A room with a mural – 12 rooms plus tips…

Adding a panoramic wall mural to your home is an adventurous way to bring colour to your walls and quite different to hanging a repeat wallpaper, or a single piece of art. Murals create a more complete-feeling environment, whatever their design. Some are about bringing big garden views inside, others blow-up versions of paintings by Old Masters or focus on one striking animal. You can have a scenic forest on a single wall, or beautiful delicate Chinoiserie on all surrounding walls. Contemporary, traditional, surreal, realist – images can usually be printed to any size and some brands offer the option  to enlarge and print you own images.

The one thing to consider is the height of the eye line in the room you choose for your mural. If, for instance, your mural is for a dining room then it makes sense to lower the point of perspective because you’ll be looking at it when seated. You might also save murals for rooms with fewer items of furniture so that you can really get the most out of seeing them. However, as our edit of 12 inspiring rooms below proves, murals can work just about anywhere with a bit of spacial planning.

Image from Marie Sixtine

If choosing a mural for a bedroom, pick something calm and sedate that will promote the idea of sleep. Above, in the apartment of Paris boutique Marie Sixtine, the print itself is very calm. Below, in the London apartment of designer Alvise Orsini, rice paper has been hand painted to match two eighteenth century Chinese wall panels that were found at auction. The pattern is quite rich, but the palette is quiet.

In the Bloomsbury Group’s country house, Charleston in East Sussex, owner and painter Duncan Grant took his distinctive style to many of the surfaces of the house to give it it’s unique decorative charm. In the living room, the fireplace mural transforms the room’s focal point into one large work of art.

Image from Charleston Trust

Turn a hallway or landing into more of a place to pause by adding a masterpiece mural – painting your woodwork to match its dominant colour. Surface View offers a vast and varied collection of wall murals, including the National Gallery collection which is full of beautiful paintings from one of the world’s greatest art archives. You can customise your chosen painting to your chosen size. Below is Flowers in a Vase with Shells and Insects by Balthasar van der Ast.

Image from Surface View

Another hallway, this time by uber designer Kelly Wearstler for Miami’s Viceroy hotel. If space allows, place furniture centrally to give your mural plenty of space to become the main feature.  

Image from de Gournay

If you choose a wonderfully bold mural then try to keep your daring going with the rest of the room too. The curtain in this room is just as flamboyant as the flamingos mural it clashes with – it’s an all or nothing approach. But there is a point of continuity between the two in the colour green.

Image from de Gournay

Why not take your mural up onto the ceiling, especially if your ceiling is not a regular flat affair? There are no pauses in this room and it’s all the better for it.

Image from Pinterest

For a mural with almost all the colours of the rainbow in it, which colour do you pick out for the skirting boards? Black in this instance, gives a bit of grounding to the white-backed design above it.

Image from Design Sponge

Think about adding some decorative lighting either directly onto the wall mural or to stand or hang in front of it. This is about building up layers of decor and helps to pull the mural into the whole design. An especially useful tip if you’re having a mural on one wall only.

Image by Sarah Hogan from House & Garden

Spend a lot of time thinking about the curtains that will work with your mural. Think about the colour or colours it’s sitting with and also the overall tone – by nature, murals are decadent so choose a fabric that feels as sumptuous – linen, velvet, silk, a good quality cotton in a rich colour. A utilitarian blind won’t cut the mustard in your ‘room with a mural’.

Image from Sian Zeng

Lastly, pick something that will bring some fun to your room and consider something that your house lacks. Got no garden? A botanical print will give you the missing connection to nature that you might need.

Image from Elli Popp

Image from Ananbo

Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

The Chromologist 2019 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist