Allow me to share a cautionary tale. My last house, a 1920s Dutch colonial, had a sunroom that cried out for an update. Grass cloth, I decided, was just the ticket: a subtle, textural cloak for the room’s less-than-perfect walls. I flipped through sample books, browsed photos and eventually chose what I thought was a lovely straw yellow shade. When the paper hanger arrived, I showed him in and skipped off to work — only to return that evening to a Velveeta orange room that showed every lump and bump in the drywall beneath.
Grass cloth can be a tricky material to deal with, as I learned the hard way. But when it’s done right, it’s worth it — its crisp elegance and visual depth can leave you breathless. Here’s what you need to know to make this classic wall covering work for you.
What it is.
Just like it sounds, grass cloth is a wall covering woven from long strips of dried natural fibers, usually jute, grass, hemp or other similar plants. Trendy in past decades, it fell out of fashion for a time, then came roaring back in recent years thanks to its organic, eco-friendly construction and textural richness.
Grass cloth comes in a variety of weaves, from fine to chunky, and in both natural and dyed colors (like my cheesetastic orange version). It can look sleek and contemporary, rough and rustic, and anything in between. Don’t trust the sample book — pin a larger grass-cloth panel to your wall and live with it for a few days to make sure the color and weave are what you had in mind. And be warned: The hue can intensify once it covers the entire wall. … Read Full Article