How to Use Textiles to Soften Your Walls

Because interior design elements have so many flat, hard surfaces, textiles are essential to beautiful home décor. Fabrics and other textiles are generally introduced into room styling via upholstery, window coverings, and pillows. However, because cloth and fibers are expected in these aspects of a room’s look, they can sometimes fail to pack the design impact you would like them to have.


When this is the case, the easiest way to remedy the problem is by getting beyond the surfaces of other design elements and going directly to the biggest stage in your room: the walls. Here are five interior design ideas for using textiles in place of other wall art.


1. Link Up

Using woven fabrics in various aspects of room styling is an excellent way to create a cohesive look. That connection, however, stops when you hit a big wall. Without a window around which you can hang fabric, you’re usually stuck returning to two-dimensional décor. If you use a textile wall hanging, however, you can reestablish the association between all parts of your room.



2. Set the Mood

If you’ve chosen a neutral backdrop for your furniture and accessories, it can sometimes be difficult to establish a room’s mood. Although the furniture itself can pick up atmospheric slack, and accents can also bear some of the emotional weight, unless furniture and accents have distinct character, a room will still feel blah. Using one of your neutral-toned walls as the stage for a textile wall hanging, however, will immediately inject personality into the space. Because you can choose a fabric piece in nearly any color or pattern imaginable, you can find a fabric that will evoke precisely the feeling you desire.



3. Add Depth

Even though rough walls and natural woods have texture, when paired with neutral colors, they may not have enough texture. Even a rough wall can seem flat if all it has to play with is wood and simple fabrics. This is when other textiles can come to the rescue. Yarn, for example, because it is so richly sculptural when formed into a crafted piece, can enliven an otherwise overly plain space.



4. Get Balance

One way to insert some pizzazz into a monochromatic room is with bold pops of furniture or pillows or with a patterned floor. But can these elements work on their own? Often not.



If you don’t add a corresponding burst of color and texture on your walls, your space can appear bottom heavy if you rely on furniture and floors to carry the weight of your room’s visual interest. A brightly patterned wall hanging can be the solution to this problem. Lifting the eye upward from the lower strong elements, the flowing color of a wall hanging will bring balance back into the room.


5. Cover It Up

If your wall has an ugly necessity you can’t get rid of but you sure don’t want to look at, you’re going to want to cover it up. Framed items can’t always work for these situations. A textile wall hanging, however, can be the bandage to use for your room’s “owie.”



Breaker boxes, for example, can’t be hidden by any hard-surfaced wall art. Although you can paint the box, it will still stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.


A small quilt, hung in a draped fashion instead of tight against the wall, covers the box while also remaining flexible enough to be drawn to one side when you need access to your breakers.


As the above five ideas demonstrate, textiles can remedy a wide array of design problems. Not only are they handy problem-solvers, fabric and textiles can add eye-catching beauty to your home.


Have you used textiles on your walls? Please share your ideas in the comments.


Images used with permission, courtesy of

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