If you don’t do this, the bolts are unlikely to align anywhere near as easily as they otherwise might. Here’s a look at that:
Talking of the bolts, I needed two extensions on my impact driver whilst I was setting this up to get the right angle that stopped me from shearing the bolts. or having to push the chuck too close to the rattan which would have damaged it. If you don’t understand what I mean please take a look here:
One thing you’ll need two people for is the metal hooks. The frames are joined by solid metal hooks and eyes at the bottom, and nuts and bolts at the top, getting the two sections to align and slot together can be a bit of a stressful moment. This needs two people to lift and in fact I learned my lesson the hard way. I did a little bit of damage to the rattan when I was lifting. I really should have put some cardboard from the packaging under the set to stop that.
Apart from that the only other thing to do is pop your cushions on. I am pleased to report all of the stools had nice cushion ties that hold them in place. Just a loop and a fob that slots through it almost like a grapple and elastic hoop. Simple but effective to hold the cushions in place:
And because the hoop is elastic, as the kids invariably jump about there is a good bit of give that stops the holder from automatically tearing so a nice design.
The last piece of advice I have from setup is to familiarise yourself with all the components before jumping straight in. This can save you big headaches with regards to using the wrong bolts 🙂
What I learned from hands on testing of garden rattan sofa sets
Unsurprisingly from testing a few of these lovely rattan sofa sets I learned some important basics that hold true for all garden sofa sets. It seems obvious, but one of the most important things to do is use your cover whenever possible, and if you’re not supplied with one, be sure to buy one separately! Being lazy is the quickest way to ruin your sofa set, especially if you have lovely cream covers 🙁 And then there’s the issue of longevity – let’s get into it shall we:
Use the cover whenever you can and especially when it might rain
Yeah seems obvious doesn’t it. But when you’re having a few drinks and a bbq relaxing in the garden the last thing on your mind is actually getting the garden sofa set covered up. Which you pay for in no time at all. And let’s point out it’s not just the rain that is your enemy. Seagulls and pigeons seem to use my garden sofa set as an aiming target akin to that of an archer’s target! OK, that was a bit over the top but after you’ve spent a load of money buying one any dirtiness feels exponentially worse than it is! A waterproof cover will protect the frame from rusting to a degree as well, and if you’ve opted for real rattan, definitely improve the lifespan of your garden sofa set
And here’s absolute clear proof a quality sofa cover is working – look how much moisture it’s trapping on the surface. I am pleased to tell you absolutely no water seeped through either:
You can see the beads of water are forming – it’s working just like a quality varnish that repels water.
Darker colour cushions are better
After having various sofa sets I found that not all cushions are equal. Some have a propensity to repel water with ease. Whilst others were far too absorbant. And this is why I say dark cushions are better, and that is because they give you half a chance of hiding up a bit of dirt or discolouration. Here’s a look at how my dark cushions look after a whole summer and then a look at the light ones.
Now as you can see below, I dare say there’s this much soiling on the dark ones but I just can’t see it when I compare to the lighter – especially a glass of wine or blackcurrant juice.
The bottom line is, if you intend to go for a lighter cushion then absolutely you want to get yourself a petrol pressure washer, or at a minimum an electric pressure washer to blast them clean. Hang them up to dry – I found my retractable washing line could just about cope with a full set
Don’t expect miracles from rattan effect – you get what you pay for
One thing that both annoyed me but opened my eyes to these cheaper rattan garden sofa sets is just how weak the rattan effect is if mistreated. In my case on installation and assembly I scratched the corner of my sofa as I attempted to life the two main sections together. You have to be realistic and realise the rattan effect is basically a high strength plastic. It’s absolutely fine, but if you’re overly rough it won’t hold up. Look at the damage I did to this set when I set it up:
If I zoom out a bit you can see it’s barely noticeable but it is very annoying when brand new! No good blaming the manufacturer – all my fault. I’d recommend using a soft base like the cardboard packaging it’s supplied with to avoid this if I were you!
That’s the main pitfalls that I’ve discovered from testing and assembling. With that in mind, here’s a look at the best garden rattan sofa sets:
Best rattan garden seating
The best rattan garden seating will give you a stunning classic look that doesn’t feel out of place even in contemporary setting. It should be well built, easy to assemble, resistant to water damage as much as possible, and maintain it’s character through a hot summer with plenty of UV exposure. You can expect these qualities from the best rattan garden eating in the UK.
Below, we have picked out some of the top rated rattan corner sofas you can currently get your hands on, and tested them out to see which really are the best out there. So, if you’re interested in getting your hands on the best waterproof, rattan corner sofa; read on.
1. Backyard Furniture Barcelona Luxury 10 Seater Casual Dining Rattan Garden Set with Cushions in grey
Back when I initially rated these garden sofa sets last year I had the EVRE as top pick but as its direct competitor I prefer the Backyard Furniture Barcelona this time around. Why? Loads of good reasons. For a start, the price difference – there isn’t much in it but you get far more for your money when comparing the two directly but with the Barcelona here you are getting a full quality table (so a full garden table and chair set as well) that you can seat at least a family of 8 and easily 6 adults can eat at the same time. They are without question direct competitors when considering the price point but the Barcelona is winning hands down.
In terms of setup I ran through above – it’s not bad but like all the cheaper sets you will have a few struggles. The additional 70 quid for the delivery team to install starts to feel like a bargain as you open up the boxes, but once you clock on to the fact that the table is one box, and the remainder of the seating and stools is the other, it all starts to fall into place. And there are obvious easy wins like the stools being obvious in terms of which parts are required so you can get them out the way quickly.
Now what’s going to infuriate you (or at least it did me. Notice the stickers that label the parts? Well, for me they had fallen off in some cases which meant I had to work with the parts that I actually knew the labels to be correct first. Now, I don’t know if this was because I had bought the sofa and was busy testing other products so left this outside for a couple of weeks and it got damp, or it’s genuinely a problem – if you take the plunge and buy this (you won’t be disappointed), please let me know if this happens for you too as I’ll update this with a much more stern warning!
Apart from that one issue we loved the set. You can hardly believe it’s £500 when compared to what else is available at the moment. Here’s a look once I finished setting it up – you could easily be forgiven for thinking this is one of the £900 range, perhaps even more:
The seating itself is very comfortable. In fact it is much more comfortable than the rivals in this review. Why? The pillows for your back are padded and plump. So what it gives up in aesthetics and modern straight edge design, it more than compensates for in practical comfort which for a young family as we are, is far more important. I have no doubt the EVRE looks better, but that doesn’t concern me as much as usability.
The rattan is rattan effect. If you check my installation and assembly guide above you’ll see that I am not happy with myself as I damage one of the arms before I’ve even sat on it. But that is definitely my fault – take a look at my don’t expect miracles from rattan effect section to see what I mean here.
And one other thing, that I need to draw your attention to. If you like super comfort then you might well want to look at the bigzzia – not for the main seating but the armchair is particularly comfortable. If this set is missing anything, it’s that!
The table s faultless. It was easy to put together, extremely sturdy and the glass top is tempered glass meaning it’s very tough and durable. The suckers work perfectly – no worries of the table top sliding about if you’re on a slight incline as I am:
I have absolutely no qualms recommending this garden rattan sofa set – you just can’t lose at the price point!
2. EVRE Rattan Outdoor Garden Furniture Set
The EVRE California rattan corner sofa set is definitely one of the best value for money out there, offering great looks, durability, and comfort that you would normally pay much more for.
This is a four seater corner sofa, but has a modular design so you could quite possibly purchase two of them and fit them together as you wish, if you need a larger set of garden furniture.
The seven cushions that come with the EVRE California, are all nice and thick and are extremely comfy to laze about on. You don’t have to worry about putting your dirty feet up on the stool section either; these cushions are made from polyester and are really hard-wearing, being resistant to dirt, water, and all kinds of weather. If they do start to look a bit worse for wear over time, you can simply remove them and throw them and give them a wash
Included with the corner sofa is a glass topped rattan coffee table that not only looks great, but is also a decent size, and certainly enough for you to rest your drinks, snacks, magazines, power banks, etc. on it.
Arriving as a flat pack, you’re going to need someone to help you put this together, but it’s not overly difficult and can be achieved in a reasonable amount of time with two people. All the fittings are included in the pack, and there are also fasteners in there to lock the modular pieces into place once you’re satisfied with your build.
Although built to be weatherproof, I still wouldn’t ever recommend leaving furniture like this outdoors in the winter, so you’ll need somewhere to store it, or even just buy a good cover and store the cushions. If you do want to move the sofa into the garage or wherever, it comes apart into sections, and is quite lightweight, making it easy to carry to its destination.
Available in black and grey, or brown and cream, colour schemes with both looking fantastic, you can’t really go wrong with the EVRE California waterproof, rattan corner sofa set, and it truly deserves our top spot for sheer value for money.
3. bigzzia Garden Furniture Set 5PC Rattan Modular Corner Sofa Set
Another low-cost, yet good quality corner sofa set with those eye-catching rattan furniture features, is this 5-piece offering from Bigzzia. Consisting of 2 main sections, a large cushioned footstool, armchair, and glass-topped coffee table, you get enough space to sit 4-5 people comfortably, or just 2—3 sprawling out and making the most of it.
There are high arms at either end of the main sofa, and the armchair also has the same, and I personally find this very comfortable, but it might not be to everyone’s liking. The back cushions are extremely comfortable, really allowing you to sink in there, and although the seat cushions aren’t quite as thick, they too provide a lot of comfort.
Assembly for this model wasn’t as easy as the EVRE, and there were a couple of alignment issues that took a bit of thought and ‘muscle’ to sort out, but we got there in the end. Once fully assembled, the ratan frame did feel nice and sturdy though, so it was worth it in the end. I would just make sure you’ve got some spare nuts and bolts, screws, etc. lying around to make things less frustrating.
Other than that annoying, but easily solved issue, this Bigzzia waterproof, rattan corner sofa set is really good value. The PU rattan will last for a long time, the steel frame keeps everything sturdy, and it is very comfortable to both sit and lie on.
Again, the cushions are weather resistant, but that doesn’t mean you should leave them out at night, or you will end up with problems with mold and rotting. This isn’t exclusive to the cushions on this model either, this advice should be followed with all of these rattan corner sofa sets.
At around 600 pounds for a set such as this, you expect a few teething issues, and we experienced ours in the assembly. I have to say though, that I’ve had customers buy this from us and have no issues at all, so maybe we got unlucky with the quality control at the factory in regards to our particular model.
4. EVRE Rattan Outdoor Garden Furniture Set
Our second review of an EVRE rattan corner sofa set is ideal for people who are looking for something a bit larger than the two products we just featured above.
From arm rest to arm rest, the main sofa sections measure 284cm when fixed together This, when combined with the two large footrest sections, gives you a whole lot of seating space, and the fact that this furniture has a modular design means that you can experiment with the layout to get things just as you want them. At 75cm square, by 33cm high, you won’t be fighting for space on the rattan coffee table either.
Just like with their California model, EVRE have given this one 8cm thick cushions that are incredibly comfortable. The moment you lay back into them, a smile just spreads across your face and your eyes close in relaxed bliss.
As you would expect, the cushions also share the same level of resistance to dirt and weather, and also can be removed and washed with a damp cloth at your leisure.
There were no struggles putting this set together from the flat pack it arrived as. Everything was included in the packaging, and the instructions were clear and easy to follow. You’ll still need a helping hand, but it is very easy to manage.
Once assembled it feels very stable and strong, yet surprisingly lightweight when you want to move the modular pieces around.
As with most EVRE garden furniture products, this is a fantastic looking rattan sofa set, available in black with grey cushions, or brown with cream, and despite being lower down on the price range than many of its competitors, it has a level quality that allows it to more than hold its own.
5. Azuma Monaco 5 Piece Grey Rattan Garden Furniture Set
The Azuma Monaco 5-piece rattan sofa set has a couple of little design features that make it stand out from the hundreds of very similar products out there in this price bracket.
The first one, although admittedly only a very small thing, is still something I think people will appreciate, and that is that the coffee table has a second shelf underneath, and this of course allows you to keep things like books, phones, chargers, etc. at arm’s reach, but out of the direct sunlight.
The second feature that I really appreciated with the Monaco set, is that the footstool has a storage compartment under the cushion, so you can have towels, kids toys, or that all important weather cover in there, just where you need it.
The cushions on this rattan corner sofa set are nice and thick and as comfortable as the ones found on the EVRE products we are featuring today. These cushions, backed up with a solid aluminum frame, ensure that you can relax in pure comfort while enjoying the summer weather.
Like many other rattan sofa sets, this one is modular and therefore you can play around with the layout to match the space you have available. Once happy, there are fasteners included to keep it all in place, and they do a great job of just that, with no unwanted moving around of the individual sections.
If there is a downside to this otherwise cracking corner sofa set, it’s that it takes a while to put together. It’s not quite as frustrating as the Bigzzia model, and we didn’t have alignment problems, it’s just that, for some reason, it took us longer to assemble. Still, with two of us on board, it didn’t take much longer than around two and a half hours, with a fair portion of that being used on the coffee table.
At the end of the day, this is a very fairly priced corner sofa set that looks fantastic, has some nice little features for extra storage, and is extremely comfortable, so it’s definitely worth the few hours putting it together, I would say.
6. vidaXL Outdoor Lounge Set 16 Piece Poly Rattan Brown Garden Furniture Seat
When you see the words XL’ and ’16 piece’ in the title description, you of course start thinking that this is going to be a huge rattan corner sofa, and when you see that the price tag is around 525 pounds at the moment, you should probably be thinking it’s too good to be true, and you’d be right.
The 16 pieces that are counted include the cushions too, so in actuality, this is a six-piece modular set, if you count it as you normally would with other products. However, it is still a good size once you factor in the curved corner section and twin footrests.
At 6cm thick, the cream white cushions are comfortable enough, although not as good as some of the others mentioned in this list, and the 100% polyester material used for the covers ensures that they will last a while. Their bright colour also contrasts nicely with the brown ratan base, and this is topped off with shiny, chrome, square feet on each section of the furniture.
This furniture has a powder coated, steel frame and that gives it a lot of stability, and the PE rattan will survive the worst of the weather. Likewise, the chrome feet will no doubt stand up to rust better than powder coated metal ones, as long as the coating isn’t chipped.
The biggest drawback for me, when it comes to the VidaXL rattan corner sofa set, is to do with how low the seats are to the ground. It isn’t any problem while you’re sitting down, but it does make things a bit awkward when you go to stand up. I think this would be especially bothersome for older folk, or people who have stiff joints.
If you are young and fit, this lowness shouldn’t bother you though, and for the low price, it might be very tempting to invest in this furniture, and if that sounds like you, then go for it, I’m sure you’ll be happy with it.
Rattan sofa set buyers guide
Although we’ve covered the pros and cons of each product in our list above, there are still a few things that you should think about when buying a rattan corner sofa set, and we thought it would be helpful if we quickly remind you of them here.
What ‘waterproof’ actually means
Although many of these corner sofas are advertised as waterproof, they are, in fact, water resistant, at least when we talk about the cushions. Most cushions will take a spill of a drink and can be soaked up with a cloth or sponge before it soaks through the cover. They will also handle a light summer shower, but should never really be left out, uncovered in bad weather.
The rattan components are usually fully waterproof, being made of either a durable plastic, or being coated with something similar, so you won’t have to rush to drag it in every time there’s a dark cloud on the horizon.
Invest in a proper cover
Any product that is going to be left to the mercy of the elements will eventually fade, rot, get taken over by mould, and other negative things, even if it is made to be ‘weatherproof’. With this in mind, purchasing a good cover for your furniture is the best way to ensure it lasts and that you get your money’s worth out of it. Just like a bbq cover, the best ones have a breathable mesh that repels water. Even with a good cover, you should still bring the cushions in during the winter, but you should be safe to leave the frame out, or at least in an unheated garage, covered up. This is because water that sits has a knack of getting into places it shouldn’t!
Modular corner sofa sets can be handy
You’ve probably noticed that a lot of corner sofa sets are modular by design and, as long as the frame can be connected together and feel sturdy, this is a good thing. Why? Because it means that you can arrange the pieces as you need them to fit into the space that you’ve got available. It also gives you the option of buying two of the same set and combining them to make a larger set, so if you really have your heart set on a certain sofa, but it’s not quite big enough for you, that’s something to consider.
Make sure you’ve got someone to help you assemble your rattan corner sofa
Nearly all of these kinds of products will arrive in a flat pack, just like my hanging egg chair and garden storage bench, and to get one that comes pre-assembled will mean digging a lot deeper in your pockets, I’m afraid. So, before you buy please have it arranged with someone who has basic DIY skills, or at least some common sense, to come and help you put it together. Sometimes, the instructions on flat pack furniture can be less than fantastic, and sometimes, downright frustrating, but with two people, you will be able to put your heads together and get through it.
It might help to read reviews such as ours and other customer feedback too, to see which models are easier to set up if you’ve never done anything like this before. Having said that, I would expect that most people will be able to figure out the process with a bit of help, and if all else fails, there’s always YouTube.
A waterproof, rattan sofa set is the perfect way to add a touch of class and comfort to your lawn, decking, or patio this summer. They offer an alternative comfortable way to lounge around, other than a zero gravity chair or sun lounger. With a look that bridges the traditional and modern at the same time, these timeless pieces of garden furniture have never been in higher demand than they have been in recent years, so why not join the club and invest in your very own waterproof, rattan corner sofa set, and fill the neighbours and passers-by with green-eyed envy?