Living Room Makeover With Peel and Stick Wallpaper Murals
Sometimes we just need a change. My living room was fine. It was more than fine. But it had been years since it had been updated. And after spending so much time at home during this pandemic, I was itching to change things up.
I had been wanting to work with adhesive wallpaper murals because I’ve used them on other decorating projects. I like how easy they are to install without having to deal with paste or water.
As you can see, the "before" picture is fun and colorful. This room had actually been featured on HGTV and in the L.A. Times. But I just needed something new, especially since I had been spending so much time at home during the pandemic.
The first thing I did was do a Photoshop rendering to see how different murals would look on the walls. It helped me play with color and scale. For example, I was going to paint the alcove on the right, where the bookshelves were going, pink. But when I saw it on the rendering, there was way too much pink. Painting it navy blue gave the room a better balance. I was also able to play around with different murals. I fell in love with the Marie Antoinette mural and knew it had to be the image for my fireplace.
One thing I’ve wanted to change for years was the right alcove. There was a marble shelf there that came with the house. Sure, it’s nice to have a marble shelf I guess, but it was impractical. I could put some things on the shelf, but all the rest of that space was wasted. I put up some display boxes from west elm on the wall, but they were purely decorative and didn’t hold anything. What I wanted was for that alcove to be a little library for all the books that were overflowing in my house. So I got a contractor to remove the marble shelf and spackle the drywall. Once the marble shelf was removed, I bought some IKEA shelves to go in that alcove. The width of that space was 65 inches, and the IKEA Bergshult/Granhult shelves were 63 inches wide. Perfect!
The first mural I put up was the Marie Antoinette. It came in two panels, so I got some help lining up the panels so the face was not distorted, and I think we did a pretty good job. If you’ve ever put up wallpaper that’s in panels, you know there’s a last step in which you cut a line in the middle of the overlap and peel off the overlap. I did not do this because I had just cut off the tip of my finger in a kitchen accident a few weeks earlier (that’s another story; worry not, the doctors glued it back together with surgical foam), and when I’ve done this before, I did not like the seam. So I skipped that step, and you really can’t tell there’s overlap. The only tricky part was cutting around the fireplace opening, but that just took a straight edge, razor blade and patience.
The second mural, the geometric pattern, was very easy to install. I picked it partially because the pattern could easily be divided up, which would be helpful around the window.
Now was the really challenging part — putting up that big floral mural on the soffit above the other walls. I was originally going to climb on my piano and put a step stool on it so I could reach that high. But the mural came in one long piece rather than separate panels as I expected, and there was no way I was going to be able to juggle a 19-foot long mural by myself. I called a few professional wallpaper installers I found on yelp, but they refused the job. They said it was too hard. What? How was I going to do this then? Well, it so happened that I was having some plumbing work done at the time (a burst pipe in the walls; another story for another time), so I asked the plumber if he would help me put up the mural. He said sure.
I can't get over how well it turned out — even better than my Photoshop rendering. I appreciate my living room in a whole new way now, and it reminds me that change is good.
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- Wallpaper murals (muralsyourway.com)
- Wallpaper mural (limitlesswalls.com)
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Hollylollyfish on Jun 03, 2021
What an impressive and fun room!
Sara Jane on Mar 02, 2022
Just gorgeous! Can you explain your philosophy of choosing patterns that coordinate? Thank you for sharing!!
Jonathan Fong on Mar 02, 2022
Thank you! It started with the Marie Antoinette mural and went from there. I saw that image and knew it would make a striking focal point. (I had been to a Marie Antoinette exhibit in Paris earlier in the year and was very inspired.) I wanted to carry over the pink in that image, so decided on the oversized flowers above. The image had to be oversized to balance the Marie Antoinette, and the flowers provided a soothing counterpoint to the bold fireplace. Because both of those images were more traditional (with the Marie being 18th century), I knew the third image had to be very modern or else my place would look too old school, so I choose the modern geometric on the left wall, but still carrying over the pink so it all ties together. Then when I found all the images, I did mock-up in Photoshop so I could see how it would look all together, and that really helped.
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