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Ikea's Buskbo Rattan Armchair Reviewed

Updated: Oct 29, 2021

The moment I first laid eyes on this chair one Sunday scroll through my Google feed, I knew I had to have it. It reminded me of a modern spin of the rattan peacock chairs we grew up with. The ones that would sit perched in a sitting room or sun room that you weren't supposed to sit in. It reminded me of my childhood home. Saturday morning Looney Tunes eating Frosted Flakes cereal while my parents were sleeping. The warmth of the early sun hitting my skin through the window. I just loved the modern profile and the curves, I had to have this chair.

I asked a few friends of their opinions, but I already knew I would purchase it. It was giving me all the light and natural, summery vibes. Following a stressful Monday at the corporate office, I decided to go for it, as I am finding myself stress shopping lately. I enlisted two of my friends and we traveled over to the local urban IKEA for lunch. I was really looking forward to the new salmon balls but they were out, so smoked salmon salad for me as usual. I also got the blueberry cheesecake which was too sweet and I ate all of it. Anyways, we were on a bit of a time crunch being it our corporate lunch and all so we took all the shortcuts straight to the warehouse.

The chair is not even on the shelves yet, so I enlisted the info desk to find it. It was in the back warehouse and I would need to get take a paper slip to the cashier and then retrieve the chair from the warehouse. This process was turning into the DMV of furniture. I told the cashier my apprehensions as I was making this purchase on a total whim after having only seen the chair online never felt it or sat in it. He reminded me of the one-year return policy if I'm not happy. Well in that case, I guess I'll go for it.

The chair fit easily into my compact SUV with the seats down. I probably couldn't have fit 2 if I wanted to. My initial thoughts after unwrapping were that it was too prickly and had too many splinters to the point that I was worried about the safety of my preschooler and I felt as though I should return it. I looked at other retailers Target, World Market and Pier 1 and nothing that I saw had the same clean modern lines for a comparable price point. I was determined to have this piece in my home & I didn't want to return it so I figured I'd try to make it work.

After some researching, I found that Rattan is a naturally renewable palm harvested mainly from Southeast Asia. This chair is raw rattan and needs proper hydration and protective care. OH BOY, what did I sign up for? I already have a kid, a dog, a cat, a husband, some houseplants, I really don't need one more thing to try to keep alive. But I like a challenge.

One site advised making a glycerin soap and water mixture and spray the concoction onto the chair to soften and rehydrate the splinting fibers. I mixed some Meyers hand soap and water and went to town. After 2 -3 hours I did notice a little bit of difference. The splinters weren't needle sharp anymore, but still unsafe for a 4 year old. More research led me to linseed oil. The site recommended a light sanding beforehand. Once realizing this was even an option I got to sanding with a 120 grit bar in the direction of the fibers. What a difference!! I even got a little helper's assistance.

Oh My Gah! The sanding was just what this chair needed. Now let me say I don't think that a newly purchased chair should need to go through a facelift but this raw, sustainable chair needed it and for the price point I didn't mind doing 15 minutes of gentle sanding.

I decided to take the last bit of advice from my research and apply boiled linseed oil once a year to protect, soften and moisturize this natural chair. Linseed oil is an environmentally friendly, all-natural, yellowish oil made with flax seeds. It has an earthy, grassy smell and does alter the color of the wood to a slightly golden color. Warning: if you truly appreciate the natural color and texture of rattan than skip this process as it does alter the appearance slightly. Since I live in the desert lacking the natural humidity and moisture levels necessary to keep this furniture in its optimal condition, I felt this step was necessary for me.

For three days in a row, I brushed on a coat of boiled linseed oil, wiped off the excess with a cotton cloth, and let the chair absorb the oils overnight for a total of 3 coats. This was my first time treating furniture with linseed oil and I think it will be the only wood treatment I will use from here on out.

This last step was necessary, it literally gave my chair life and I no longer have any reservations. I'm so happy with the results and I fully appreciate the beauty and natural properties of my chair. It's now nestled nicely in my front window, surrounded by plants and nature. I hope my son grows up with Saturday morning memories of playing with his hot wheels and watching Puppy Dog Pals with the sun hitting his skin while his parents are still sleeping (god willing, we're not quite there yet) around this chair.

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