InspirationStyles and trends

The rise of the wall mural

When it comes to decorating our walls, we tend to think of two options – paint or wallpaper. Back in the 80’s, those wallpaper borders were all the rage but now, they bring back feelings of dread, rather than nostalgia. That’s nothing new. Even six years ago, a response to a borders based blog by Apartment Therapy contained the comment, “im totally on the wallpaper boat… but I have to give a big “eeeeek” to borders”.

Popular at the time, they’re now seen by many as dated and a little tacky – no matter the style.

Paint and wallpaper may be here to stay but it’s large scale wall murals that are keeping them company this time, rather than small borders repeated around the home. They can be hand painted or wallpapered onto the walls. The important part is that they’re large features!

I like them for making a wall a work of art. Some of the best murals around make use of clever techniques to transform the atmosphere in a room. It may be that you want to open up a space by bringing an outside setting inside, or simply add personality with an energising print.

Image Source: Home Adore

This wall mural’s designed to be wallpapered onto the wall to liven up a child’s bedroom. Maybe for when the parents get tired of him or her asking to visit an aquarium?

Image Source: The Telegraph

Wallpaper or paint

The tricky part lies in choosing between a wallpapered or painted application. A few years ago, if you wanted a mural, you had to hire an artist but now, their popularity has seen plenty of printing companies emerge which allow you to design and order wallpaper designs.

As with anything, you’ve got to weigh up the cost and the quality of the finish.


Wallpapering is said to be the cheaper option as you can find companies to print custom designs for £3-6 per square foot. Be wary though as these prices are normally wallpaper only, so you’ll need to pay on top for an artist to sketch your image, make it digital, colour it and prepare it for printing. After that, you’ve got to hang it yourself or pay extra and hire a professional decorator to install it for you. The extra fees will take you to at least £6-9 per square foot.

Image Source: Home Adore

Unless you’re highly skilled, hiring a specialist painter to decorate a wall could be anywhere between £6 and upwards of £30 per square foot. It depends on where you want the mural, how large and detailed it’s going to be and the painter’s experience.


There’s no doubting that hiring a respected muralist will give you a brilliant result. With wallpaper options, it’s more likely that you’ll see the joins in the separate pieces and you may have bubbles in one large sheet due to the difficulty of hanging it on the wall – especially if you’re doing a DIY job.

Image Source: Direct Painting Group

Once we spend money on décor, we want it to last, until the next time we fancy an upgrade. Wallpaper will eventually start to peel after a couple of years whereas hand painted murals are much longer lasting. They could even outlast you!

If you’re looking for a temporary shakeup, it’s best to go for a wallpapered option, or even better – a sticker that you can peel off yourself if you get tired of it. In children’s bedrooms, they’re perfect – a boy’s not going to want a sports themed wall forever.

Looking for a specialist painter or decorator with the skills to create murals? Post your job and up to three local tradesmen will contact you. You’ll be able to view their past customer recommendations to help you decide who to hire.

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One Comment

  1. Really love the triangle designs. They’re a bit busy, but they really stand out. I think as long as you can balance them with some softer patterns and colours you’ll have a really nice effect.

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