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Walls Have a Field Day With Grass Cloth

Allow me to discuss a tale. My very last house, a 1920s Dutch colonial, had a sunroom which cried out for an upgrade. Grass cloth, I decided, was just the ticket: a subtle, textural cloak for the room’s less-than-perfect walls. I flipped through sample books, browsed photos and finally chose what I thought was a lovely straw yellow shade. After the paper hanger came, I showed him in and skipped off to operate — only to return that day to some Velveeta orange room that revealed every lump and bump in the drywall beneath.

Grass cloth can be a tricky substance to manage, as I learned the hard way. Nevertheless, when it’s done right, it’s worth it its own sharp elegance and visual depth can leave you breathless. Here’s what you want to learn to produce this classic wall covering work for you.

Twist Interior Design

What it is.
Much like it seems, grass cloth is a wall covering woven from long strips of dried natural fibers, generally jute, grass, hemp or other similar plants. Trendy in previous decades, it fell out of vogue for a moment, then came back back lately thanks to its organic, ecofriendly structure and textural richness.

Grass cloth comes in an assortment of weaves, from fine to chunky, and in both the natural and dyed colors (like my cheesetastic orange variant). It can seem sleek and modern, rough and rustic, and anything in between. Don’t trust the sample book — pin a larger grass-cloth panel for your wall and live with it for a couple of days to make certain that the colour and weave are everything you had in mind. And be warned: The hue can intensify once it covers the whole wall.

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

Where to use it. Grass cloth works almost anywhere in the home, using two or three exceptions. Since it does not withstand moisture well, it’s not a fantastic choice for high-humidity areas like poorly ventilated bathrooms. In addition, it can fray under repeated rubbing and bumping, and you can not wipe it with a damp rag or sponge, so think twice about installing it in a high-traffic area like a hallway or playroom. If you want the impact of grass cloth in spaces like these, consider a vinyl or paper lookalike.

So where should you use it? It shines in living and dining spaces, offices, bedrooms and libraries. And its own thick weave makes it an superb partner for walls which aren’t entirely smooth, although — as in my sunroom — it will magnify prominent lumps and cracks.

Kathleen DiPaolo Designs

Things to consider. Grass fabric’s natural variations in shading (even with dyed variations) are part of its allure, and that means that you won’t get a totally uniform appearance. And when installed, it normally has visible seams — a surprise that I wasn’t expecting, although I didn’t dislike that aspect.

This kind of material also can be hard to clean. You are basically limited to vacuuming and dusting it, so any major stains will probably remain there. On the flip side, holes from thumbtacks and image hangers will not show.

Emily Ruddo

How to install it. Grass cloth isn’t much more difficult to set up than standard background, but if you’re going the DIY route, keep a few things in mind. To begin with, grass cloth is thick, so you will probably need an excess set of hands. It comes in only (36-inch) and double (72-inch) rolls; the size you select is dependent upon the size of your walls and the number of stitches you want. And you will need to pay particular attention to lining seams up as tightly as possible, though they will not be ideal.

What you will pay. It isn’t known for being especially budget friendly, but bud cloth does not have to be outrageous, either. On average, prices start around $20 for one roster and $35 for a double roster, and they grow steeply from there. As with any other substance, you’ll get exactly what you pay for, so it’s worth investing in the highest quality you can afford.

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