When we moved into our apartment, I was tempted to put wainscoting on the walls of our little dining room. I didn't have a lot of space (or the woodworking equipment) needed to do that — and I also didn't want something quite as permanent — so I decided to use fabric instead.
I used an outdoor upholstery fabric to line the bottom third of the dining room walls. My original vision was to use leather but outdoor upholstery fabric was more within my budget. The outdoor upholstery fabric will be just as durable and washable as leather.
I stapled the fabric to the wall, making sure to keep it taut as I stapled around the edges. Once all the fabric was up, I hot glued strips of fabric, on which I had finshed the edges, vertically along the wall to cover where each piece meets the next. Then, I installed chair rail along the top of the fabric. This not only covers the edges but it creates a lovely separation from the dark copper of the fabric and the pale orange of the upper part of the wall.
I had difficulty deciding how to cover the staples along the bottom of the wall. I ended up making cording out of leftover fabric, which I hot glued along the top of the baseboard. Another method would have been to use quarter round or some other such wood trim, painted the same color as the baseboard.
And, yes, to finish it off I switched out the old white outlets with new black ones.
Images: Jason Loper