Can You Use Fabric Instead of Wallpaper?

There is a wide array of fabrics available on the market, but can you use them instead of wallpaper to cover your walls? Renters often find it hard to decorate their walls because of the many restrictions. For instance, walls cannot be painted or wallpapered. This can make interior designing to be a challenge. Fortunately, there are many alternatives used for wallpaper such as fabrics. Read the rest of the article below to learn more about fabrics and if they are ideal to be used as wallpaper.

Can you use fabric instead of wallpaper? Fabrics can be used as an alternative for wallpaper. It is a creative way to make your walls beautiful without having to apply or paint anything over them. Fabrics are ideal for temporary use because they are easy to remove and will not cause any damage to the wall.

Those who would like a fun, unique, and creative way to decorate the walls without putting a lot of effort should consider using fabrics. It is a popular trend especially for those who are renting. There is a wide array of fabrics that you can use to make the room more vibrant and homey. To help you get started, we have shared tips and ideas below that you can refer to when decorating walls using fabrics.

Can you use fabric instead of wallpaper
Image by anncapictures from Pixabay

What is Fabric Wallpaper?

Fabric wallpaper is used as a substitute to paint or wallpaper when decorating walls. It is a quick and easy wall treatment that is becoming more popular nowadays. Fabrics are cut into panels to fit the size of the wall and are attached with the use of liquid starch. Using fabric is safe because it is easy to remove and will not cause any damage to the wall.

Why Use Fabric as Wallpaper?

Fabric is a convenient and easy way to decorate your walls which makes them an ideal alternative to wallpaper or paint. If you are renting or just want to have an easy wall decoration without applying primer or doing anything to the wall, you can use fabric as wallpaper. You can choose from a wide array of designs and styles that are available. You can simply hang the fabric on the wall, use tape, or attach it directly into the wall with the use of liquid starch.

Advantages of Fabric Wallpaper

Fabric wallpaper is affordable, mold-resistant, easy to apply and remove, and will not cause any damage to the wall. This is your best option if you are looking for an easy and creative way to cover your walls without having to exert a lot of effort in sanding, plastering, priming, wallpapering, or painting. Let us learn more about the advantages of fabric wallpaper below.

An Affordable Option

Fabric is affordable and you can choose from a wide array of designs, styles, colors, and patterns that are available. You can always scour the market for stunning designs at a cheap price. You will probably spend a few dollars depending on the amount of wall that you need to cover and the type of fabric that you choose.

Easy to Work With

Fabric is a material that is easy to work with. You can choose a lightweight fabric and hang it on a curtain rod so that it covers the wall. You can also use tape to attach the fabric to the wall and prevent it from moving too much. You do not have to deal with applying glue or primer to the wall. All it takes is a few minutes to attach the fabric to the wall so that they provide a relaxing and homey ambiance to the room.

Resistant to Mold

Another advantage of using fabric is that they are resistant to mold. The reason for this is that fabric is a porous and breathable material so air can freely pass through it. This makes it less ideal for mold to grow as compared to wallpaper.

Disadvantages of Fabric Wallpaper

Using fabric as a substitute for wallpaper also has some disadvantages which include the fabric being prone to moisture and discoloration. Let us learn more about these disadvantages below.

Discoloration Issue

If you use liquid starch on the fabric to attach it to the wall, it can cause discoloration. This is because some commercial liquid starches use baking soda in the ingredient and can cause the fabric to have a yellow color when it is exposed to heat. We have also shared this article that discusses if wallpaper is bad for walls. Check out the article for an in-depth discussion about the topic.

Prone to Moisture

Fabric wallpaper is also prone to moisture. Take note that liquid starch can dissolve when exposed to water. When this happens, the fabric wallpaper can peel away from the surface of the wall.

What Fabric is used for Wallpaper?

The best fabrics that you can choose for wallpaper are those that are lightweight. Liquid starch cannot hold a heavy fabric on the wall. The best options include polyester and cotton. Avoid using wool or velvet fabrics because they are made from heavy materials. You can also check out this article titled, which wallpaper is best for bedroom. We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.

✅ Video – How to Make Fabric Wallpaper

OnlineFabricStore shared the video below on how to make fabric wallpaper. In the video, the steps in making fabric wallpaper are discussed. It is an easy and alternative that you can use which is also easy to remove. Check out the video for the demonstration.

How to Install Fabric Wallpaper

There are a few steps that you need to take so that the fabric is properly installed in the wall which includes choosing the right fabric material, washing it, applying starch, and hanging the fabric. Below are the steps that you can follow on how to install fabric wallpaper.

Step 1 – Choosing a Fabric Material

The first step that you need to do is to choose a material for the fabric. It is recommended that you choose a lightweight fabric so that it will be easy to work with. Aside from that, you also need to consider the pattern, color, style, and design of the fabric that will complement the existing theme of your room.

Step 2 – Cleaning the Fabric

The next step is to clean the fabric. Take note that fabric will shrink when washed in water so make sure that you wash it first before you measure it according to the size of your wall. Be careful when washing fabrics because some lightweight materials can easily fray at the edges.

Step 3 – Measuring the Fabric

Once the fabric has been washed and dried, the next step is to measure it. When measuring, leave at least two inches of additional fabric on all sides. You can always do a rough estimate and do some trimming later. As a precaution, measure the fabric slightly larger than the wall because it is easier to trim longer edges than deal with the fabric being smaller than the wall.

Step 4 – Preparing the Wall

You also need to prepare the wall. Wash the wall and make sure that it is completely dry. Do not worry about holes and cracks because they will be covered with the fabric. You can also check out this article that we have shared titled, do I need to prime my walls before wallpapering? We have shared the importance of priming to avoid damaging the wall.

Step 5 – Applying Starch to the Wall

The next step is to apply starch to the wall. It is an ideal way to attach the fabric to the wall without damaging the wall. Starch is also easier to remove as compared to glue. Cover the floor area beneath the wall so that no starch will spill into it. Use a paint roller to apply the starch to the wall.

Step 6 – Hanging the Fabric

Once the wall is covered with starch, you can hang the fabric. You might need the help of a friend or family member to do this. Start applying the fabric to the corner of the damp wall moving across. See to it that the fabric overlaps the edges of the wall by one to two inches. Make sure that the fabric is flat and secured into the wall by smoothing it with a wallpaper smoothing tool. You can also add more starch to the fabric to hold it in place. Allow it to dry.

Step 7 – Trimming Excess Fabric

Once the fabric is in place and is completely dry, you can start trimming the edges so that it is perfectly aligned with the corners of the wall.

How Long will Fabric Wallpaper Last?

How long fabric wallpaper lasts will have to depend on the type of fabric that is used, the installation, and the environment of the room where it is installed. Bear in mind that there are fabrics such as polyester that are less absorbent and prone to discoloration. You should opt for dark color fabrics. Moreover, you should install fabric wallpaper in dry environments such as the living room. You can also check out this article that talks about how to choose wall wallpaper. We have shared tips on how to choose the best wallpaper for your room.

How to Remove Fabric Wallpaper?

To remove fabric wallpaper from the wall, lift any two corners of the fabric and start peeling it. In case the fabric is hard to remove, you damp a sponge with warm water and wipe it over the area of the fabric so that the starch will start to dissolve. You can easily clean the starch from the wall with soap and water.


In this article, we have discussed if you can use fabric instead of wallpaper. We have learned that fabrics are a great substitute for wallpaper because they are easier to apply, remove, and will not cause any damage to the wall. Moreover, we have also discussed the benefits that you can get when you use fabric as wallpaper. You can choose from a wide array of fabrics that are sold on the market. Thank you for reading!

Recent Posts