Textile wallpaper - The Guide
Even centuries ago, people used textile wall coverings to make their rooms cosy, warm and luxurious. Textile wallpaper creates tactile surfaces that directly connect with emotions. It brings to mind things we like to touch and with which we associate fond memories: our fluffy childhood teddy bear, our favourite blanket or a precious, elegant silk scarf. The structures of fabric wallpapers are as varied as life itself.
Table of Contents
- What is textile wallpaper?
- Which processes are used to bond the textile surface layer to the carrier layer?
- Which fibres are used for textile wallpaper?
- Which wallpapering adhesive is used for textile wallpaper?
- How are wallpapers with textile surfaces put up?
- How are wallpapers with textile surfaces cleaned?
- How are wallpapers with textile surfaces removed?
- In which formats can textile wallpaper be bought?
- Which colours are typical for textile wallpaper?
- What are common patterns for textile wallpaper models?
- What are the special characteristics of textile wallpaper?
- Which wallpaper manufacturers are known for their textile wallpapers?
- Our tips: Ideas for designs with textile wallpaper
Textile wallpaper is characterised by its highly visible fabric structures and pleasant feel. The carrier material consists of paper or non-woven material onto which woven fabrics are laminated or textile fibres are glued to. Patterns can be applied by screen printing.
Paper or non-woven carrier material
Recycled paper or non-woven material (a mixture of textile and cellulose fibres, compressed with binder) forms the carrier layer for textile wallpapers. The carrier layer material determines the choice of wallpapering paste as well as the process of hanging and removing the wallpaper. Textile models with a paper carrier are soaked and can then be peeled off the wall. Wallpaper models with a non-woven carrier layer can be completely removed in a dry state.
Textile fibres glued to the carrier in a longitudinal direction
Synthetic or natural fibres as well as metal and glitter yarns are glued onto the carrier layer (non-woven material or paper) in a longitudinal direction. Modern adhesive techniques ensure that no rapport is visible between individual lengths of wallpaper once they have been put up on the wall.
Woven fabric laminated onto carrier layer
Laminating woven fabric onto the carrier layer is another option for the surface design of textile wallpapers. The fabrics are made of a wide variety of materials with a silky, soft, rough or woolly feel. Glittering or sparkling weaving yarns can also be incorporated in the design.
Patterns applied by screen printing
With the help of screen printing techniques, patterns are created on the textile surface, some of which can also be felt. These can be tone-in-tone or in contrasting colours. In addition to the pattern elements that are printed on fabric or warp threads, single-colour printed textile surfaces are also an option.
Textile fibres can be bonded to the respective carrier layer via the so-called "laminating" process. Dispersion lamination is used for warp threads, fabric lamination for fabrics.
Dispersion lamination for warp threads
The carrier layer is coated with a dispersion glue to ensure strong adhesion. The adhesive is often dyed and matches the background colour of the wallpaper. Textile fibres or yarns can then be applied to the thin adhesive layer in a longitudinal direction. The lamination is permeable to air and prevents mould growth on the wall.
Fabric lamination for textiles
The threads of woven fabrics run lengthwise and crosswise (warp and weft), which makes the surface structure denser. Woven fabrics are also bonded to the carrier material by a thin layer of dispersion adhesive. Depending on the type of fabric applied or the manufacturing process, seams may become visible, but this is in no way to be considered a quality defect.
Natural, environmentally friendly or synthetic fibres are used for the surface design of textile wallpapers. Popular materials are jute, viscose, rayon, linen and silk.
Jute fibres are obtained from the Corchorus plant (mallow family). They are extremely tear- and stretch-resistant and durable. The coarse feel underlines their original indestructible and robust character. Jute comes into its own in its natural, untreated brown shade which has a golden-silky sheen. This natural fibre with high water absorption capacity is completely biodegradable.
Viscose is a semi-synthetic fibre, the main component of which is cellulose. In 1845, the viscose fibre was patented as artificial silk (nitrate silk). Viscose is soft, light and breathable. It has a fine and even structure with a nice flowing fall and matt colour characteristics. Viscose fibres are pleasant to the skin, moisture-absorbing, easy to care for and can be printed on in many different ways.
Rayon is the original American name for artificial silk, which was later replaced by viscose in Europe. The basis for the production of this natural synthetic fibre is also cellulose. In terms of consistency and fibre length, rayon is very similar to cotton. The material is pleasantly soft, breathable and has a fine and even structure with a shimmering colour character. The fibres can be dyed in rich shades.
Linen is obtained from flax, a pure natural fibre. Linen fabrics or woven linen cloth have an uneven structure with a matt colour character. As a general rule, only high-quality flax is used for the production of linen. Linen is extremely strong, lint-free, dirt-repellent, antibacterial and antistatic. Combined with light or earthy natural colours, its coarse, slightly rough character makes linen a firm favourite for Country Living interior design styles.
Real silk is extracted from the cocoons of the silkworm. This natural animal fibre is often produced in Asia. Silk yarns can be used to produce silk types such as Dupioni silk or filament silk and fabrics such as satin, chiffon, taffeta or brocade. Silk fabrics have a soft feel, a typical irregular yarn structure and slightly shimmering colour characteristics. Hand-spun and hand-woven wild silk represents the luxurious end of the spectrum. Silk is soft to the touch, often slightly shiny, and (depending on the type) super light or somewhat firmer.
Special wallpapering paste is required for putting up textile wallpaper. This is then mixed with dispersion glue for better adhesion. For wallpapers with heavier grammage, pure dispersion adhesive can be used.
Special wallpapering paste mixed with dispersion adhesive
For thick and heavy wallpapers, special wallpapering paste with a proportion of synthetic resin is available on the market. This provides quick initial adhesion. The special paste is mixed with a proportion of dispersion glue to increase overall adhesion and adhesive strength. The thick custard-like consistency of the paste also prevents adhesive from getting onto the front of the wallpaper and damaging it.
Dispersion adhesive only
The rule is as follows: The heavier and thicker the wallpaper is, the stronger the adhesive needs to be. For heavy/thick textile wallpaper models, pure dispersion adhesive is applied to the back of the wallpaper (paper-based wallpaper) or directly to the wall (non-woven wallpaper). Dispersion glue makes it harder to remove the wallpaper later, which is why it is recommended to use lining paper as a base.
For textile wallpapers with a paper carrier, wallpapering paste is applied to the back and they require a specific soaking time. For those with a non-woven carrier layer, the wall-pasting technique is used. As there are some special requirements that need to be observed for hanging textile wallpaper, experience is always useful.
Paper carrier layer
If the textile wallpaper has a paper carrier layer, paste is applied to it first. After a soaking time of up to 10 minutes, the length of wallpaper can be put up on the wall. This compensates for differences in length and width that result from the expansion of the wet wallpaper. The same soaking time must be observed for each length of wallpaper.
Non-woven carrier layer
If the carrier layer consists of non-woven material, the wall-pasting technique is used. After cutting the strips of wallpaper to size, the paste is applied directly to the wall. Proceed strip by strip to prevent the paste from drying on the wall. Place the dry strip in the paste bed on the wall and carefully press it on with a wallpaper roller.
- Textile wallpapers require the right surface preparation to ensure optimum adhesion. The surface must be smooth, grease-free, dry and stable. The last point is of special importance. Loose components, bits of old paint and mouldy areas must be removed or renovated in advance.
- Thin cotton gloves offer ideal protection against unwanted stains when measuring, cutting and wallpapering. Clean and grease-free hands are essential. Thoroughly wash your hands and the wallpapering tools at regular intervals to prevent damage to the textile surface during wallpapering.
- Paste or dispersion adhesive should only be applied to the back of the wallpaper or to the wall. They must never stain the textile surface. Work slowly and carefully. The seams can be a bit of a challenge. Have a clean, dry cloth ready so you can immediately dab off damp paste stains. Use a rubber roller to carefully press down the seams.
As a rule, occasional dusting with a feather duster is usually sufficient for textile wallpaper. Avoid paste stains and rubbing or scratching. Dried stains can be dampened and carefully dabbed off.
Avoid paste stains
When wallpapering, care must be taken to ensure meticulous cleanliness, including and especially with regard to paste or glue stains. The fibres soak up the paste very quickly, which makes it almost impossible to remove such stains. Use glue with a consistency similar to thick custard, because it is easier to handle, which helps to prevent stains on the wallpaper surface.
Moisten dried-in stains
Dampen dried stains first and then carefully dab them off. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of success. Each fibre has its own special texture which can vary greatly in terms of its reaction to stains. Fresh stains should immediately be taken off with a dry, absorbent cloth and any residue should be gently dabbed off.
Rubbing is not an option when it comes to removing dirt and stains from textile wallpaper. The surface of textile wallpapers is not washable, a fact that rules out damp cleaning. Rubbing damages the textile fibres and creates unsightly and irreparable damage.
Dry cleaning is recommended for textile wallpapers. How often this happens depends on your individual requirements. Dust and environmental residues should be carefully removed with a soft feather duster or dusting cloth. Please do not use a vacuum cleaner as this can damage the textile fibres.
When it comes to wallpaper removal, the carrier material is the decisive factor. Wallpapers with paper carrier layer are soaked and then removed, wallpapers with non-woven carrier layers can be removed completely in a dry state. Wallpapers that have been put up using dispersion adhesive are more difficult to remove.
Soaking textile wallpaper with a paper carrier layer
Textile wallpaper models with paper carrier layers have to be removed in a damp/wet state. Using a sponge, a large paintbrush or a spray bottle, the textile surface is soaked with water. As soon as the water has penetrated to the back of the wallpaper and dissolved the paste, the wallpaper can be pulled off the wall in large pieces.
Dry-stripping of textile wallpapers with a non-woven carrier layer
A non-woven carrier offers the advantage that the wallpaper can be removed from the wall in one go, one strip at a time, without leaving any residue behind. This saves a lot of energy, time, and cleaning effort. Start at a corner where you can loosen the wallpaper strip and then grip it firmly. Carefully pull off the length of wallpaper from the top to the bottom to avoid ripping the material.
Special requirements for dispersion glue
As dispersion adhesives will not dissolve in water, they cannot be removed with the "wet removal" method. It takes a great deal of effort to get the dry wallpaper off the wall. Taking this fact into consideration, it is better to first apply a layer of lining paper on the wall. This layer remains on the wall and can be used as a base for hanging the new wallpaper.
Textile wallpaper is available as normal rolls with standard dimensions or per metre. The length can be cut to customer specifications.
The dimensions of European standard wallpaper rolls are usually 0.53m width x 10.05m length. The product price refers to one roll. Our handy wallpaper calculator can be used to quickly and easily determine how many rolls are needed. Plain-coloured textile wallpaper models without patterns do not produce any waste when put up.
By the metre
Wallpaper models sold by linear metre are available in various different widths. The price refers to a running meter of the textile wallpaper. For example, if you buy 8 running metres of wallpaper, you will receive a roll of textile wallpaper cut for you to 8 metres. Due to customer-specific measurements, wallpaper models sold by running metre cannot be returned.
Textile surfaces can be natural or dyed. Natural colours ensure authenticity for materials such as jute or linen. For dyed models, white, cream, beige, grey, black, red and blue are most popular.
Undyed shades of natural fibres such as jute, linen or wool are sought-after because they are as unique as the natural product. Beige, cream, dark, light or golden brown shades with typical fabric structures are the most popular textile wallpapers. These colours provide a connection with nature and the animal world, they are earthy and exude a homely feeling of well-being.
White is pure, elegant, focused and, depending on the exact tonality, can also provide depth. Textile surfaces in white appear puristic and sophisticated. In combination with silver or gold threads, they embody discreet luxury. White can have a warm or cool aura, depending on the brightness and the proportion of yellow. Natural interior design looks are complemented by ivory white or cream white.
This mixture of white with shades such as brown, yellow, rosé, red or grey in varying proportions is a fabulous choice for textile wallpapers. Cream is automatically associated with a fine, creamy texture which pleases the senses. In the theory of colours, shades of cream stand for comfort and sensuality.
Beige can be best described as a combination of grey-brown, sand and pale yellow. In French, this colour is also equated with natural and wool colours. Beige has a warm, earthy and cosy aura. The colour can appear very modern and works well with other colours such as white, medium blue and dark brown.
On textile wallpaper, grey provides sophisticated elegance. This neutral colour brings out the structure of textile surface materials particularly well and emphasises fancy yarn. Silver grey is a special colour that symbolises new beginnings and innovation. In combination with other colours, grey can also provide a touch of extravagance.
A textile wallpaper model in black is like a mysterious secret waiting to be lifted. The dark surface piques one's curiosity regarding the structure. This is what makes this colour so attractive: It does not reveal everything at first glance; instead, it involves the beholder. At the same time, black is very dominant and representative, a fact that can be emphasised even further with matching fabric structures.
High-end fabrics like velvet or brocade are the perfect fit for a strong Bordeaux red which accentuates the magnificent surface even more. Generally speaking, dark red or light rosé shades are most common for fabric wallpapers, especially as they leave room for structure interpretations. In addition, the stimulating effect of the colour red is somewhat softened with those shades.
Light blue is associated with the sky, with freshness and vastness, while darker shades of blue stand for the sea with its unfathomable depth. Blue is a colour that fills the room with peace and serenity. It has a rather cool aura and fires the imagination. In terms of textile wallpapers, soft, light nuances as well as magical dark blue are the most common choices.
Textile wallpapers are characterised by their eye-catching fibre structures, with patterns emphasising them or providing striking contrasts. Baroque ornaments, stripes, floral and modern patterns underline their special materiality.
Classic and textile wall coverings are an excellent combination to convey luxury and splendour. No two baroque pattern are the same as the pool of historical archives is far too large. In combination with soft, shiny, silky yarns as well as matching or contrasting colours, both classic and contemporary models are created.
Horizontal, vertical or diagonal stripes add dynamic movement to wallpaper. Clever little highlights for the eye can also be integrated in striped patterns, e.g. shimmering warp threads that glitter in the sunlight. In addition, stripes are continuously present in everyday life. This creates a familiar harmony which is reflected in the room.
Flowers, blossoms, foliage - the romanticism of floral motifs has a stunning effect on the surface material of a textile wallpaper. Rough linen is given a more delicate character without losing its natural beauty. Silky wallpapers play with floral coquetry, while a bouquet of roses makes woolly fabrics appear even more opulent.
Graphic designs with geometric patterns or abstract motifs create a vintage feeling with a special warmth. But they can also emphasise a glamorous element, for example with shimmering Art Deco elements. Natural fibre structures which are intensified by embossed patterns provide a very modern look.
Textile wallpapers are heat-insulating, permeable and breathable, they boast low flammability characteristics and absorb footfall and speech sounds. However, they are not suitable for allergy sufferers as their surface attracts dust.
Depending on the type and design, textile surface materials offer light to medium thermal insulation. The decisive factors for the insulating properties are the finish (warp threads or fabric), the fabric density, the weight and the carrier layer. Non-woven carriers provide better insulating properties than paper carriers.
Absorbing impact/footfall and speech sound
Fibres and fabrics reduce the transmission of footfall and speech noises, a fact that is particularly beneficial in apartment buildings or commercial and public spaces in building complexes. The room acoustics are muffled and softened. The degree of sound abatement depends on the structure, thickness and surface of the textile wallpaper.
Permeable and breathable
Textile wallpapers absorb and regulate moisture from the room air which has a positive effect on the overall room climate. In bedrooms or hotel rooms, this creates a noticeable sense of well-being. The first choice in this context are textile wallpapers with a non-woven carrier layer as the combination of textile and cellulose fibres also contributes to moisture regulation.
With textile wallpapers, the ignition is delayed which prevents major damage in case of a fire. In addition, these wallpapers are self-extinguishing. Certificates issued by the manufacturers prove that the fire protection requirements are met. The only exception is wallpaper with a surface made of untreated natural fibres, which does not have these properties.
Not suitable for allergy sufferers
Textile surfaces tend to attract dust which is particularly hard on house dust allergy sufferers. Pollen and other substances present in the environment that can trigger allergies also stick to natural or synthetic fibres. As a result, allergy sufferers should choose an alternative, i.e. completely smooth wallpaper surfaces.
Temporarily retains odours
Textile wallpapers absorb odours from the environment and retain them for a certain amount of time. This can have an adverse effect on one's sense of well-being. These wallpaper models are therefore not recommended for the kitchen, to name an example. Of course, odours disappear after a short time, similar to all other textiles and fabrics.
The production of textile wallpapers is an art which requires a certain amount of background knowledge from the textile industry. Amongst the most famous names are Omexco, Rasch Textil and Architects Paper.
Belgian manufacturer Omexco produces wallpapers with stunning and interesting surface materials which appeal to the senses. In addition to natural materials, glass beads and mica, the company focusses on exquisite textile wallpaper models. Exceptional pattern creations such as Op Art designs or Bohemian looks are combined with the finest fabrics to stunning effect.
Rasch Textil is a German wallpaper brand with a long tradition in the production of textile wallpapers. In addition to monochrome models, the company specialises in the reproduction of historical ornaments reminiscent of Baroque and Rococo. Multifaceted wallpaper designs emphasise the sophisticated character of the textile surfaces.
The name says it all: International premium and object brand Architects Paper designs rooms with eye-catching wall coverings which meet the highest interior design standards. Coordinated, functional creations with that certain je ne sais quoi characterise their textile wallpapers in a wide range of colours and patterns. Genuine silk wallpapers such as Metallic Silk complete the portfolio.
- Framing textile wallpapers: Put up one or more lengths of wallpaper so that they form a rectangle or square. Attach borders around the shape to create a frame for this striking textile wall art. This unusual mural can be decorated with other pictures of your choice (a picture within a picture).
- French style: Textile wallpapers made of linen, silk or velvet introduce the incomparable French joie de vivre into the room. Plain or with baroque and floral patterns, they can be combined with other exclusive materials such as fur, cord or velvet.
- English style: Stripes, plaid patterns, roses, tendrils, bird designs and ornaments are all part of the classic English pattern world. Robust cotton, rough tweed or exclusive damask are popular fabrics for textile surfaces. From light to pastel to strong red, green, blue or earthy brown tones, this style sheet provides a plethora of design potential.