Interior Design Ideas: Wall Upholstery
Although fabric can be stuck directly to walls (paste should be applied to the wall, not the fabric), the result can look flat. For a softer, more upholstered effect, fabric should be fixed by stretching it over a framework of wooden battens to provide an even surface. For a really professional finish line the walls first with a layer of polyester wadding (batting) stapled in position.
Calculating Fabric Quantities
Measure the height and width of the area you want to cover. Divide the total width by the width of the fabric (less selvedges) and multiply by the height, plus 5cm/2in.
Plain or randomly patterned fabrics are easiest to work with. Fabrics with definite patterns need to be matched across the wall, and so to get them right you will have to accept that there will be more wastage.
Positioning Wooden Battens
Horizontal battens will be needed at the top and bottom of the wall; vertical ones should be spaced evenly, taking into account windows, doors and other obstacles. If you intend to hang pictures or mirrors on the finished walls, establish where they will go and fix the battens in these places.
Fabric can be fixed so that the joins between panels are invisible. But alternatively you can also make a feature of the joins, by covering the staples with contrasting or coordinating trim. Ribbon, braid or fabric-covered strips will give a smart, tailored appearance and introduce graphic interest to a room lacking architectural detail.
As an alternative to using wooden battens there is a product which enables fabric to be clipped in position without stapling or. This consists of metal or plastic track which you mount around the wall. Previously seamed fabric is stretched and gripped in place by the track. This system enables fabric to be taken down easily for cleaning.
Materials and Equipment
• fabric, cut in lengths
• polyester wadding (batting), if desired
• wooden battens
• staple gun and staples
• braid, ribbon or other trim
• cardboard strips for invisible joins, if desired
1. Fix horizontal wooden battens first. The bottom batten can be fixed just above the floor or skirting board (baseboard). Screw in place with countersunk screws.
2. Space vertical battens one fabric width apart, less selvedges. Pencil lines on wall where the fabric joins will go and centre battens on these lines.
3. Frame obstacles such as doorways, windows, switches and sockets (outlets). The fabric will be stapled to the outer edge of the battens.
4. Position first fabric panel and tack temporarily, driving tacks in halfway. Staple top edge. Pull fabric taut and staple bottom, then sides, removing tacks.
5. Make invisible joins by placing the second panel wrong-side up over the first. Insert a thin cardboard strip the length of the panel and staple in position.
6. Pull the panel to right side, leaving 2.5cm/1 in turned over.
7. Finish off by covering bare staples with braid, ribbon or fabric strips glued in place.