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Painted Grasscloth Wallpaper

Our New Living Room Semi-Update

One of the first projects in our new house was to tackle the main living room color. We are still working on new flooring, etc. But… the color was important. If you saw our old living room, you know I love a navy living room.

I LOVE grasscloth. If you have it in your house & it’s in good condition… you should absolutely paint it the color you want for interesting and preppy texture in any space. I linked grasscloth wallpaper at the bottom of this post if you’re interested in purchasing it for your home. I probably would’ve installed it myself for this space had it not already been installed.

What Is Grasscloth?

If you don’t know what grasscloth is: wallpaper made of natural materials, sometimes help, jute, sea grass, etc. It’s natural-looking and gives texture and elegance to any space, not just beach houses. It is pretty expensive but in my opinion, so worth it. Ours is horizontal but it comes in patterns of horizontal, vertical, or even both sometimes.


Our House:

When we first walked through the new house, I immediately loved the grasscloth wallpaper. And it was a beautiful, rich forest green. However, it was banged up, dingy & needed to be cleaned desperately. It was almost dusty looking. Anyway… once it was clean we decided on a different shade of navy than we used in the old house, I LOVE it. The color is Sherwin Williams ‘Endless Sea‘. (Side note, isn’t it strange that the layout of this room is almost identical to our old living room.. I swear this house was made for us!).

(While I’m sharing this old photo… can we just notice this fabulous decor? I’m obsessing over the green velvet couch. This was not how the house was decorated when we bought it, or I would’ve begged for the couch, too! These photos were taken a few years ago.) 

*My apologies again for not taking ‘before’ and ‘during’ photos… my friends were still telling me to do a blog at that point and I was still rolling my eyes saying “omg, never y’all”. Here I am now, wishing I would’ve done it sooner & taken lots more before/after pics. The photos I did take were focusing on light fixtures & wall colors I needed to change, sorry! Take my word for it, it was green- kind of hard to tell the difference between dark green & navy in these poor lit iPhone pics.


We normally paint walls after removing wallpaper, sanding, patching & priming… But this time, I really loved the texture of the grasscloth and didn’t want to remove it. We had no idea the best way to go about doing this so with a little research and tips from our favorite Sherwin Williams guy, we just dove right in & did it. A few hours later, we had a gorgeous updated room!

how to paint grasscloth navy

How To Paint Grasscloth

  1. First, clean the grasscloth. I used a damp rag & a tiny bit of 409.
  2. Prime the grasscloth wallpaper – do not skip this step if you’re painting it a lighter shade (& use a very thin coat)
  3. Paint over the grasscloth using a roller & a brush to paint the edges. We used an entire gallon of the high-quality Sherwin Williams flat paint. It took 2 coats to full cover the texture of the wallpaper.

how to paint grasscloth

So easy! For a few of the old nail holes, we couldn’t use patching mud like we are used to or it would have completely compromised the texture. I read somewhere when we were doing this that you could use tiny beads of Elmer’s Glue. I figured it was worth a shot because we’d probably be hanging stuff in similar areas on the wall so I could always cover it if needed.. but it worked like a charm. We did this with a few holes before we started painting and let it dry. I honestly can’t even remember where those holes are now.

navy grasscloth

painted navy grasscloth

We are thrilled with the end result of this room. We eventually want to paint all of the trim, built-ins, and the wood under the chair rail a brighter white like we did in the great room. Those built-ins were a much more difficult task, I can live with these for now. New hardware is also in the works. Along with the new hardwoods we are having matched to the rest of the original in the house. I also am begging for 2 new patio doors – both the doors in this room lead out onto our terrace and they desperately need an update. They do let in a ton of light & our pups love to lay in the sunlight every day (included a pic of our Grey-girl because she was relaxing while I was taking pics). Anyway…The list in this room is pretty big, sorry B!

navy grasscloth

What do you think? I LOVE wallpaper and I love grasscloth so this was a great way to make it our own. And as always… paint is the cheapest way to make the biggest impact in a room and it’s such an easy DIY. I’ll continue to update as we work in the main living room, I’m so excited to see more changes!

I have included a few affiliate links in this post to similar decor items from our living room.


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  • Reply Jennifer

    Do you remember what color blue you used for this? It looks like a great “not-too-dark” “not-too-light” color!

    April 3, 2018 at 10:41 am
    • Reply sarahmlevy

      It’s Sherwin Williams Endless Sea! I agree about it not being too dark, it’s perfect for what I was picturing! Hope this helps

      April 3, 2018 at 12:14 pm
  • Reply Julie

    Hi Sarah! Love this look—thank you sharing! We bought a house with brown grass cloth in my daughter’s room, which is not her color of choice! I have a painter coming tomorrow to paint it! Do you mind sharing what sheen you recommend for painted grass cloth? Thanks so much!

    August 12, 2018 at 3:22 pm
    • Reply sarahmlevy

      I think we used eggshell, I didn’t want it glossy because there were some small flaws in the grass cloth already and didn’t want to draw attention where I’d patched it!!

      September 6, 2018 at 7:14 am
  • Reply Lisa

    Beautiful! What kind of primer did you use? We’ve been told by our local paint store we need to use oil based because latex could loosen the glue on our grasscloth??

    November 1, 2018 at 6:33 pm
  • Reply Portella

    Definitely, I want to have these walls in my own house.

    March 1, 2019 at 8:18 am
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