A beautiful handwoven wall tapestry can instantly add character and charm to any living space. Unlike mass produced decor, an artisanal tapestry displays the creativity and skill of the weaver. Tapestries make wonderful decorative accents as they bring color, texture, and even cultural heritage to your walls. If you’re looking for a new focal point to liven up your room, a tapestry is a unique alternative to paintings or prints.
Tapestries are woven decorative wall hangings that have been made across cultures for thousands of years. Before modern manufacturing, handweaving was the only way to produce intricate textiles. Tapestries traditionally depicted ornate scenes, patterns, and motifs full of meaning. Today, handwoven tapestries are still made in traditional styles that capture the weaving legacy of different regions.
The best handwoven tapestries showcase quality materials like wool, cotton, or silk, along with expert weaving techniques. Tapestries can become family heirlooms and work well in both traditional and boho inspired homes. Read on to discover the top styles of handwoven wall tapestries to find your perfect match!
Top 5 Handwoven Wall Tapestries
1. Persian Style Tapestry
Persian style tapestries reflect the intricate artistic legacy of Iran and the surrounding Middle East. Popular motifs include floral and geometric designs, medallions, trees of life, animals, and scenes inspired by Persianminiature paintings. Traditional Persian tapestries are woven from silk or wool in hues like rich ruby reds, deep blues, and warm neutrals.
Sizes range from smaller 20″ x 30″ pieces to grand oversized tapestries 6 feet or larger. The dazzling patterns and embellishments make Persian style tapestries ideal as the dramatic focal point over a sofa, bed, or table. They bring an exotic, luxurious look to bedrooms, living rooms, and other lounging spaces.
2. Navajo Style Tapestry
Navajo tapestries display the iconic patterns and symbols of Navajo and other Southwestern Native American tribes. Traditional designs include geometric shapes, stripe and diamond motifs, and the Navajo wedding basket pattern. Most Navajo tapestries are woven from natural wool in an earthy color palette of terra cotta, brown, tan, turquoise blue, and black.
Standard sizes range from 2 x 3 feet to 8 x 10 feet. The bold geometric designs make Navajo tapestries perfect for rustic and Southwestern style homes. Hang one over a bed, sofa, or dining table to add Native American flair. Keep in mind traditional Navajo weaving is done on an upright loom, so tapestries have a longer vertical orientation.
3. Scandinavian Style Tapestry
Scandinavian tapestries reflect the weaving heritage of Nordic countries like Sweden, Iceland, Finland, and Denmark. Designs often feature folk art motifs like animals, flowers, seasonal scenes, and geometric patterns in muted earthen hues. Traditional Scandinavian tapestries use natural wool or cotton woven in simple techniques like rya knitting.
Sizes range from smaller chair tapestries around 2 x 3 feet up to full wall hangings around 6 x 8 feet. The muted palettes and minimalist Scandinavian designs make these tapestries ideal for bohemian style living rooms, bedrooms, and entryways. Drape one over a sofa or position behind a sitting area to create a rustic focal point.
4. Turkish Kilim Tapestry
Turkish kilim tapestries showcase centuries of weaving tradition using the flatweave kilim technique. Kilims are woven from wool or cotton and display geometric patterns, stripes, botanical motifs, and regional Turkish symbols. Traditional designs utilize vibrant red, blue, green, and terracotta hues.
Kilim tapestries range from smaller 3 x 5 foot sizes for chairs and tables up to large 10 x 14 foot full wall hangings. The striking patterns and colors make kilims perfect statement pieces. Use one behind a bed, over a sofa, or even as a tablecloth to display Turkish style. Kilims work especially well in boho, eclectic, or Middle Eastern inspired spaces.
5. Belgian Style Tapestry
Belgian tapestries showcase intricate weaving and needlework techniques from the Flanders region. Master Belgian weavers produce florals, scenes, hunting motifs, and lavish coats of arms. Traditional Belgian tapestries use luxurious wool and silk blended together to produce subtle shading.
Sizes range from compact 2 x 3 feet up to enormous 15 x 25 feet masterpieces fit for palaces. The exceptional detail and artistry make Belgian tapestries true heirlooms. Display one in a formal living room, dining room, or master bedroom as an elegant focal point. Or place a Belgians tapestry behind a desk to add Old World style to a home office.
How to Choose a Handwoven Wall Tapestry
Picking out the perfect handwoven tapestry for your space may seem daunting. Here are some tips to guide you to the right style and fit:
- Consider the size of your wall and room – Make sure to pick a tapestry that fits the wall space well. Oversized tapestries can feel overwhelming in small rooms while too small tapestries get lost. Measure to find the ideal size.
- Choose colors and patterns that suit your decor – Select a palette and motifs that coordinate with your existing furniture and style. Neutrals work universally while bold patterns make dramatic accents.
- Look for quality materials like wool and cotton – 100% wool provides durability and vivid hues that last. Cotton has a softer drape. Silk adds luxurious sheen. Blends combine benefits.
- Read reviews and buy from reputable sellers – With any artisanal item, quality can vary. Check reviews and shop from trusted tapestry brands and sites for best results.
- Match the tapestry style to the room feeling you want – Choose Navajo patterns for a rugged vibe, Persian for ornate elegance, Scandinavian for relaxed minimalism.
- Make sure it has rods or loops for hanging – Tapestries should have integrated pockets or loops to slide over a rod for easy mounting.
FAQs and Answers About Handwoven Tapestries
Handwoven tapestries create a beautiful decorative statement, but also bring up common questions for new buyers. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
What are the main differences between machine woven and handwoven tapestries?
Handwoven tapestries are created on manual looms by artisans. This allows for uniqueness and slight irregularities that give each piece character. Machine woven tapestries are mass produced for consistency but lack the artisanal qualities.
How do I properly care for and clean a wool tapestry?
Regular light vacuuming with an upholstery attachment removes dust and surface debris. For deeper cleaning, use a mild wool-safe detergent and spot clean gently by hand. Avoid harsh chemicals, commercial cleaners, and washing machines which can damage fibers.
How can I hang a large tapestry on my wall?
For wide tapestries, use rods with mounted brackets placed either above or behind the piece. Feed the rod through the tapestry’s hanging sleeve. Or install cleats to mount the top corners for a rod-free look. Never hang from ceiling hooks which can tear fabric.
What are tapestries typically used for?
Tapestries make stunning decorative wall hangings in bedrooms, living rooms, dining areas, and dorms. Smaller tapestries can cover chairs, tables, and shelves. Tapestries also make artistic tablecloths.
How much do handwoven tapestries cost?
Prices vary widely based on size, materials, and artistry. Simple cotton decorative tapestries often cost $50 to $150. Handwoven wool kilims and Navajo tapestries range from $200 to $600. Larger premium tapestries from $400 to over $2000. Masterwork Belgian and Persian pieces reach into the tens of thousands.
Bring Culture and Artistry Home
Handwoven tapestries make meaningful additions to any space. Beyond just decor, they connect you to centuries of textile traditions from around the world. Each day a tapestry graces your home with heritage, creativity, and craftsmanship.
Hopefully this guide has illuminated the diversity and beauty of handwoven wall tapestries. Think about the mood you want to evoke, whether elegant, rugged, minimalist or exotic. Do you want to highlight your cultural roots or collect global styles? Picture your new tapestry draping your wall before making your purchase.
Choose quality over quantity – a meticulous handwoven tapestry will far outlast any mass produced decor. Find the perfect size and display it proudly as a tapestry transforms an empty expanse into a meaningful focal point. Let the artistry of skilled weavers from past generations infuse your home with color, texture, and revived tradition.