If You Choose Grasscloth, Expect to See Paneling

Digital Image

Digital Image
There is nothing wrong here – this is what grasscloth is supposed to look like. It is, according to the manufacturers, “part of the inherent natural beauty of the natural material.”

All of the strips in the photos above are from the same “run,” meaning, they were all made a the same time. In the second photo, all three strips came off the same bolt of material. As you can see, there are light and dark areas, and abrupt changes in color even in the middle of a strip.

Indeed, it’s pretty hard to avoid this look when using undyed fibers, because the ladies who make grasscloth by sewing the material onto the backing are just grabbing handfuls of grass and reeds from the pile, and the pile is made up of whatever they cut from the fields and marshes. Even when they dye the fibers, there can be very noticeable differences in color from strip to strip, and even within each strip (for instance, darker color on the outer edges of the strip). Most grasscloth is made in China and Japan, with better quality control coming from Japanese factories IMO.

People love textured wallcoverings, and grasscloth is very popular right now. I, personally, greatly dislike this look, and try to steer my clients toward the faux products, which are much more predictable in appearance. Many people say they understand and that they won’t mind the paneled effect. But once it’s on the wall, I think many of them are surprised at how extreme the color difference can be.

On the other hand, many people don’t even see it. When the room above was finished, this client, for example, said to me, “Julles, I know you said you don’t like grasscloth. What about it don’t you like? Because I think this looks fabulous!”


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