Grasscloth is a classic; a designer staple that is currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity. We love the variety of colors and textures available and it is a great tool for adding a layer of interest to a space, whether on the walls, ceiling or lacquered onto a piece of furniture. The term “grasscloth” is used to describe an entire group of wallcoverings constructed from natural materials on a rice paper backing. (You might see it by names like hemp, reed, arrowroot, jute, etc. While they have different looks, they all fall into the ‘grasscloth’ category.)

Some of our favorite grasscolths come from Phillip Jeffries and Thibaut:

phillip jeffries wallcovering via porterdesigncompany.com

Thibaut wallcovering via porterdesigncompany.com

…and we are quite smitten with these printed grasscloths from Celerie Kemble for F. Schumacher:

Celerie Kemble wallcovering via porterdesigncompany.com

Grasscloth has a distinctive look. High textured panels, in natural colors, brighter shades, printed or embellished all offer a different effect:

grasscloth wallcovering via porterdesigncompany.com

 (images sources, clockwise from top left: Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV, House of Turquoise, Sarah Dorsey Designs)

It has impact in small doses. For instance, we love the clever use of grasscloth in this alcove:

photo wall via porterdesigncompany.com

(image source

…and how it was used here to back a bookcase:

bookshelf via porterdesigncompany.com

(image source)

…and of course, applied and lacquered on furniture:

grasscloth furniture via porterdesigncompany.com

 (images sources, clockwise from top left: Bungalow 5, Candelabra, Williams Sonoma Home, 1stDibs)

Some important things to note about grasscloth:

It’s not supposed to get wet, so using it in a small bathroom that experiences high levels of humidity is not practical. You may also want to avoid using it in high traffic areas, as real grasscloth is not washable in any way. There are numerous faux grasscloths, however (and they are quite good looking!), that can stand in for the real thing in wet or high-traffic spaces.

There will be visible seams as it is impossible to match up the strands of grass. (This is called the ‘panel effect’). Embrace them. They are all part of the ‘look’ of grasscloth.

Because the base of grasscolth is rice paper, special pastes that do not stain are required for installation. We’d leave this job to the pros, but in the event you want to have a go, try searching for a tutorial or video online.