What is Wrought Iron Furniture?

Sheri Cyprus

Wrought iron furniture is furniture made from wrought, or soft, iron. Both indoor and outdoor styles of furniture are made from wrought iron. Patio furniture, dining chairs, and different types of tables are all available in this sturdy and popular type of decorative iron.

A wrought iron headboard.
A wrought iron headboard.

Many pieces of wrought iron furniture feature elaborately twisted and bent metal shapes. Since wrought iron is so soft, it is easy to shape when it is heated, or forged, until it is red hot. Both handheld and machine steam hammers are used to work the iron into chair frames, table tops and other furniture parts. Hammering the hot iron gives it its unique, sort of scaly, coarse texture.

Due to the softness of wrought iron, it can easily be heated and shaped into various shapes.
Due to the softness of wrought iron, it can easily be heated and shaped into various shapes.

Outdoor furniture made from wrought iron is classic and very popular. Wrought iron patio furniture usually has a coating to resist rusting. Some iron outdoor furniture is made with winter storage and space considerations in mind, as it comes in flat packaging or folding styles to be assembled. Wrought iron bistro sets have two chairs and a small table and these are popular for smaller decks and apartment balconies.

The great thing about wrought iron furniture, other than its sturdiness and elegant, decorative appeal, is its versatility. For example, a wrought iron bistro set used outdoors on a patio may also work well indoors in an apartment-sized kitchen. Some wrought iron dining sets are made for inside use, if they have glass table tops. Wrought iron dining chairs are very sturdy and solid.

Baker's racks made from wrought iron are often a great look in a kitchen that has a wrought iron dining set. Traditionally used to store baking supplies, baker’s racks can store canister jars of food, cookbooks and other items such as houseplants. A wrought iron kitchen island could be a good alternative to wooden kitchen islands in areas that suit the embellished, dramatic dark look of wrought iron furniture. Kitchen islands offer extra space for preparing food and may also have extra seating and counter space for dining.

Glass-topped coffee tables and sofa tables are common indoor types of wrought iron furniture. Some of these iron tables are upscale and quite expensive while simpler styles without a lot of scrollwork, or curvy ironwork, may be quite affordable. Cast iron is not used for furniture-making, as it is brittle and breaks easily, unlike wrought iron.

Outdoor chairs and benches for public use have historically been made of wrought iron.
Outdoor chairs and benches for public use have historically been made of wrought iron.

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Discussion Comments


@Melonlity -- there are some things that can be done and none of them are too hard.

First of all, it is a very good idea to minimize the exposure of that furniture to water. If you throw metal out and your yard and just leave it there, what is going to happen? That's right -- it's going to get rained on and wrought iron that is regularly wet will rust over time. If you don't want to store it when the furniture is not in use, make sure it's moved to a spot under a covered patio or take other protective measures.

Second, head down to your favorite hardware store and ask about how you can treat your wrought iron furniture with zinc. A lot of manufacturers do this because zinc will rust before your iron furniture will -- it is sacrificial in that regard. The chances are good you can extend the life of your wrought iron furniture by treating it when it needs it.

Third, be very careful of scratches. Even a small one can lead to a lot of rust and the destruction of your furniture. If your furniture gets scratched, make sure to treat it (perhaps a bit of primer and some touchup paint will provide sufficient protection).


Wrought iron furniture is almost perfect for outdoor use -- it's sturdy, looks appropriate in a yard and can be quite durable. A major problem, however, is that it is prone to rusting. Sure, anti-rust materials are used to treat outdoor, iron furniture, but the protection is hardly permanent. If the finish is scratched, the iron will be exposed to the elements. Also, treatments tend to wear off or become less effective over time.

See? It's almost perfect for outdoor use. What are some ways to protect wrought iron furniture from the elements?

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