Have an heirloom rug that you want to display, but don’t want to wear out? Maybe you picked up a pretty rug on your travels, but don’t want to replace the rug you already have. Or, perhaps you just think your rug would make a beautiful wall hanging. Whatever your motive, there are a number of reasons why you may choose to hang your area rug on the wall instead of laying it on the floor. The question is, how do you do it?
There are a couple of ways to hang your area rug on your wall. The method you choose will depend on the size and weight of your rug, the location where it will hang, and your personal preference. Below I have outlined the two most common methods to hang a rug on the wall.
Method 1: Velcro
Using Velcro to hang your area rug on the wall is currently the method preferred by many museums, including The Textile Museum. This method can be used on heavy-weight rugs with success, and without causing damage to the rug.
Velcro tape consists of two separate strips: the hook tape and the loop tape. The hook tape is the rough part of the Velcro, and the loop tape is the softer, fuzzy part.
Attaching to the Rug
The loop tape should be sewn onto the back of your area rug, along the top edge. If your rug is an heirloom piece or a high-value rug, it is recommended that a strip of plain, unbleached muslin or canvas that is wider than the Velcro strip be used to prevent any damage to the rug from contact with the Velcro tape or other materials.
First, stitch the Velcro loop tape to the muslin strip, then sew the muslin to the rug.
If your rug is handmade, the muslin should be hand-sewn to the rug using a whip stitch to avoid any damage to the rug. To hide the stitching, use a heavy cotton thread that is close in color to that of your rug, and carefully guide the needle between the rug fibers.
Attaching to the Wall
The hook tape may be stapled to a thin, straight piece of wood that is the same width as your rug. This piece of wood may then be mounted to the wall, and the rug attached by connecting the two Velcro strips.
Raw, untreated wood should never come into contact with the rug. The use of muslin or canvas as outlined above prevents this from occurring; however, if you have not used a muslin or canvas strip, ensure that the piece of wood has been sealed.
For large and heavy rugs, this process may be repeated several times so that there are three or four strips of wood stacked vertically every few feet, to help support the weight of the rug. Alternatively, Velcro strips may be used in the above manner around the perimeter of the rug; however, this method requires extreme precision in measuring and placing the wood, so as to avoid buckling or stretching of the rug.
Method 2: Curtain Rod
The second method of hanging an area rug on the wall involves the use of a curtain rod. A heavy cotton casing may be sewn onto the back of the rug (again, this should be hand-sewn if hanging a handmade or antique rug) to form a tube, through which the curtain rod may be inserted. This should be attached close to the top of the rug.
The rod may then be mounted on appropriate brackets on the wall.
If your rug is an antique and/or is valuable, first attach a piece of unbleached muslin to the rug to run under the casing, preventing the rod from coming into contact with the rug.
The rod used must be sturdy enough to support the weight of the rug without bending in the middle. For a decorative touch, extend the rod several inches beyond each edge of the rug, and cap with ornamental finials. Or, to hide the appearance of the rod and brackets, the rod may be slightly shorter than the width of the rug, with the brackets aligned with the inside edges of the rug, so that the rug hangs in front.
Some Important Tips
Regardless of which method you choose to hang your rug on the wall, there are some important tips to note.
Rugs should never be hung directly above or very near a heat source (such as a heat vent or fireplace).
Rugs should never be hung by nailing or pinning them to the wall. The weight of the rug pulling against the nails will cause stress on the fibers and will irreparably damage the rug.
Whether you display the fringe or tuck it behind the rug out of sight is up to you. Personally, I dislike the look of fringe hanging over the top of the rug, so I would opt to tuck it in, but it is a personal choice.