How to Buy Wall Hangings for Your Living Room

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How to Buy Wall Hangings for Your Living Room

Wall hangings can make a refreshing alternative to paintings in order to bring extra life and colour to a room, complement a room's decor or serve as a focal point. Wall art for your living room is available in a variety of designs, sizes, and colours. Before buying, decide what type of wall hanging is needed, and research brands, materials, and designs.

Types of Wall Hanging

Many wall hangings take the form of a large piece of decorative fabric, these pieces are very versatile and can be used as throws or bedspreads as well as displayed on a wall. Other wall hangings may be constructed from materials like metal, wood, canvas, or a combination of several materials.


This type of wall art is made partly or entirely from metal and generally has a contemporary, modern feel. They are usually created either by cutting and bending the metal to shape, etching designs into a flat metal sheet, or by twisting thick, heavy metal wire into a pattern or image. As many of these wall hangings are somewhat three-dimensional, they will cast shadows on the wall, adding contour and interest to the surface. The metal in these may sometimes become dull and tarnished over time, needing to be cleaned or polished.


These wall hangings may consist of a flat sheet of polished wood with decorative engravings or cut-out sections, or may be a more three-dimensional carved wooden sculpture which is nonetheless flat enough to hang on a wall. The carving may be elaborate and ornate, or clean and simple with strong, dramatic shapes. Like metal sculptures, these wooden wall hangings will cast shadows and have a solid, three-dimensional look.


This type of wall hanging features mosaic patterns made from stained glass, stone, ceramics or various combinations of materials. The mosaic may be a random, abstract design, may form a repeating pattern, or may represent a simple image.


Canvas wall hangings consist of printed or painted canvas stretched over a frame. They vary from very small canvases designed to be displayed in groups, to very large pieces which may cover most of a wall. Split canvases, in which a single picture is broken up and displayed over several canvases of varying size and shape, are currently popular, and can add a fresh, original touch to an image.


Fabric wall hangings are available in a huge variety of designs, patterns, and types of fabric. The designs of these hangings vary widely, from traditional patterns to modern designs and even novelty prints for a quirky touch. Many of these wall hangings have the advantage of being easily washable, depending on the fabric and dye used in their creation.

Textile Wall Art

There are a huge variety of wall hangings available within the fabric category. These can vary from simple, minimalist cotton prints to elaborate and dramatic designs in a combination of fabrics. The choice of fabric can be important, as some are considerably easier to care for than others, and different fabrics can have strikingly different appearances.


Cotton is a relatively inexpensive material which is generally easy to wash and care for. It tends to drape well, making it a popular choice for interior decor. Cotton also generally takes colour very well, meaning that it can be dyed into a range of colours from subtle pastels and shades of grey, to bright, vivid jewel tones.


Silk is a very soft, luxurious natural fabric which tends to be somewhat delicate and may require dry cleaning or hand washing. It has a distinctive texture and appearance with a subtle lustre, and may be either thick and heavy or very light and airy, depending on the weave and the type of silk. Most silk also takes dye well, and it is available in a very wide range of colours, prints, and patterns.


Velvet is a warm, soft fabric made by using a special weaving technique. It has a unique texture, with its short, soft raised threads giving it a warm, soft feeling. Velvet wall hangings usually have a pattern or picture stamped or embossed into the velvet, or use techniques such as devore to remove the raised threads in some areas. Velvet often needs to be dry cleaned, though some modern varieties can be machine washed without damage.

Wool and yarn

Wool is a natural fibre made from the fleece of animals like sheep, goats, and llamas. It is usually spun into a yarn, which can then be woven, knitted or crocheted into a fabric. The huge range of yarns available today, including novelty yarns which may include metallic strands, scraps of other fabric and even things like plastic and tinsel; means that there are endless possibilities for creatively combining yarn for interesting effects. Woven and knitted wall hangings may use delicate, toning colours for a subtle look, or may have a chaotic, vibrant abstract look which bring a touch of life and colour to a room. Depending on the type of yarn used, some of these woven wall hangings may be machine washable, while others may need to be dry cleaned.

Textile Art Techniques

As well as using different types of fabric to create these wall hangings, designs can be added to them in various ways - some are woven into the fabric or embroidered on it, others use various techniques for painting or staining the material.

Weaving and knitting

Some designs are woven or knitted directly into the fabric while it is being made, using different coloured threads in a particular pattern to create the material. This technique means that the design is an integral part of the fabric, which cannot be washed out. This method is usually best for abstract patterns, or very stylised representations of an image, and generally uses comparatively few colours.


Patterns or images are sewn onto the fabric using embroidery thread. This was traditionally done by hand, but machine embroidery is rapidly growing in popularity both as a design element and as a craft. Modern techniques mean that very complex patterns and designs can be embroidered using computerised machine embroidery.

Screen printing and stencil printing

These techniques involve using a stencil to dye parts of the fabric in a particular pattern. With the use of stencils, quite intricate and detailed patterns can be produced. Depending on the dye and the fabric used, the resulting product may be unsuitable for machine washing.

Batik and resist dyeing

Originating in Indonesia, this technique involves dyeing the whole fabric, but making a pattern by ensuring that certain parts of it will resist the dye. This can be done by painting on the fabric with wax (batik), or using a dye-resistant paste or chemical. The wax, paste or chemical is then removed, leaving a pattern in the blank, un-dyed spaces. This method can be used to create abstract patterns or detailed images, particularly with modern chemical methods which allow the use of two or more types of dye. Some batik-dyed wall hangings use very vibrant colours and bold patterns, while others have a more earthy, traditional feel.

Hand dyeing

This covers a wide range of techniques used by textile artists to create attractive abstract patterns, and can include dip-dyeing, methods like twisting or tying the fabric before dying it, or dripping dye onto wet fabric to make abstract colour patterns. This can be combined with other textile art methods like embroidery or applique to create a unique, one-off piece.



Wall hangings can add a finishing touch to interior decor, provide a talking point and complement or contrast with the room's colour scheme. They range from simple printed fabric to intricate, elaborate pieces of art, and if well cared for they may last for many years or even a lifetime. Research materials, techniques, styles, and artists to choose the right piece and find the best possible deal.

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