Wall murals bring interior scenery to your home

Homeowners sometimes dread the task of painting the walls, knowing it will involve plenty of preparation and effort. Others see it as an opportunity to transform the appearance of the room, especially if they are eager to showcase their artistic talent.

Perhaps no one has used their home as a blank canvas more than Robert Burns, a decorator in the United Kingdom. Inspired by the interiors of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica, he transformed the walls and ceilings of his own three-bedroom home in Brighton to feature Renaissance-style murals and paintings.

Murals and other wall paintings can be an innovative way to transform the appearance of your home's interior. But you'll want to plan this project carefully, and should also consider what effect the painting might have on your home's value.

Decide on the theme you'd like to use for a mural. You might want to create a scene of a place that's special to you, or simply come up with an interesting abstract pattern.

You might also want to limit the painting to a smaller area instead of covering the entire wall. The home improvement site HomeAdvisor says faux windows are particularly effective, since you can use paint or digital photographs to make it seem like an exotic locale is just on the other side of the wall.

These faux windows can help make a room seem lighter and more spacious. They often use a "trompe l'oeil" effect, giving a three-dimensional illusion. You can install a window frame around the picture to deepen the effect, or simply paint a frame as part of the scene.

Murals are a particularly popular choice for a child's bedroom. Fairy tales, superheroes, and other imaginative fare can all make for interesting scenes.

It's essential to make a plan for what you'd like to do before you start dabbing paint on the walls. Ideally, the mural should complement your furniture and other items. You should also take measurements of the area you plan to paint and sketch out what you'd like to do. This will give you an idea of the design and color choices you'd like to use, and laying out the scene on graph paper can help ensure that nothing looks too squashed or elongated.

Prepare the wall surface as well. Dan Cavagnaro, writing for Angie's List, says it should be smooth and dry. Clean it to remove any dust or dirt, and repair any cracks or holes.

You may need to purchase a ladder or even scaffolding if your painting will reach a particularly high point on the wall. Latex paint should be suitable for interior murals, but you may also need to purchase art supplies to get the desired effect. For example, a sponge works well to create foliage on trees.

Use a pencil to sketch out the scene on the wall. You may want to start by focusing on the background and other large areas of color before moving on to the detailed work. HomeAdvisor says you can also start on a smaller scale, such as creating a few characters for a scene in a children's room before deciding whether to do a complete scene.

If you like the idea of a mural but don't think you have the artistic talent to pull it off, look for a professional artist to do the job. Let them know what you are looking for, and examine their portfolio to see if their expertise will fit your vision.

One of the potential disadvantages to a mural is its effect on buyers when you decide to sell the home. The home design site Apartment Therapy says children's murals might deter some buyers; others might not like the theme or pattern you've chosen for a mural elsewhere in the home. If the murals are having a negative effect on the sale of your home, you might need to lower your price before getting an offer.

The mural may only be temporary. If your tastes change, you can simply paint over the scene. This is especially true in a child's room; if you chose a theme such as nursery rhymes, your child will almost certainly want to do away with it when they get older.

If you are reluctant to add a mural on the interior of your home, consider using one to spruce up a garden shed or other outbuilding. You can come up with plenty of vistas or other creative designs, or simply use paint to add a faux exterior such as a stonework pattern.

Outdoor projects have a few special considerations. Cavagnaro says you'll want to use an acrylic or oil-based paint rated for exterior use. Varnishing can also be helpful, since it will help protect the mural against rain, temperature changes, and other elements that can damage the artwork.

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