The Lowdown on Grasscloth Wallpaper: Customize Your Wall Treatments and Amp up a Room’s Mood

Wallpaper, specifically grasscloth which was popular in the 1960s and 1970s, has recently become yet again a desirable decoration for your beloved home. It’s a natural material that complements practically any style, from tropical to rustic, classic to modern. Despite its beautiful aesthetics, it’s a “fussy baby” in the wallcoverings family. It’s delicate, and it’s not that easy to install — but it’s definitely worth it when done well.

What Exactly Is Grasscloth?

roll of grey grasscloth wallpaper

Grasscloth is a word that covers all wallcovering produced from hand-woven strands of natural fibres on unpasted rice paper backing. Hemp, jute, seagrass, arrowroot grass, bamboo, and raffia are among the fibres that are used. Some manufacturers indicate the precise fibre type, while others don’t and instead use the term “grasscloth” as a general term. Grasscloth’s distinctive 36-inch breadth is unusual in the world of wall coverings, which typically come in normal 21 and 27-inch lengths. Grasscloth adds a lush, yet natural feel to a space, making it ideal for incorporating eco-friendly luxury into your home.

The Beauty of Imperfection

cream glasscloth wallpaper in living room

The uniquely patterned and textured grasscloth wallpapers offer plenty of character to the interior décor. The size and colour of the fibres will vary between rolls even when bought from the same batch, in the same colour and pattern. These irregularities are not problems in the product, but rather a result of the manual manufacturing technique and the nature of the raw material.

Because of the texture and colour discrepancies, the difference between each strip of wallpaper will be evident when it’s hung. Traditional wallpaper may be a better option if you desire precise symmetry. This wallpaper also has a softer material. It’s significantly more prone to ripping and tearing, as well as scratching than the standard alternative.

Its texture, as well as its fresh aroma, make it an appealing scratching post for cats. As a result, use caution when installing grasscloth wallpaper in a corridor or entrance where it may be knocked by passers-by or furniture, or in a room where little children or pets are prone to paw at it. Consider utilizing grasscloth as a focal point in a bedroom or on a single wall.

This way you can create a beautiful and special area like no other in your home. You may also place it above chair rail mouldings or wainscoting rather than down the entire height of the room to keep little hands and claws out of reach.

The Location Matters Most

blue glasscloth wallpaper decor in living room

Despite providing the ideal backdrop for almost any decor style, grasscloth isn’t appropriate for every area in your home. In general, living rooms, dining rooms, studies, and bedrooms are preferable places to fulfil one’s grasscloth fancies. Water is grasscloth’s archenemy.

Some fibre varieties are more resilient to water than others, but in general, it’s particularly vulnerable to watermarks when exposed to water or excessive humidity. Many grasscloth wallpapers are dyed with natural dyes and cannot be cleaned in the typical sense since water and grasscloth do not mix (more on upkeep later).

Take common-sense precautions if you insist on utilizing it in a bathroom. First and foremost, for bathrooms with bathing facilities, ensure that you have an excellent air filter. Any leftover steam will settle on the wallpaper surface, causing discolouration or, at the very least, a decreased life span. Second, put the grasscloth above the wainscoting to avoid contact with any plumbing equipment.

It’s also more susceptible to sunlight than typical coverings because it’s a natural, untreated material. This is especially true of darker-coloured grasscloth wallpaper. If the wallpaper is exposed to direct sunshine, it will fade and bleach out over time – though some people might like this fade-out look.

If you’re among those who don’t, try installing the wallpaper in a house interior room that receives less natural light, or one that has blackout blinds or drapes that can be drawn throughout the day. Alternatively, you may opt to extend the life of your grasscloth by investing in extra window treatments, such as the application of a clear UV light filtering film to the glass.

Let Professionals Take Care of It

woman measuring glasscloth wallpaper on floor

Grasscloth is one of the most difficult wallcoverings to install by yourself. There are probably a few do-it-yourselfers out there who have had amazing success. However, when compared to regular wallpaper, its installation is distinct and involves specialized know-how, tools, and precise wall prep with specific materials, not to mention a nearly doubled installation time.

Not all expert wallpaper installers are capable of installing grasscloth, so make sure you select one who is. Just like snowflakes, no two rolls of grasscloth wallpapers are alike. Fibres on one roll may differ in size, colour, or value from those on the next. From one roll to the next, the horizontal filaments will never line up side by side. The striated design will appear skewed up on the wall, creating the illusion of a panelled impression.

Depending on the fibre type, the dye may be applied unevenly, resulting in lovely variegation. As a result, unlike other types of wall covering created in regulated factory circumstances, such as printed papers, you should expect grasscloth rolls to be (delightfully) inconsistent.


Grasscloth cannot be cleaned in the same way that other “washable” or “scrubbable” wallcoverings can. Although some manufacturers’ cleaning instructions state to “wipe lightly,” because the finish on some grasscloths can fade with even the smallest touch with water, it’s always a good idea to try it on a scrap piece or an inconspicuous area first. To remove surface debris and dust, vacuum it lightly. Just be careful not to scrape the surface off.