I love creating interiors that make a splash, that are bold, brave and head turning. One way to get instant impact is with a decorative wall mural. These are wallpaper designs that make up one complete image rather than the typical drop repeat pattern that you get with traditional wallpaper. Murals have a rich history in interiors and have adorned the walls of palaces and stately homes for centuries. However modern digital printing techniques means murals are increasingly easy to purchase and install, and better still, you don’t need a princely sum to have one. Prices start at around £30 per sq m, so while they are still an investment, I’d argue that you get a lot of bang for your buck in terms of creating visual impact.
Mural artist Dianne Hill has just recently launched her own range of murals with Harlequin. The image above showcases her Florence mural with a botanical landscape wrapping around the room. Diane’s hand-painted murals are exquisite and have been highly sought after. How exciting that you can now install one of her incredible designs for a fraction of the cost, anywhere in the world.
Choosing a striking mural usually creates quite the focal point in a room, and the consequent look, style and colour palette for the rest of the room hinges on it. Start off by getting inspiration for your scheme. Pinterest is a great first step for getting a feel for what style and design of mural will work best for you but remember that a mural is only part of the puzzle. This delft tile design in blue and white sets the scene for a Mediterranean inspired dining room and is photographic in its details so could fool you to think it is the real thing.
So the mural doesn’t sit out like a fly on a wedding cake, it’s essential to think about other colours in the room and aim to pick a mural with accent colours that will work tonally with the items in the space- for example, large pieces of furniture, rugs, flooring and any drapes you install. My advice is always call in a sample, if possible. This won’t be a guide on what the full scale mural will look like but can give you an indication of the colours to match paint colours for example. I’m always banging on about how Brilliant white should never be the go-to for walls, and in the case of matching a paint colour with your mural, it works better if you can integrate it with the rest of your decorative palette. You can take any colour from the mural to roll out on the other walls, from the lightest to the darkest- depending on the effect you want to create. I love how this deep burgundy has been used on all woodwork and walls, setting off a dramatic backdrop for this modern mural, that rather than wrapping around the wall creates a bold feature wall.
The scale of the mural is all important. Some companies make murals to order so you can give them the size of the wall, and they will resize the design to fit. Otherwise, you need to check that the scale of the mural will fit the height and width of your space. With off-the-shelf murals, you can quite often get away with trimming some off the top or bottom to help the mural fit. The measurements will be available at the point of sale and sometimes you can buy a couple of murals to join together. Alternatively, you can create a frame out of beading (timber strips) that will help frame the mural.
Some murals work better as a feature wall, like a blown up work of art on one wall, while others look fabulous wrapped all the way around the room. If you choose it for a feature wall, know this will set the stage and draw the eye towards it. If you go for the wrap-around mural, the effect will be immersive. I love using murals in small rooms, as they can give a big personality to a small space. Don’t assume that because the room is small, it cannot take a large scale design, but don’t be tempted to add too many other design statements otherwise the room quickly becomes a hot mess. While there is a case for less being more, you can mix in other patterns with aplomb, hang artwork on top of your mural, and even combine with other wallpapers, but ensure your vision for the overall maximalist scheme is clear and your colour palette is tight. I love how this boudoir has been covered with toile wallpaper on all walls and mural in this case, has been used on a room divider to bring the feeling of flamboyance to this fabulous dressing room.
Finding the right mural for your scheme is a huge commitment but will pay you back in spades of joy! Here is a round up of some amazing maximalist designs along with my directory on where to source the murals perfect for your scheme.