Office Makeover: Grasscloth Wallpaper

I’ve always loved the classic, textured look of grasscloth wallpaper. When planning out the office I was inspired by these images to possibly give it a shot in the space:

Cue my ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhhhs’.

With all of this great inspiration it’s definitely worth a shot, right? I placed a sample order with Thibaut for several promising swatches and settled on Hakka Grass in Khaki (note – if you search ‘grasscloth’ on the fabric website the results come up blank, but they have plenty of choices so try ‘grass’ instead).

It arrived in the mail and I was beyond excited. The wallpaper is comprised of small reeds and fibers in a variety of natural colors, all of which are woven tightly together to create that perfect grasscloth look.

Sooo… at no less than 2am the other night we hung grasscloth on one wall of our office. Why the late time? (or early??) I was so excited to install the wallpaper that I happily agreed to Kevin’s suggestion that we ‘knock it out’ post-painting (which we finished up at… 2am) before the carpet installer came that same morning.

Given the ridiculous time of day, these next photos might be a bit dark… but the grasscloth is up!

Grasscloth Walls

Materials: two people (very helpful!), grasscloth wallpaper, textured wallpaper paste (the thick, sturdy stuff is definitely worth the extra few dollar splurge), paint roller and tray, utility knife, staple gun, baking mitts, level and pencil

1. We discovered (the hard way) that the very first step in applying grasscloth is ensuring a level working surface. This might mean that that first panel of paper is hung at a bit of an angle (if there’s anything we’ve found over the years it’s that not all walls are level). If you attempt to hang straight from floor to ceiling without leveling, you might step back several panels in to see the textured pattern angle down or up. So first things first: lay your level vertically against the wall and mark the straight line with a pencil. Go ahead and take a moment to remove all wall switch and outlet covers as well.

2. Using your paint roller (we used both a hand held roller and a roller with an extended wall arm), apply a coat of paste to the wall from top to bottom (as you get used to the process of applying the paper, you can add a coat to the back of the grasscloth as well).

3. Using the penciled line as your guide (and not the corner of your room), hold the top of your first grasscloth panel up against the wall. You’ll notice right away that the panel that touches the ceiling, corner and floor will be unlevel, that’s okay – we’re working by the penciled level line and not the natural wall.

4. Staple the top of the panel at the point there the panel meets the ceiling and smooth, smooth, smooth. I’ve heard a large brush works well for this but I covered my hands in baking mitts (to protect them from the reeds in the grasscloth) and smoothed the heck out of those panels over and over and over again to prevent bubbles. Apply more paste at the edges when necessary with a small paint brush. Feel free to throw in a few more staples along the edges as well – but keep those staples horizontal and not vertical so that you don’t put holes into the paper that you can’t hide. 

If you find that applying the paste to the wall before you hang the paper is resulting in a dry wall, try stapling the top of the panel to wall (as mentioned above) and have one person hold the panel high while the other reapplies paste underneath. Then slowly lowered the stapled grasscloth and continue to smooth.


5. Trim excess grasscloth at the edges with a sharp utility knife (those textured reeds are thick so the sharper the knife, the cleaner the cut). Now’s a great time to trim paper for electrical outlets and wall switches as well.

Note: We worked straight off of the roll and didn’t find it necessary to cut wall-sized panels from the roll first. If you do, be sure to add extra inches to account for trimming those unleveled edges.

6. Repeat! We needed four full panels and a small narrow strip at the end. The  beauty of grasscloth is that there is no pattern to match as you hang the next panel. Seams are okay and come with grasscloth territory so don’t worry about seeing them here and there. Plus, when you have your artwork and furniture added to the room there will be too many distractions to focus on rather than any lined wall seams. (If you’re extra nervous about seams, cut your full wall panels first and line up the most closely colored panels with each other).

7. Wait a full day for the wallpaper paste to dry, then carefully remove each staple with a staple remover or flat head screwdriver. An alternate to removing the staples (especially if you’re nervous about how well the paper will hang) is to take a bit of tan paint and with a thin brush paint right over the horizontal staples so that the blend in with the grasscloth – I promise, if your grasscloth is thick and textured with real reeds like ours, NO one will know the difference!

We finished up the project in about 2 ½ hours including prep and clean-up. Having two people to hang, smooth and cut the wallpaper for the entire wall is extemely helpful in such a hands on project.

I was so happy to wake up to a freshly wallpapered room the next morning! I was also a bit nervous that working at 3am might cause a few mishaps that we were unaware of, and I did spot several bubbles that made me nervous enough to consider pulling a panel down to reapply – but amazingly those bubbles dried themselves out by midafternoon and the wall was flat as a pancake.


Love the new wall! The room is much in need of new molding (painted a bright white), a new window there on the right and a bit of window refurbishing in the guest ‘nook’ – but it’s well on its way.

What do you think of grasscloth? And for that matter, do you ever finish projects at odd times of the day?

For more Office Makeover posts, check out: painting the office nookfinding carpet for the office, chocolate brown wall ideas, plastering progress inspiration for a diy desk, back in action!, desking hunting for under $300, bookcases under $300, inspirational rooms, room layout options, demo part 1 & demo part 2.

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  1. Dhelley says

    Can you do a whole room? Does this paper bend at corners? I really want to do my master bath. Help

  2. beth says

    I love the look your room is having, even bare. I even love grasscloth seems. To me it looks elegant and classy. Here, you have made it look easy to hang. I know it used to be costly to have a paperhanger hang it–as much as the rolls cost. Would advise a novice to hang this? I have a small area, but am nervous about hanging it myself.
    Thank you!

  3. Brooke says

    It looks amazing! I am attempting to wallpaper with grass cloth. However, I want to use it only for a border. I can only find grass cloth in large rolls. I was wondering how easy is it to cut the wallpaper, does it fray? I know I’ll have alot of piecing work to do since the grass runs horizontal, am I crazy to attempt this?

    • Morgan says

      Hi Brooke, Thanks for your comment! In regards to bordering a room with grasscloth, it’s definitely possible, but these are a few issues I would be nervous about:
      -frayed edges: grasscloth would be easy to cut horizontally because the grass runs horizontally, but you’ll still have frayed edges at points you have to cut across the grass to get a straight line. Usually those edges are hidden by the ceiling or floor.
      -lots of pieces: as you mentioned, because each roll is only 36″ or so wide, you’ll have lots of starts and stops
      -no border: this goes back to the first point, but if you did try this you might consider adding molding or a chair rail as a high border
      -difference in texture: grasscloth is thick and has quite the texture, it if was bordering a painted wall you might notice the difference in depth and I’m not sure if that would be bothersome or not.

      That being said I LOVE my grasscloth wall and wouldn’t change it out for anything – hope your project goes well if you decide to tackle it!!

      ~Morgan :)

  4. Morgan says

    Thanks, Randi, Sandi and Lisa! Agreed that 2am is a crzy time to do projects. Amazing what can be accomplished when the little one is asleep!

    Sheila, Kevin didn’t initially like the seams and had the same wood paneling idea. I decided I wouldn’t love the end look and that it might appear to partitioned, though it would certainly take care of the seams.

    Professional wallpaper hangers (try posting an ad on Craigslist) might do a better job at hiding them, too!

    Good luck:),

  5. says

    I love this! and I feel like its so “you”…at least the “you” I know from reading this blog. :)
    great addition!

  6. says

    That looks FABULOUS. I love grasscloth. And I pretty much accomplish everything I need to do between 9 and midnight, when everyone else is in bed.

  7. says

    it looks great! i’m with sheila g. on the seams issue. but, i think you’re right in that artwork and other accessories will distract from that. the grasscloth will add such a calming affect to your office. also, you’re crazy for still doing projects at 2 am:)

  8. Kristin says

    Love the grasscloth walls and thank you for the tutorial! I’m definitely wanting to try this sometime in the future!

    • Morgan says

      Thanks, Kristin, The Partiologist & Patti! Happy to help and do hope you try grasscloth out – and then let me know how it goes :).


  9. Morgan says

    Hi Anna – thank you!

    Sheila, I definitely understand. It’s one of those ‘comes with the territory’ problems but I’m hoping artwork, bookcases, etc will help distract from the seams (that you just can’t hide). We’ll see!


  10. SheilaG says

    I love the texture of grasscloth, but I’m afraid the seams would drive me batty- my eye always goes right to them. I wonder if small strips of wood or bamboo at the seams would give me a solution to my ocd so I could try glasscloth- or would that look terrible?

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