What is Wall Fabric?

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  • Written By: Hillary Flynn
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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Wall fabric refers to fabric that is used in lieu of wallpaper, paint or wood paneling for both aesthetic and acoustic control purposes. The textures and patterns of different fabrics allow one to create unique effects and add interest to rooms. Decorative wall fabrics can be applied directly to walls or attached as framed fabric panels. Wall fabric is also used to control noise. When used as a sound absorber, wall fabric is usually paired with a special sound control backing. Other types of wall fabric include tapestries and artistic wall hangings.

Home decorators can apply fabric directly to walls with starch. This is accomplished by cutting fabric into strips, soaking the fabric in liquid starch and adhering it to the desired wall. After wrinkles and bubbles are smoothed out, the starch will dry and cling to the wall. This is a temporary treatment, so when one grows bored with the look, it can be removed in just a few minutes. This type of wall covering is ideal for those who live in apartments and aren't allowed to paint, as well as anyone who simply enjoys changing the look of a room without making the permanent commitment of wallpaper.


Fabric panels are another option. Panel frames are constructed with a variety of materials including wood, steel and durable plastics. Fabric is stretched over frames of varying size before it is then attached to the wall. This type of panel can be purchased, but some choose to make their own. If the purpose is to control sound, prefabricated panels work best because they can be purchased with extra soundproofing options. Foam board or cardboard can also be used to create frames. Wall fabric panels can be attached with screws or staples, depending on the type of wall fabric or panel selected.

Decorative tapestries and fabric wall art can also be used to quickly liven up a space. The method for attaching these types of wall fabric is a bit different than the others. Rather than covering an entire wall, these are used more as art pieces and are strategically placed to enhance the aesthetics of a room. For instance, one might select a patterned fabric to stretch over a large frame to be used in the same manner as a framed painting. These are hung with nails or picture hangers. Others purchase special racks such as quilt racks and attach the rack to the wall to hang tapestries and quilts.


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Post 3

@croydon - It's good if you build it into your walls as insulation because that kind of wall fabric is kind of ugly.

When I think of wall fabric I think of the lovely silk wall fabric my grandmother had in her parlor. It was pink and had flowers and exotic birds on it.

Kind of old fashioned now, I suppose but I was fascinated by it when I was a kid.

Post 2

@Mor - Well, theater wall fabric is pretty strong stuff. They need it to be so that the people in one room watching a quiet romance aren't going to be disturbed by the people in the other room watching a noisy action movie.

In fact, when one of our local cinemas went out of business, I heard there was a bit of a scrabble to get the wall fabric by different bars and sound studios and things.

Sound control is a real pain, especially if you are anywhere near a city zone where you have to keep it down after a certain hour and that stuff can be expensive.

If I ever build my own house I think I'll try to get a room with that kind of wall fabric so that I can have a bit of a home cinema and not have to worry about the neighbors.

Post 1

I go to a cafe sometimes which has become a local hub for poetry readings.

It used to be really annoying because if you were at the back of the cafe, it was difficult to hear what people were saying on the little stage at the front, and they couldn't afford to install a proper speaker system.

In the end they compromised and put up some acoustical wall fabric, mostly in the ceiling.

It increased the quality of the sound in that cafe by so much I couldn't believe it. I can usually hear the poetry readings now, even without speakers and a mic.

I guess they were bringing in so many customers that it was worth it to the cafe to keep those customers happy.

It looks to me like the same kind of stuff they have on the walls in a movie theater which makes sense I suppose.

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