How to: Apply Fabric to Your Walls

Fabric covered walls recall the grandeur of historic French interiors but also add a lovely sense of cosiness to any room

Applying fabric to walls is a lovely technique to learn. The soft cushioning effect of fabric on walls instantly creates a cosy atmosphere. It’s a lovely thing to do in a bedroom for example. Sounds are dampened and everything feels just that little bit more ‘hygge’. The French have a long history of covering walls in Fabric and it’s a fantastic way to add joyful patterns to a room – for the classic French look, why not use a toile?

In this tutorial, we’ve used fine-grade hessian (also known as burlap) which has been painted with Chalk Paint™ to add a subtle colour. This is perhaps the most cost effective fabric to line walls with, but the same steps can be followed with any fabric of your choice.


  • The fabric of your choice, as wide as possible
  • 2 – 4oz medium polyester wadding
  • A staple gun and staples
  • Half doweling
  • Old or new architrave or moulding.

Step by step guide to applying fabric to your walls

  1. Staple down 2 layers of 2oz polyester wadding or one layer of 4 oz over the whole wall.
  2. Cut strips of fabric as close to the length needed as possible, but allow a few inches over. Hang, stretch and staple your fabric to the wall – this is a job best done by two people. Start from the top and staple the edge of the fabric 2 or 3 times to the wall. Pull down very tight and staple three times to the bottom of the wall. Then pull to both sides and repeat. Then tackle the corners.
  3. Cut or score excess fabric with a sharp knife.
  4. To add another length of fabric you will be putting the half doweling over the join so make certain that the fabrics are slightly overlapping or at least touching.
  5. Apply dowelling by securing with small tacks.
  6. Fill the small dents the tacks makes and paint the dowelling with Chalk Paint™.

Now you’ve seen how simple it is to cover walls with fabric, you can channel the ultimate in French sophistication and start lining your bedroom walls in the fabric of your choice. Or what about your dining room or study? To find out more about this project, see Annie Sloan Paints Everything (published by CICO Books). Photography by Christopher Drake © CICO Books.

Fabric covered wall painted with Chalk Paint® furniture paint by Annie Sloan in Chateau Grey

Related Videos



Chalk Paint