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Photo by Nick Guacheta, Courtesy of Maggie Perrin-Key

Glow Up Your Walls With a Mural

Murals have been around as long as people. From the cave paintings at Lascaux Grottes in France dating back thousands of years to street art murals of today, people have been leaving their mark on palaces, temples, churches, museums, libraries, buildings and homes of rich patrons. The original purpose of murals was to depict society through stories, value systems, fantasies or transformation. Among some of the most famous murals produced are those from the Middle Ages: Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel’s frescoes. 

Today, one need not be a rich patron of the arts to incorporate murals. People who want to glow up their walls with a bespoke mural or a dramatic wallpaper scene can find a variety of price points. According to Zillow’s 2024 home trends report, murals are becoming a sought-after focal piece for homebuyers. Murals are showing up 18 percent more often in homes for sale, according to the report. This comes as bolder and darker colors are replacing the grays and beiges that dominated the home design space for the last decade. Scenes are showing up in living areas, dining rooms and powder rooms that depict leafy landscapes, delicate floral or botanical motifs and other larger-than-life designs that give drama and depth to walls. 

Photo by Kathryn Feldmann

Hand-painted designs 
Homeowner and artist Amanda Marko knew what she wanted to do with the long 28′ x 8’wall in her media room: incorporate the elements of the sound system (the metallic speakers are exposed) into a customized design. After researching local muralists, Marko chose Maggie Perrin-Key, as she had admired her exterior mural work at Hustle/Haven on Campbell Avenue. 

“I was drawn to her organic shapes and the flowing movement,” she says. Marko wanted to work with the colors of black and bronze, which are not usually in Perrin-Key’s palette, so the artist researched and tested paints before presenting her concept to Marko. After a few iterations, Perrin-Key painted the mural in two days. “If you want to commission a mural, you need to make sure you find an artist with whom you can have a good dialogue,” Marko advises. 

Perrin-Key’s first mural project was in 2019 for the Hustle/Haven space, exterior and interior in the yoga studio, and since then she has been involved with city-funded mural projects and collaborates with local muralists as well. As an artist, Perrin-Key is drawn to larger-scale projects. “Mural painting is a very immersive art form for me. I see murals as more of a sculpture that completely transform spaces.” 

Trending for 2024? Perrin-Key notes that clients are asking for more foliage in designs. The basic cost for mural painting runs about $10-$50 per square foot. A mural painter will need to look at the wall surface to determine what kind of paint is best suited, collaborate with the client on design and execute the mural. The painting itself can take from 6 hours to three full days. 

Wallpaper murals 
If an original painted wall mural is not in your budget, mural wallpapers are an affordable way to go. Advancements in digital printing make it easier than ever to create custom designs. Whether you design your own mural or choose from a pre-existing scene, carefully measure the wall. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which might involve applying adhesive paste first or pressing the self-adhesive backing to the wall. To ensure the mural is centered on the wall, start in the middle and work outwards as you hang the panels.

While there are many approaches to mural placement, a good place to start is an accent wall. Different from traditional wallpaper (with a repeating pattern), mural wallpaper usually comes in units that depict one scene and is hung in a specific order so that the scenes line up. The trimmable edge is key to successful installation. A continuous scene is achievable in three to five panel units of mural wallpaper. Also, consider your furnishings: Lighter, more open pieces will allow more of the mural to be viewed. Move your plush sofa to the other side of the room — so you and your guest can take in the beauty of your mural.

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