Using Tapestries, Paint, Wood Paneling and Wallpaper for That Medieval Look


Walls are such a blank canvas for the imagination. Anyone with an artistic flair or inclination will have a royally good time decorating their walls.
The Wikipedia defines tapestries as textile art, but when I was young we always thought of them as wall rugs, mind you we would NEVER use them as floor rugs.
Using tapestries on walls is nothing new, it has been done for hundreds of years in Churches and in Castles.

Rolling Tapestry after use.

Rolling them up and storing them was easy and the church would bring them out for special and festive occasions. Castles used them as decoration and as an added bonus, the tapestries created an insulation against the stone cold walls.

Only the rich and famous could afford having tapestries as they were made by hand in the medieval days.

Can you imagine, in those times the sewing machine and sewing needle did not exist.  The people had to be creative. Today we have machinery and factories that can spit out these tapestries in no time at all, and it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg or a whole years working salary.

Mythical Creatures
The Last Supper

Medieval tapestries with religious themes such as the famous Last Supper and mythical creatures  have always been popular even to this day.


Beautiful landscape
Amazing details and colors


Landscape and nature tapestries are also amazing works of art.  The bright colors are cheerful and will enhance any room’s atmosphere.

Tapestry hanging in the Living Room and the vestibule of the Vanderbilt Mansion

Very very old tapestries are extremely      valuable as time goes by because they show actual events that have taken place. Remember many people were uneducated and could not write, so pictures really are worth a thousand words.

These detailed works of art are very helpful because they can offer true and sometimes very rare information about a time long long ago.  Take for example the tapestry series on the War of Troy.  In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta.   It is part of one of the most important sets of tapestry still surviving from the latter part of the 15th century

The lady and the Unicorn
Famous Battle of Hastings depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry

There are reports that “The Cluny Museum in Paris holds many original pieces of medieval wall tapestries.
Most of today’s reproductions have come from those original great masterpieces.Two very popular forms of tapestries is the Lady and the Unicorn series displaying myth and legend, and the other is the Bayeux tapestry depicting scenes of the famous Battle of Hastings.”

Beautifully hung on a curtain rod
Nicely framed under glass to protect from dust.

Tapestries are big and heavy. You need to use rigid curtain rods with lots of brackets making sure that both rod, bracket and wall screws are very solid. You can also put the tapestry inside a frame with or without the glass. I would suggest putting under glass, it will protect from dust. However you wish to hang the tapestry make sure all the hardware is solid.

Your home will have an amazing historical charm element if you hang a beautiful reproduction on your wall (even if it is machine made). If you have an interest in art, you can also add German and Roman paintings and sculptures to your interior decor as an extra element.

The wonderful thing about using this kind of wall decoration is that it never goes out of style. It has been over 500 years and yet the most beautiful palaces, estates, castles and homes still hang wall tapestries. It is truly a sight to behold.

Beautiful wood paneling

Wood paneling and wainscot are some times used as one and the same. Wood paneling seems to be more ornate and decorates the wall completely top to bottom, where as wainscot is less ornate and covers only the bottom half of the wall. Wainscot is used to protect the wall from chairs when backing up. There are many different types of wainscotting…. flat panel wainscoting, raised panel wainscoting, , board and batten, and finally….beadboard. Your research will give you many ideas.


Faux stones, now this is amazing. A simple google search and you will see so many styles, that the harderst thing you will have to do is make a final decision as to what you want. The great thing aobut faux stone is that it can be used anywhere your heart pleases.


For the Victorian or Gothic look, you can also go towards the wallpaper niche. Wallpaper is like the poor relative of the family, you know they are there, but you bypass them all the time. Well now wallpaper is making a comeback.


Wallpaper affects the atmosphere of any room and it can influence what furniture you decide to use. Damask or brocade wallpaper is more in line with traditional Victorian Style. If you want a dramatic touch of elegance, try wallpaper that has a velvet texture or a bold pattern with rich colors of black, gold, burgundy.

Just as like tapestries, they can tell a story and you can see the evolution of time and fashion.  If you have a good eye for detail, looking at the wallpaper in someone’s home can give you hints as to the owners of the home, who when where etc. There are pros and cons to using wallpaper, but the designs that exist on wallpaper are more than you can imagine. Take your time and have fun with your research.

Paint is another big product that is used in creating the Victorian or Gothic medieval effect.  The colors used in those days were deep rich and dark reds, greens, golds, purples, oranges, burgundy and black, which was used very sparingly because black was associated with death.

Choosing the color you want is only the starting point.  There is so much you can do on walls. If you don’t have the money to buy a castle, then buy the materials to create one. You are embarking on a wonderful adventure.   Let your walls make your dreams and desires come true.

Happy decorating.

Here are some more articles that will interest you:

Hogwart's castle can give you lots of ideas!
Hogwart’s castle can give you lots of ideas!
Beautiful window dressings that are timeless.
Beautiful window dressings that are timeless!
Spotting The Victorian Home!
Spotting the Victorian Home!

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