A Green Home: Decorate Your Walls with Fabric

Reader Contribution by Jaci Kennison
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Jaclyn Kennison is a freelance writer living and playing in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She owns and manages an art gallery and event venue between fits of shopping and redecorating. 

This time of year I find myself itching to redecorate. It may have something to do with spending more time indoors, or the feeling of change that comes with a new year. Putting holiday décor away for the season, I catch myself looking around, ready to shake up my design scheme and create a fresh feeling in my home.

Re-arranging furniture and plants is a great start, but often I am yearning for a more dramatic change. I want color on the walls. I want the whole feeling changed. I want a brand-new design.

Paint and wallpaper are a great way to make this change, but any time you purchase something new, you are putting greater demand on our resources, and therefore increasing your environmental footprint.

Happily, there is a great way to get around these issues–used fabric.

Adorn your walls with colorful fabric. Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison.

When planning your eco-décor, consider using fabric on your walls to make the space softer, add color, and keep it easy on the earth. Shop secondhand stores for used sheer curtains or fabric remnants. Tapestries are great, but they can make your home feel like a college dorm. Hanging sheer curtains over your walls will achieve the same end as paint, but without the toxic fumes, higher cost and larger footprint. They are also easily removed if you change homes or decide to revamp your color scheme.

If you live in a small space, go for lighter colors. Soft greens, light blues and cream colors work well to lighten the space. A single bold color on a small wall will amp up the style and drama of your space. A moody blue or deep red will define your environment and add an artistic flare. Old bed sheets work great for these applications. Be sure to inspect them for stains or tears. Choose pieces without these flaws for your best look.

When hanging these wall coverings, simply suspend a thin cable as close to the wall, and ceiling as possible. Cut small holes in the top of your fabric, about a foot apart and thread the wire through the holes, shower curtain style. You could also use starch or nails to hang the material. Worried about how to hang your art over your fabric? Simply suspend wire from the top cable and hang your art pieces gallery style. Or, if you hang your fabric with finishing nails placed in the corner between the wall and the ceiling, you will be able to hang your art in the same way–with a nail right through the fabric.

This technique works great to soften stark and rigid corners as well. Or, suspend a narrow piece of material in the center of a long wall and position a bookcase or side table in front of it. In this way you can create your personal style in a unique and eco-friendly way.

Let your creativity and imagination flow when you work with these elements. Often, a small wall covered in rich fabric will act as an art piece all its own.