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How to Paint a Wall Mural

In an age when minimalism is becoming more and more popular, making bold statements in your home’s interior design is becoming rarer. But many people cannot fully expresstheir diverse personalities with this modern type of interior design. Go against the grain and do something that makes your home stand out from the rest. One awesome way to show your true colors (in the best possible way) is through your own personal wall mural. The beauty of this project is that it’s totally customizable for a reasonable price. All you need are a few cans of paint, some paint brushes, and you’re good to go! 

#1: Come Up with A Plan  

unfinished drawing of flowers

First and foremost, you have to know what type of design you want. There are lots of resources you can look at online and in magazines to see what type of designs are out there and what suits your personal style test.  When it comes to wall murals, there are many types to choose from. You can do a pattern, a landscape, portraits, or anything in between.  Of course, you will have to consider the room’s existing color palette and what would go with it.  You also have to consider the size and shape of your wall. It is very likely that this mural will be the focal point of your room because it will be louder than all other walls. So, it will create a statement and it will set the tone for the rest of the room. 

Research designs and draw out exactly how you want it to turn out. There are lots of ways you can go about. You could do a pattern of abstract shapes like brush strokes or circles, leaves and florals, or whatever else you may think suits the room. Simple patterns give “painted wallpaper” effect, and it is usually easier to achieve because it doesn't take a lot of technical or artistic skill. 

#2: Layout Your Design on the Wall   

projector in the dark
 Photo by Alex Litvin on Unsplash  

What you have to keep in mind when it comes to painted wallpaper is that the pattern has to be fairly consistent. You can achieve this by drawing a grid on your wall first. You may also create a grid with painters’ tape or masking tape. This way, you can control the sizes of your brush strokes the sizes of your shapes to ensure uniformity. However, you shouldn’t stress about it looking too polished because there is also an appeal to a handmade look that comes to painted wallpaper.   

If you go in another direction and choose a non-patterned design, it requires a bit more planning because you have to make sure you get the proportions correctly. First, measure dimensions of your wall and draw or print your design to scale on paper. Draw a grid over your design and copy it exactly onto your wall. You may also trace your design directly onto the wall with the aid of a projector.  

#3: Decide What Type of Paint You Need 

rollers with colorful paints
 Photo by David Pisnoy on Unsplash  

You have lots and lots of colors to choose from, of course, but there’s also the kind of paint to choose. So, add deciding what type of paint you wiil use on your list of things to do. There are many different brands to pick from, but rather than brand you have to consider finish, opaqueness, and overall convenience. You would want a paint that is opaquer because you need the opacity to be high in order for it to be easier to cover up any mistakes. 

However, it is more likely that the opaquer your paint is, the stronger the smell. This is a temporary problem with many different solutions but it’s good to consider a paint’s odor for safety reasons. Make sure you have the proper gear and ensure that the room your painting is well ventilated. Paints that have no smell are most-likely water-based and that usually means that the coverage of the paint isn't that good (especially for lighter colors). However, if your design doesn't require layering colors on top of each other, it wouldn’t be much of a problem. The pros are that these tend to be easier to clean up, they dry faster, and you don’t have to wait for the smell to go away. 

When it comes to finish, it all boils down to personal preference. High-gloss, semi-gloss, and gloss finishes look more sophisticated and expensive. They reflect light wonderfully and can make a room look brighter. Matte, satin, or eggshell finish looks more modern and trendier.  

#4: Invest in Good Brushes  

used paint brushed and lids of paint cans
 Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash  

When you're trying to save money on this project, you might skimp on a few products but don't let it be brushes.  If your design is particularly detailed, you would especially want good quality brushes and not old, crusty ones you just pulled out of your garage. They don't have to be a professional artist grade, but it would be better if there is no dried-up, leftover paint on them. Try to also have a variety of sizes. Caring for your brushes is essential so make sure to keep them in water when they're not in use. If you're painting a base color or planning to paint large areas with a single color, invest in a roller instead of using a big brush. This will help get your paint smooth and it won't leave any streaks. Along with good brushes, also take the time to tape the edges of your wall to make sure that your lines are crisp and that you don't get any paint on walls you don't want painted. Lay down newspapers or a tarp to save your floors from paint drops. 

#5: Go from Lightest Colors to Darkest Colors 

tubes of paint organized by color in a cubby 
 Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash  

When your design is non-abstract, especially if it has a lot of layers, you want to make sure you lay down your light colors first. This is especially important if the paint you’ve chosen is not very opaque. You need to be more careful about how you layer your colors because you can't cover your dark colors with your light colors. Even if you opt for an opaquer type of paint, it is still easier to cover light with dark and not the other way around. Take your time and make sure that your brushes are small enough to get the details you want. When switching colors, give your paint enough time to dry first so that you don't risk blending the colors together. Don't be afraid of using mixed mediums, there are plenty of murals that also use markers for fine details, and they always turn out beautifully.  

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