Wallpaper is a classic decorating choice that can instantly transform the look and feel of a room. But lately, more creative options beyond traditional wallpaper have emerged, like one interior design enthusiast’s recent discovery: fabric that mimics a cool wallpaper design. Keep reading to learn more about using fabric as “faux wallpaper” for a stylish, customizable look.

The Revelation of Fabric Wallpaper

Interior design blogger Jane Doe recently shared images on her popular design site of an intriguing find: a roll of fabric with a bold, geometric print that resembled a hip, modern wallpaper pattern. She explained that she came across the fabric at a local craft store and was struck by the idea of using it as removable wallpaper.

The fabric features a graphic black and white pattern that creates the illusion of 3D triangles protruding from the walls. It provides loads of visual interest and dimension to walls, similar to a wallpaper mural or decal. But as fabric, it offers more versatility for DIY customization.

Why Use Fabric as Wallpaper?

There are several advantages to using fabric as an alternative to traditional wallpaper:


One of the major perks of fabric over wallpaper is how easily removable it is. Wallpaper can be notoriously difficult to take down, often requiring special steaming tools or solvents to strip away layers of adhesive. Fabric wallpaper, on the other hand, typically uses lightweight, non-permanent adhesives that make removal a breeze. This allows more freedom to switch up the look of a space.


Fabric offers more creative liberties to play with the scale and arrangement of a pattern. Fabric panels can be pieced together and hung in creative configurations to make a large-scale headboard, accent wall, or gallery display. You can also opt to cover an entire room or just use it selectively on certain walls as an accent. Wallpaper is more limiting with its set dimensions and pattern repeats.

Cost Effectiveness

Though initial investments may be comparable, fabric can often be more budget-friendly in the long run. Wallpaper requires hiring a professional installer for best results, whereas do-it-yourselfers can easily handle attaching fabric panels on their own. And fabric is relatively easy to patch or replace sections if it gets damaged, while wallpaper may require redoing an entire wall.

Variety of Textures and Drapes

Fabric offers limitless textile options that can enhance a pattern’s aesthetic. Light, flowing sheers or billowy velvets can add dimension while smooth, taut canvases or cottons emulate the crisp look of wallpaper. The texture itself becomes an added decorative element.

Tips for Hanging Fabric Wallpaper

Ready to give this trend a try? Here are some tips for executing it successfully:

Calculate Yardage

The fabric amount needed will vary based on the dimensions of your space. To determine how much to purchase, measure the wall area you want to cover, adding about 18 inches on all sides for overlapping seams and edges. A standard width of 60″ fabric will yield about 5 yards per 10 foot wall length.

Buy some extra as a cushion for mistakes or future replacement needs. For large jobs, consider wider 90″-108″ options to minimize seams.

Select Appropriate Adhesive

Choose removable adhesives suited for the fabric type. Starch-based adhesives work for lighter cottons and linens. Heavy duty wallpaper pastes or fabric/vinyl glues provide stronger bonds for thicker textiles in high traffic areas. Avoid permanent glues.

Mind the Seams

Plan out the seam placement carefully for the least conspicuous look. Cut fabric panels larger than the wall measurements to account for pattern matching at seams. Vertical seams tend to be less noticeable than horizontals. Overlapping the edges slightly will help conceal transitions.

Smooth and Trim Excess

Use a smoothing tool like a wallpaper seam roller over edges and seams to adhere fabric smoothly and eliminate bubbles or wrinkles. For clean results, use a sharp utility knife and straightedge ruler to trim off excess fabric along ceiling, baseboard, and corner edges.

Look for Fire Safety

Check that your fabric selection meets fire safety codes for your jurisdiction. Many commercial wallpaper-type fabrics are treated with flame retardants. For added protection, choose less flammable fibers like polyester or rayon blends.

With the right preparation, almost any fabric can become a customized mural. Let your creativity run wild and enjoy the artistic possibilities!

Inspiring Examples of Fabric “Wallpaper”

If you need a bit more inspiration before taking the plunge with fabric wallpaper, have a look at these eye-catching examples:

[Insert photo grid showcasing room images with decorative fabric wallpaper installations]

Bedrooms – A wall behind the bed upholstered in dreamy metallic floral fabric lends a glam yet cozy vibe.

Living Rooms – For a modern take, bold graphic stripes make the perfect accent wall. Or try block print patterns for boho flair.

Kids’ Rooms – From whimsical pompom texture fabrics to jungle-themed cotton prints, options are endless for kids’ spaces.

Entryways – Make a first impression with oversized damask or Moroccan-style patterns as the backdrop to a foyer.

DIY Headboards – Transform a basic bed into a showpiece by covering the wall behind it with colorful ikat fabric.

Creative Displays – Show off fabric panels like art installations or room dividers by mounting them on stretcher bars or PVC pipes.

Ceiling Accents – Use light, sheer fabrics to create a canopy or circus tent effect above beds or dining areas.

Helpful Tools and Materials for Installation

To professionally install fabric wallpaper, here are some handy tools and supplies to have on hand:

  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Utility knife and/or scissors
  • Straightedge/ruler
  • Wallpaper smoother/seam roller
  • Fabric adhesive (starch-based or heavy duty options)
  • Paint roller & adhesive tray
  • Removable mounting putty/tape for positioning
  • Thumbtacks, staple gun, or fabric hooks
  • Ladder or step stool for high ceilings
  • Painter’s tape for clean edges
  • Drop cloths for protecting floors

Look for low-VOC adhesives to minimize fumes, and select mounting methods suitable for the wall surface. Thoroughly prep walls by cleaning and removing any existing wallpaper or obstacles. Use painter’s tape along trim for the cleanest finished edges.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

To ensure your fabric wallpaper looks professionally installed, sidestep these common novice mistakes:

  • Choosing overly lightweight or stretchy fabrics that won’t hold their shape on walls
  • Neglecting to pattern match at seams for a continuous look
  • Not buying enough yardage resulting in mismatched sections or skimpy coverage
  • Applying adhesive too sparingly so edges curl or fabric detaches
  • Failing to properly smooth ripples, wrinkles, and bubbles after hanging
  • Making cuts along selvage edges that cause fraying rather than using pinking shears
  • Allowing adhesive to seep through delicate fabrics causing permanent staining
  • Overlapping multiple layers causing bulges

Careful measuring, pattern planning, and adhesion will help avoid unsightly seams, puckers, and gaps for flawless results. Take it slow and make adjustments as you go until the look is just right.

Tips for Pattern Matching Like a Pro

Matching a pattern perfectly across fabric seams or panels takes patience and practice. Here are some tips to master precision pattern alignment:

  • Identify key motif points like flowers or shapes to align when butt joining fabric edges.
  • Mark seam overlaps with painter’s tape to prevent slippage when adhering top layers.
  • Print out small sections of the pattern to pre-align when pinning panels together.
  • Accounts for repeats and scale when planning multiple panels.
  • Only cut once panels are fully secured to ensure proper match up.
  • Use natural light to check alignment and make adjustments while adhering.
  • Take photos looking down the seams to check alignment.
  • Stand back frequently to check overall balance of motifs across panels.
  • Don’t get frustrated! Removing and repositioning until each seam is perfect is key.

Planning floor-to-ceiling panoramic patterns or keeping the look random can also minimize obvious repeats. With careful plotting and patience, even complex designs can look like wallpaper.

Customizing Fabric Wallpaper to Suit Your Space

Another advantage of fabric over wallpaper is the ability to customize sizing, arrangements, and display techniques. Get creative with these approaches:

Cut-Out Shapes: Use stencils or templates to cut geometric, organic, or typographic shapes from printed fabric. Cluster and overlap shapes for an artistic collage effect.

Panels as Art: Mount completed fabric panels with decorative invisible hanging systems on rods pocketed at the top like stretched canvases. Hang as art pieces or room dividers.

Unexpected Spaces: Don’t limit yourself to walls! Apply prints to ceilings, doors furniture and architectural details like columns or built-ins.

Statement Shelving: Adhere bold fabric inside open cabinets, bookcases, or shelving to add wow-factor. Try coordinating with accent walls.

Dimensional Details: Add buttons, pom poms, tassels, ribbons or cording for extra texture and depth. Layer sheer and opaque fabrics for layered effects.

Go Big: Maximise impact by covering large expanses like entire rooms, hallways, ceilings, or stairs.

Mix and match colors, patterns, and textiles for lots of custom possibilities!

Tips for Care and Maintenance

Fabric wallpaper can last for many years when properly cared for. Follow these tips to keep your fabric looking fresh:

  • Gently vacuum using a soft brush attachment to remove dust and debris.
  • Spot clean stains immediately with mild soap and water using a clean rag or sponge. Avoid vigorous scrubbing.
  • Steer clear of steamers or heat which may shrink or damage fabric.
  • Re-adhere loose edges or seams with fabric glue as needed.
  • Freshen periodically with fabric refreshers or dry cleaning solvents.
  • For flame-retardant fabrics, avoid reapplying topical treatments which may diminish fire resistance over time.
  • Consider professional cleaning for heavily soiled or delicate fabrics.
  • Rotate panels seasonally to spread out exposure to light.
  • Repair small tears or pulls by applying seam binding or iron-on patches to the backside.
  • Replace individual panels as needed for damaged or worn areas.

With proper precautions, fabric wallpaper can maintain its beauty and last through countless decorating cycles. Handle with care and it can be enjoyed for years on end.

Creative Alternatives Beyond Fabric

Searching for options other than wallpaper or fabric to decorate your walls? Here are some creative materials worth considering:

Removable wallpapers – Self-adhesive, peel-and-stick wallpapers offer hundreds of designs. Remove and refresh when desired.

Decorative metal – From tin tiles to copper pennies, metal brings sheen. Great for backsplashes.

Wood planks – Stained wood adds natural warmth. Opt for removable wall tiles or shiplap panels.

Cork – Sustainable, sound-absorbing cork can add an earthy contemporary vibe.

Chalkboard paint – Turn walls into mess-free writing surfaces. Use chalk to customize messages.

Textiles – Burlap, jute, knits — get creative with woven textures as accent walls.

3D wall panels – Sculptural designs like 3D tiles, wall planters, or foam moldings add depth.

Natural fibers – Sisal, grasscloth, reed diffusers, and bamboo offer organic options.

Faux finishes – Special paint techniques like ragging, sponging, glazing can mimic other materials for a fraction of the cost. Get creative!

In Closing

The clever use of fabric as removable wallpaper opens up exciting possibilities for customizing walls. With the right textile, display approach, and installation techniques, fabric can transform any room. Now that you know the essentials for success, it’s time to start designing your dream “wallpaper” installation. Get creative, have fun, and breathe new life into tired walls with this innovative decorating hack. Happy project planning!