Alternative Wall Coverings


It is easy to bore of the same old paint and wallpaper rituals, but alternative wall coverings can be scary. A designer on "Trading Spaces" once glued hay to the walls of a room featured on the television show, but you don't have to be that daring. Simple fabric or paper options can be a workable alternative to covering your walls.


  • Fabric is becoming a more and more popular choice for inventive wall coverings, and can be used in many ways. One option is to cover an entire wall. Covering an entire wall with fabric can be subtle or very dramatic depending on the fabric used. There are two ways to do this, hang the fabric or staple it.

    If you are handy with a sewing machine, hanging the fabric is not only simple, but very chic and less permanent. Cut your fabric approximately 2 inches longer than the height of your wall. Hem the edges, and sew 1-inch pockets for tension or cafe rods at both the top and bottom. The width of your material is up to you, but many people prefer to use a wider material than the wall, to give it gathers and texture.
    If you prefer to staple your material, cut it first, adding 1/2 inch on all sides. Glue the 1/2 inch border to long cardboard or very thin soft wood strips. Then turn the strips over and glue again. This creates a fabric panel that can then be stapled with heavy-duty staples or nailed to the wall.
    Another, more budget friendly, option is to create several small fabric panels and arrange them on the wall, leaving much of the painted wall showing.

Alternatives to Wallpaper

  • Wallpaper is not the only interesting paper that can be used to cover your walls. For interesting "wallpaper" try using newspapers or tissue paper. Both can be applied with a mixture of household glue and water, and both allow you to be creative.
    If using newspapers Chinese newspapers will give a splash of red in their headlines. Or alternatively you could choose newspapers that mean something to you, such as a collection gathered during a trip, or order one newspaper from any city on your "must visit" list. You can choose to include the pages with photographs or just the black and white text.
    Tissue paper is the more colorful option here. Solids, stripes and even metallics are all interesting possibilities you can find in tissue paper.


  • Although wainscoting may seem boring after talking about tissue-papering your walls, it does provide a break from paint and wallpaper. If you want something different that has a little pop, but are not daring enough to cover an entire wall with newspaper, then wainscoting may be a good solution.

    Many home improvement stores carry new wainscoting kits that not only make instillation easier, but are often less expensive that traditional wainscoting.

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