If you have a large space to decorate you might find when it is all painted and finished it still looks really drab. Cleaner, but drab and this is where a mural can completely change the room. Many people mistakenly think that a mural is just a city skyline or the classic Caribbean beach scene but that is only the tip of the iceberg. A mural, whether the work of one person or a group, can make a room really come alive. Well chosen, a design can grow with the people who inhabit the space and it can be a living record of their life together.
Most people are familiar with the kind of murals which cover hoardings around long term building projects but don’t think of how they can be used indoors. This is easy to understand because generally the murals outside are on a very big scale either in literal size or in concept, but the style can just as easily work indoors. Commonly, a mural is on one wall but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, a mural can be used as a way of linking rooms together, by leading a visitor in through the door and into the room by changing the story as it goes.
Suitable for schools and other public buildings a mural could also be a brilliant marketing tool. For example, a florist could lead a customer in from the outside by starting at pavement level with a few daisies and blades of grass, growing into exotic blooms and creeping vines as the mural leads further into the shop. In a bakery, the outside image could be of wheat fields and mills, leading images of rising dough and crusty loaves. A mural doesn’t have to be strictly representational either; some of the best are very abstract.
The secret of a good mural is not to skimp. If you are thinking of doing your own, you have to think big. People have to be a little larger than life size or they look small. Things have to be a bit brighter and bolder than they are in real life or they can look dull and uninteresting. Perspective is important as are shadows – it doesn’t have to be accurate, in fact exaggerated perspective can give a room extra depth, but it does all have to be going the same way, or the room will not be at all calming to be in because your eyes will keep wanting to make sense of the impossible.
Murals are great fun in a family room when everybody gets involved. If you are really bad at art you might want to get someone to lend a hand, such as London Murals, but it is also fun to leave your own mark on a wall. If you are undertaking it as a group project, make sure that there is a project leader and that everyone knows that that person’s word is law. Paint isn’t forever, but the mural should be a celebration, not something to hide behind a cupboard!
John Hinds loves writing for blogs and also enjoys playing tennis and travelling.