My very stereotypical ’90s youth involved a lot of stressing and manifesting (which I now call stressifesting) about how and with what to adorn the walls of my bedroom sanctuary. Was it going to be full of posters displaying Beck’s “does something smell weird in here?” face or maybe Gavin Rossdale running his hands through his hair for the 900th time? Nope! Because posters are a waste of money. My favorite wall hanging was an way bohemian tapestry, and while I’ve shed quite a bit of my impatient teenage need to identify with the word “bohemian,” I still love the idea of a huge piece of fabric as a wall covering.
Infinity by Leah Flores for Deny Designs, $69 at Nordstrom
Having grown up a slight amount since 1999, my peak wall-focus year, I’m less into abstract patterns and astrological wheels and more into creating a bold setting in a room – something that leaves an impression or encourages some kind of emotion, be it cozy and inviting, or adventurous and artistic.
My favorite styles are either grayscale tapestries (strictly related to my lack of confidence in coordinating colors within a room), nature scenery, world map tapestries like the ones above, and to no one’s surprise, photographic prints. (Evidence of my fixation upon photographic prints here.) Grown up blankets can still be bright & colorful, but for me, they also have to be creative and clever.
Photography Tapestry from The Last Sparrow, $96 on Etsy
Whether they’re tacked up tightly to show off their perfectly rectangular shape, or draped slightly to add a relaxed feel, they are a cool way to visually express your personal style, and they also cover up boring walls, fuse boxes, holes, old school photos, or anything else you can’t take down but don’t want to look at.
Wall tapestries also hide a bevy of secret uses, and none of them require walls. (Okay, maybe a couple walls are involved.)
Black & White Elephant Bedspread, $19.50 at Royal Furnish
Tapestry Use: Bedspread
This is my favorite way to use tapestries, honestly. They are so thin that it doesn’t really affect the warmth of your bed (which is great for warm sleepers), but it definitely changes the entire feeling of your bedroom, trust me. There’s also something to be said for the weight it adds to the bed. I like to feel like my blankets are heavy on top of me, and despite the actual thinness of a tapestry, it adds another layer of cozy.
Also, if you’re a compulsive bed-maker like me, you’ll love how put-together your bed looks with a beautiful tapestry on top! They’re almost always oversized (for example, the one in the above image is seven feet wide, and even longer than it is wide) but can obviously be folded and still look amazing.
Tapestry Use: Throw Blanket
Basically, once you fold this thing, it becomes a throw blanket. It looks good, it’s cozy, and as we discussed – it’s enormous. Drape it over the back of your couch, keep it at the foot of your bed, throw it over a chair – no matter what you do with it, it’s gonna add a lot of interest. I also am a major fan of having a ton of fabric to wrap myself up in – using a tapestry means that you can share with a buddy, and both of your feet are sure to be covered. (These are important criteria.)
Photo: Frock Files (featuring a how-to guide for fabric wrapping!)
Tapestry Use: Gift Wrap
After my aunt and uncle came back from several years teaching English in Japan, nearly all of my holiday gifts came wrapped in a beautiful tapestry, silk scarf, or other fabric. I fell in love with the idea of wrapping gifts in a usable item, and using fabrics and tapestries for gift wrap became a regular practice!
You will, of course, be giving this tapestry away, so I typically use smaller pieces or scarves to wrap smaller gifts with.
Tapestry Use: Tablecloth
It’s amazing how a tablecloth can influence the mood of a meal. I don’t mean in a “this tastes fabulous against this lavender and white patterned tapestry,” but more like it adds another element to play with as far as color, texture, and fabric. What I’m saying is: a bowl of spaghetti looks a lot cooler sitting on top of a table with a little bit of personality. Who knows? Maybe it’ll inspire you to finally figure out how to decoratively set a table! (I’m projecting.)
This is also a good way to give purpose to some of the tapestries out there that are a bit more… well, boring. Minimalist is cool until there just isn’t enough stuff going on to hold your interest. Using the minimalism to highlight beautiful food and dishes, on the other hand, is an excellent idea.
Additionally, in case you didn’t know, some tablecloths can cost over $120 (?!). I just found this out a moment ago, and now I’m really valuing the fact that everything under this post is under $100 with the vast majority being under $75!
Tapestry Use: Window Covering & Light Diffuser
One of my bedrooms when I was in high school had these awful fluorescent lights that cast the most harsh, unflattering, un-chill glean over everything and I absolutely hated it. There’s nothing less relaxing than the radioactive light that fluorescent lights put off. Draping a tapestry loosely over the lights turns your space instantly into some kind of den. It doesn’t matter what kind of den, but the low light filtered through colorful threads and lower, fabric ceiling are like giving your bedroom or entertaining area a nice, long bubble bath.
Using tapestries to cover up windows can give the same type of relaxing feel, but with the bonus of being adjusted to let natural light in. One of my favorite ways I’ve seen to hold back a tapestry curtain is by screwing an old, vintage doorknob into the wall just to the side of the window and tucking the tapestry behind it when you want to let some sunlight in or look at the rain.
Hippyhunt Blue Mandala Tapestry, $18.99
Tapestry Use: Picnics & Festivals
This is how I started collecting tapestries, if I’m being honest. Seattle has tons of excellent music festivals each year, and when I was in middle and high school, all of the cool kids would bring out their tapestries and create somewhat of a quilt on the public lawns. Of course I participated in this mass quilting as soon as I got one (later hung on my wall). My ratty old tapestries have seen lots and lots of great music! (& butts.)
While looking around for cool tapestries to include in this post, I found this awesome wedding where the guests sat on tapestries and blankets with crates used as tables with bottles of wine on them. It all took place in an orchard, What a cute idea!
Photo: Kristen Drozdowski
Tapestry Use: FORTS.
Last but obviously not least, nothing perfects a blanket for like a tapestry. Drape them over chairs, wire, tables, bedposts – whatever you’ve got, and a few minutes (hours) later, you have yourself one of the finest, coziest forts you’ve ever been an adult in.