Facing a blank wall can be daunting. Often, we instinctively fall back on the most familiar option: “What color should I paint it?” Or maybe: “Should I add wallpaper?”
But there is a world of possibilities beyond basic paint and wallpaper that can make a dramatic change to a room: You could paint a blank wall with a mural, coat it in lime wash, install paneling or add decals.
“When you paint a wall with flat paint, you just see color,” said Genna Margolis, the founder of Shapeside, an interior design firm in Los Angeles.
With other wall treatments, you see something more: a graphic pattern, a texture, a sense of variation.
Pandr Design Co., which has designed and painted murals in sports stadiums, shopping centers, offices and homes. “Doing a section of a wall can add a bit of color, but not completely take over.”
Wonder Walls,” a new book from Storey Publishing, Ms. Cornog and her partner, Roxy Prima, lay out step-by-step instructions for creating simple, compact murals, including one composed of five parallel lines in various colors; one made from an overlapping arch, circle and rectangle; and one centered on a large-scale triangle.
The key to these straight-lined designs is using painter’s tape to create crisp edges, Ms. Prima said. But she and Ms. Cornog also encourage trying freehand designs made from repeated elements — a wall of polka-dot paintbrush splotches, say, or an expanse of intersecting blobs.
“It shouldn’t be intimidating,” Ms. Prima said. “It can seem like a very permanent and large-scale thing, but if you mess up, you just wait for the paint to dry and then paint over it.”
For those who want to try something more intricate, like a landscape scene, Ms. Cornog and Ms. Prima said one piece of equipment is key: a projector. You can project a desired design onto the wall, trace it with pencil or chalk, and use those lines as a guide for the paint.
And remember: No matter what style of mural you choose, the result doesn’t have to be perfect.
“Always stand back to look at your work,” Ms. Cornog said, and don’t sweat the details. “People tend to get really sucked into the nitty-gritty, looking at the wall up close, and forget that no one’s actually going to be staring at your mural that closely.”