Murals are one of the most popular design elements for children's rooms and nurseries. Homeowners Marco and Elena Ciotti hired a professional muralist to fill the walls of their kids' rooms with inspiring, colorful scenery.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based muralist Michelle Morse completed two bedrooms for the Ciotti family in just four days for a little less than $1,000 per room. Daughter Bianca's room features sweeping green vistas, and sons Luca and Vincenzo's walls are covered in a nautical, New England-style landscape.
To add a 3-D, layered element to Bianca's room, an antique desk, passed down from her paternal grandmother, was placed directly in front of a painted tree. When incorporating tall elements, such as trees and buildings, stick with proportion and scale that work well with furniture while providing a prime vantage point for kids. If you paint them too small, they can get lost behind furniture and lose their visual impact.
To add depth to painted objects such as trees, bushes and mountains, double-load the brush. To paint sweeping vistas, load green and cream together on the same brush so the green takes on different hues. Brushing on two colors at the same time creates a blended, gradient effect.
The key to creating lifelike tree branches is using one color in different hues. Highlights and shadows give branches depth and make them appear more three-dimensional. Keep the room's light source in mind prior to adding shadow detailing.
Experienced muralists can take any image and make it adaptable for a wall mural. For example, local Fort Lauderdale's Nova Titans sports team has a simple logo that didn't translate well as a mural due to its lack of ornamentation and contrast. By adding layers and contrasting colors, Michelle adapted the image to create an interesting mural.
Before a muralist begins painting, sketches need to be transferred onto a transparency using a commercial-grade copier and transparency paper. They'll then project the image onto the wall, fine-tune placement, then sketch the image onto the wall.
To project a transparency on the wall, rent or purchase a projector from an art store. Michelle suggests tracing the design with Col-Erase pencils because they're water-soluble, and you can wipe or erase unwanted marks easily.
Mural costs are based on the level of skill and time required to complete the application. While a simple, graphic mural can be as quick as five hours to project and paint, designs with multiple layers and detailed elements can take up to several days. Michelle's fresco design is an example of a costly mural due to the level of difficulty and precision required for proper application.
For a seamless transition from wall to ceiling, it’s best for the top of the walls to be rounded to avoid visible lines. This involves extra contractor costs and should be done before the muralist begins painting.
Layering effects give murals their lifelike appearance. A white picket fence gives Bianca's room an extra layer of detail. To make the fence, cut several pieces of MDF to size with the tops mitered at two 45-degree angles. Install with a nail gun, then spackle, caulk and paint white.
Murals, specifically landscapes, can be added to at any time. Bianca's design simply called for trees and vistas. Once the project neared completion, Michelle incorporated a robin's nest into one of the trees. Since she painted the nest onto the existing surface, it took a short amount of time at little extra cost.
Homeowners seeking a professional muralist should consider various elements that determine pricing. Supplies, transportation and use of specialty materials will add to the total cost of the muralist's fees.
In Luca and Vincenzo's room, Michelle added decorative elements to take the focus off the room's many hard edges. The top-right corner of the entry door features a round sun enveloping both sides of the corner.
Color placement is key when it comes to furnishing a room with a mural. This wall is mainly blue, which creates the look and feel of a New England bay. The color is carried through to the comforter, creating a serene, consistent look.