Restoring Fabric Upholstered Walls: Water Stains Versus Shading Differences Part 1

water stain fabric upholstered wall

We made a house visit in Harrison, NY and met a homeowner who recently experienced damage to her fabric-upholstered walls.

Few companies have the capability of cleaning wall upholstery, so we are always happy to be able to help those who’ve experienced some loss to their fabric-upholstered walls.

Upon entering the home, she pointed us toward the stain on the wall just beneath a wall fixture.

It was clear that it was a water stain, but what we found when we moved the fixture was even more interesting…


Behind the wall fixture we found a distinct difference in shading, and as we looked around the rest of the home (which was completely covered in fabric-upholstered walls), we realized the issue was much larger than we expected.

The thing is… When cleaning a water stain from fabric-upholstered walls, it’s important to consider how that spot is going to look with the rest of the wall upholstery. In other words, if you only clean the stained area, you’ll be left with one clean spot, and the rest of the wall upholstery will look dirty in comparison.

A seemingly small job becomes a big one when all of your walls are fabric-upholstered.

So, we went around the home removing the pictures and wall fixtures, and what we found was that behind each were shading differences. Being over 20 years old, her fabric upholstered walls have had ample time to experience various environmental stimuli such as particulates in the air, UV rays coming in through the windows, humidity, and more…

And it shows…

This spot, though apparent, isn’t as pronounced as some of the others that are either exposed to as much light or near the kitchen where the particulates from cooking are more present.


Look how much darker this shaded area is. It’s both right next to the kitchen, and directly across from direct sunlight.

The same goes for this shaded area. It’s right next to the kitchen and across from windows that let a lot of light in.

So, now what…

Well, we have two very different types of issues to deal with: water stain removal and the removal of what is most likely a combination of mildew and other staining caused by particulates in the air coupled with shading differences as a result of UV light exposure.

Check back to see how we fare in our quest to restore the homeowner’s fabric-upholstered walls to pre-loss conditions.

Though it will be a challenge, we are confident that if we can’t remove the shading differences from the homeowner’s fabric-upholstered walls, it simply can’t be done.

We hope you found this post informative, and if you have any questions, please do reach out.


And when it can’t be done, we do know some talented people who custom-make gorgeous fabric-upholstered walls.

Interesting fact: Did you know fabric-upholstered walls were originally used for insulation? Now, they’re mostly appreciated for their aesthetic and acoustical appeal: they look unique and beautiful when done right, and they soften the sounds of the space.