These days, tapestries may be most commonly associated with patchouli-scented dorm rooms, but wall hangings have a long history in the decorative arts going back to the dark ages, and they double as an affordable and non-permanent way to add a large swath of color and pattern to a wall.Here are some colorful wall hanging sources that are certainly worth a second look:
1. Marimekko's bold patterns are always in style, and CB2 offers a changing selection of their wall hangings, currently available is "Siirtolapuurtarha" by artist Maija Louekari.
2. Wall tapestries by Alexander Calder are pricey with a capital "P" — the one above rings in at about $20,000 — but keep an eye out on eBay for graphic tapestries from the 50s and 60s by other lesser known artists. Textile designer Alexander Girard also created some wonderful wall hangings that can sometimes be found for a steal.
3. Urban Outfitters does cater to the college-age set, but their unique collection of tapestries, like the All Seeing Eye shown above, are appealing no matter what your age.
4. Among the more typical Grateful Dead tapestries available from Sunshine Joy is this gorgeous hummingbird design by artist William Schaff.
5. Design your own tapestry! Spoonflower allows you to print your designs on a variety of fabrics — the fabric above was created from a simple pencil sketch. With a computer and a scanner, the possibilities are pretty much endless.
Images: 1, CB2; 2, deconet; 3, Urban Outfitters; 4, Sunshine Joy; 5, Sarah Rainwater