If you live in an old house, the kind with plaster and lathe walls, you have probably noticed that the walls get very cold in the winter. That’s because there is no insulation in the walls. And, because the plaster is layered right on top of the exterior building materials, you also have no room to blow in foam insulation. Not only does this allow for heat to escape, the walls also get cold and can significantly lower the room temperature. If you have sunk a decent amount of money into appliances and features to make your home more energy efficient, and eco-friendly, leaky walls can undo all your hard work.
One solution is to install a layer of drywall over the plaster on all your exterior walls, then blow in insulation. But if you don’t have the time, and can’t spare the expense, there is another way that provides insulation and decoration at the same time – Tapestries.
Tapestries were originally used in medieval castles to insulate the rooms against the cold and damp that would seep through the stone walls. They were heavy, hand-woven, textiles that often depicted historic, religious, or natural scenes. Today, you can make tapestries with grommets, available at craft and hardware stores, and textiles.
If you are making a tapestry for insulation, consider using an area rug, quilt, or a comforter because it would be thick enough to prevent hot/cold transfer to or from the wall. If you are making a tapestry solely for decorative purposes, consider using a quilt, a blanket, or any other heavy textile that has a design or pattern that you like.
Measure the height and width of the wall you want to cover determine how much textile you need, and how much of the wall you want to cover.
Select the textile you want to use and determine whether you want to or orientate it vertically or horizontally. If the wall has windows, or if it is a long wall, consider hanging a series of vertical panels instead of one big one.
Insert the grommets into the tapestry, approximately one inch from the top edge. Space the grommets evenly, leaving approximately two inches between each grommet. The heavier and longer the tapestry, the more grommets you will need to evenly distribute the weight.
Hold the tapestry up to the wall that you want to cover. Leave one inch of space between the very top of the tapestry and the ceiling. Press the grommets against the wall and use a marker to put a dot in the center of each grommet – this will mark where you want the hooks to go.
Install the heavy-duty, screw-in hook wherever you have a black dot on the wall. Then, hang the tapestry from the hooks.
If you have a small space, consider using light-colored tapestries. Darker colors tend to make small rooms look even smaller. Let the kids take part in the decorating by having them choose the textiles to hang on their walls — Dora the Explorer fan might enjoy hanging a Dora comforter.
You can use tapestries in the winter, to protect against heat loss, or insulate your rooms year-round. You can also make tapestries for different seasons, or different décor, and swap them out as needed.
Clean your tapestries with a steam cleaner or, if they are light enough, in a washing machine then hang them to dry.
Tapestries will not only provide decoration and insulation, they will also protect your interior walls from dirt and smudges, and cover cosmetic flaws.