How to Install a Fabric Feature Wall

Turn a plain wall into an on-trend feature wall with your favorite designer fabric. This old "Army wife" trick can be completed in just a few hours and, unlike wallpaper, can simply be peeled off when you're ready for a change.

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Traditional Bedroom With Fabric Feature Wall

Materials Needed:

  • approximately 8 yards of 54"-wide decorator fabric for an 8 ft. x 12-14 ft. wall
  • quart bottle of liquid starch
  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • 4-foot level
  • paint tray and plastic tray liner
  • paint roller bar, cover and extension pole
  • scissors
  • rotary cutter and cutting mat
  • yardstick
  • stepladder

Measure and Mark Wall

Make sure wall is clean and free from any nails or screws. Patch any holes and remove outlet and light-switch plates. Use a tape measure to determine wall width and find center point. Mark the center with a pencil (Image 1). Measure then mark a distance that is half of the fabric's width to the left of the wall's center point. For example: If fabric is 52" wide once raw edges are trimmed, make a mark 26 inches left of center point. Place level vertically on this mark and make a plumb line from floor to ceiling (Image 2). This line will be used as a guide when hanging the first fabric panel, which will be centered on your wall.

Trim Edges and Cut Fabric

Remove fabric's raw edges using scissors or a rotary cutter, cutting mat, and a yardstick or straight edge. All cuts need to be as straight as possible with minimal fraying. Measure wall's height (minus any trim like baseboards or crown molding) and add a few inches to this measurement if you're working with patterned fabric (to allow for shifting to match up the pattern) then cut panels. Measure and make cuts to allow for any outlets as well, if necessary.

Roll Starch Onto Wall

Pour liquid starch into a lined paint tray then roll the starch onto the wall's center section that will be covered with the first fabric panel. This entire section should be liberally covered with starch, but not so much that it's dripping. Tip: If using this treatment on a wall with electrical outlets or switches, turn off power to that room at the breaker when applying starch and fabric around outlets. This will ensure safety and prevent the possibility of being shocked when working with wet hands around an electrical source. It's safe to turn the breaker back on when the area around outlet is completed.

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