What is a fabric wall covering?

Wall fabric is fabric that is applied to a wall in lieu of any other covering including paint, wallpaper and wood paneling. Fabric wall coverings are used for their sound deadening qualities as well as aesthetics. With the wide variety of fabric that is suitable for this use, the textures and patterns allow the designer to create a very unique effect. When fabric is used as a wall covering it can be applied directly to a wall or first fastened to a frame and suspended as panels. When fabric is used as an acoustic absorber it is paired with a sound absorbing material which is applied to the surface first. Although technically not a fabric wall covering, a tapestry can be used as such.

Decorators apply the fabric to the walls using starch as the adhesive. Once the fabric has been cut into manageable strips it is soaked thoroughly in liquid starch and then applied directly to the wall. Once the decorator has removed the wrinkles and bubbles, as the starch dries the fabric clings to the wall. This method of adhesion is considered temporary and the fabric can easily be removed from the wall. Many people who live in apartments where management does not allow painting or conventional wallpaper use this approach to decorating. It is also a method used by window dressers who are constantly changing the display window theme.

Panel fabric wall coverings are another option which is frequently used. A frame is constructed, usually out of wood strips or plastic shapes. Once the frame has been completed, fabric is stretched over it prior to attaching it to the wall. Panels of this nature are available readymade but most decorators and homeowners prefer to make their own as they can select fabric which suits the situation perfectly. If sound deadening is the issue, panels are ideal because the cavity resulting from the frame construction can accommodate soundproofing materials such as foam. Once the frame is complete it can be attached to the wall with screws or staples, depending on the weight and purpose.

Fabric wall art and decorative tapestries are also used to liven up a living space. As these are not designed to cover the entire wall the method of suspension is different, they are often hung in a similar manner to a painting.

A wide range of fabric wall coverings are readily available from Wolf Gordon. Silk and suede are two perennial favorites and are available in a host of dramatic colors.