Textiles make for beautiful and versatile wall hangings, and though they may be seen as traditional or old-fashioned, they definitely deserve a spot in the interiors of today. When it comes to wall hangings, the most popular one and the one that springs to mind immediately is the tapestry. The word tapestry originates from the French “tapisser” – or, “to cover with fabric, to carpet”. The tapestry as we know it today originated circa the 1500’s when they were hung in doorways to prevent cold winds from entering the home. However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a tapestry being used for that purpose today, for now, we consider them to be exquisite pieces of art that serve no purpose but to delight those who are lucky enough to set their eyes upon it. Though they hail from centuries ago, they are still as stylish today, and need not resemble an antique – depending on the print, you can definitely use a tapestry in a 21st century home!
Features of Wall Hangings
Nowadays, the word “tapestry” envelops a large number of textiles and wall hangings. They can often be used to represent a culture, be an ode to the past or simply bring something funky and unique to a room. A tapestry can be as personal as you want it to be – it can be about your family or something else that you hold dear. Equally, it serves just as well as a simply decorated cloth with the sole purpose of adding another dimension of style to a tired room. You will undoubtedly have come across a lot of different ethnic tapestries if you have been around the world – they can make great souvenirs and can also educate you about the heritage and history of a different nation or culture. They can portray a scene or just house a beautiful myriad of patterns, and of course, their unique textures makes them incredibly snuggly and soft to the touch – so much so you might prefer them as a blanket than as a piece of decorative art!
Of course, you wall hanging doesn’t need to be an off-the-shelf tapestry, you can repurpose a rug, blanket, quilt or pretty much any cloth and hang it on your wall for something new! Wall hangings are particularly adept at adding a rustic and homely feel to a living room. They can be immensely varied in size, texture, colour, pattern and so on, and so it is unlikely you wouldn’t be able to find (or make) one that is perfect for your home, or maybe as a gift for somebody else’s home. Usually, wall hangings are made out of materials such as linen, wool or cotton, but some on the market can incorporate the likes of gold and silver. As you can imagine, you’d have to splash out a little extra cash for more luxurious hangings such as these, but they are perfect for bringing a more sophisticated and regal atmosphere to, say, the living room. If you want a tapestry that will complement the modern vibe of your home, try finding or making one with more abstract designs, or with pops of colour, to break away from the traditional design of tapestries. An eclectic mix of a variety of tapestries can also achieve this “modern” effect. Tapestries can work as a fantastic statement piece or can blend in with or behind a plethora of other features in a room.
Repurposing Materials to Use as Decoration
Textiles are varied in their uses – they can do pretty much whatever your imagination might want them to! Not to mention, they don’t require you to splash out unless you really want to, which is handy when we are trying to be a bit savvier with our cash. And of course, once you are tired of a wall hanging, it is easy to repurpose – maybe something as simple as hanging it upside down could breathe new life into it. Whatever the theme or vibe of your home, there is a tapestry to suit it. If you’re a beginner when it comes to tapestries and is unsure about where to begin, it’s a good idea to go to local thrift stores and antique shops and have a roam around to see if any kind of wall hanging catches your eye. It could also be worth starting at home, by rummaging through rooms and cupboards to see if there is leftover cloth that could be recycled into something gorgeous.
Even things that you may have believed were better off left on the floor, like rugs or carpets, can really shine on a wall if you know what to do with them! A fantastic advantage is their ability to “fill” a room that maybe looks a bit bare or sparse – thereby making it a much warmer and comfortable environment for anyone who inhabits it. There’s minimum fuss with a wall hanging – they are by no means permanent, so if you made the wrong call or simply want to try something new you can have them removed the same day that you change your mind. Tapestries even work in a dorm room due to their flexibility. Wall hangings are also suitable for a bedroom, and if you want to experiment you could use them in place of a conventional headboard! You can match other accessories in your bedroom or living room to the tapestry, or vice versa. Try to stick with a certain theme or colour scheme, as this reduces the risk of your tapestry being a little too overwhelming and consequently becoming a bit of an eyesore!
You could also use samples of materials like wallpaper as wall hangings, which you may even be able to acquire for free! You can’t really get much better than that surely! In the same vein, if you find some wrapping paper that catches your eye then don’t hesitate to at least try it out as a wall hanging, for you may have just hit the jackpot at a minimum cost! Wall hangings can go pretty much anywhere where they fit – next to stairs, above your television – you name it. If you are really bold (and have a little extra time on your hands) you could try a tapestry out on the ceiling! It could certainly add something eye-catching – but only if it works in unison with the rest of the room. When thinking of the colours in your tapestry, go for lighter hues to evoke a more calm and serene atmosphere, or opt for something a little more bright and vivid if you want some “wow factor”. Of course, you can mix up the sizes of your tapestries, maybe choosing a few smaller ones over one large, potentially overwhelming one.
If you are a renter, you may think that tapestries and other wall hangings won’t be of much use to you, but fortunately, you’d be wrong. Although contractual stipulations do indeed limit the number of alterations you can make to walls in your home, they won’t block off all avenues. Of course, do double-check with your landlord if your renovation is okay by them to avoid any disagreements after changes have been made! Some changes are difficult or impossible to undo and you don’t want to get yourself into a sticky and stressful situation. Hopefully, minor changes like a nail in the wall should be okay, though you may be asked to mend any imperfections in the wall if/when you leave.
You may think that trying to make your own wall hangings is too much of a task for the average person, but there’s not as much to it as you may think – and at the end of the day, it’ll give you something to be proud of. No doubt, after the huffing and puffing what you will have achieved will definitely be worth it! Even a very simple wall decoration like a collection of feathers will be super rewarding, as well as adding that personal touch that is hard to find in a store-bought object. If you have an old carpet or cloth, dust it off and jazz it up, maybe by adding rhinestones or sequins or anything else that can bring a bit of sparkle before it hanging it up. There are a ton of other ways to turn a variety of fabrics into some gorgeous wall décor. You could try transferring the cloth onto a canvas, and then hanging the canvas up if you feel that the cloth on its own does not add enough oomph. It’s not difficult at all, all you need to do is buy a canvas from a local store and then use any method you wish to attach the fabric to the canvas, be that via glueing or stapling. Simple fabrics such as these are a good option because they are very easy and cheap to get a hold of, and most likely you have some lying around the house already.
Once you have found or made your perfect wall hanging, you will then need to mount it onto the wall. One way to do this is using hook and loop tape. Sew some of this tape along the upper length of your hanging. Attach the other side of the tape to a slim piece of wood using staples or a good old hammer and nails, after which it is ready to hang on the wall. Alternatively, you could put your fabric in a frame, for something a little more chic and classy. For this, you’ll need a frame that is similar in measurement to your cloth. If your material is sturdy and flexible, stretch it over a foam board and pin it down with staples or glue, and then frame the whole piece. If your material is not as robust then rather than stretching it, which could possibly damage the fabric, delicately pin it down, and then proceed to frame the board. If you have something more heavy-duty to hang, like a tapestry, it could potentially be nailed straight into the wall – take care not to damage the tapestry nor the wall too much. If your tapestry is more lightly woven, the nails should be able to snuggle in past the thread so that the tapestry itself incurs no damage. You could try push pins for a lighter tapestry that is more firmly woven, but you may need to put holes in it, so think hard before making a decision as it may be irreversible.
You will also find that some tapestries come with their own casing, if this is the case for you then hanging will be even simpler for you. All you need to do is insert a rod into said casing, and then hang it on nails. If you have no rods at hand, they can easily be found at a hardware store or another local store. You can even DIY a casing if your tapestry doesn’t have one! If you are going to sew a casing on, watch a video or do some research about how to sew one on, and remember to make sure it sewed on straight or otherwise your tapestry will be hung on lopsided! If you are adamant about avoiding holes in your tapestry, perhaps because it ruins the look or because the tapestry was very pricey, then you may want to consider using Velcro to hang it up. Make sure your Velcro has enough strength to hold up a heavy tapestry. To begin with, you’ll need to nail a thin piece of wood into the studs in your wall. Put one side of the Velcro on the wood, and the opposite piece on the upper back of the tapestry. Attach the two and that is all, your tapestry is now up and ready to admire.
So there you have it, a few reasons as to why a tapestry could be the perfect addition for your home, as well as some tips to avoid the woes of hanging it up without causing too much damage to the tapestry or the wall! Happy decorating!