Monster Mural Monster Mural

Q: I'm really excited about the new look of my son's room. We already have the "coolest" comforter and curtains. I'm interested in trying to paint my own mural on all four walls, maybe with dirt for the bottom half and then the hills sort of uneven. I'd like to then add monster trucks climbing the hill or back on two wheels, etc. If you have any ideas, I'd love the help.

A: First, good for you for calling on your own creativity for this project; not everyone has the confidence to try such a big job themselves, and yet, if done right, this could be a great experience not only for yourself but for your son, as well.

We like the idea of making the whole room look as if it's outdoors. Perhaps you don't need the "dirt" section of the wall; you could start with green from the bottom. And we like the idea of the wavy lines of uneven hills.

Before you begin, make a sketch of what you want on each wall, keeping the lines as simple as you can. Then start by preparing the wall as you would for any paint job, next painting the walls in a pale blue for the sky. If you're really ambitious, for a complete look, paint the ceiling pale blue, too. Even though the real sky appears darker directly above us, resist the urge to paint the ceiling a darker blue, as this will make the room feel closed-in. Instead, use the same pale blue that you choose for the walls, or even a slightly lighter color. You can even paint in a few fluffy white clouds after the blue paint dries. Try using a sea sponge dipped in watered down paint to make them look realistic.

Don't stop painting the wall blue at the point where the hilltops will meet the sky. Instead, paint all the way down to the just above the baseboard. When this paint is thoroughly dry, then paint the green hills over it. This will give a more natural look than if you try to make the line of the green match the line of the blue.

As for those monster trucks: these are going to be very hard to paint. Unless you're a professional artist, we advise you stay away from too much detailed painting. Painting anything small takes real artistic skill, and you'd be better off with a terrific looking, simpler room.

But there are two other options for the details: for some things, such as flowers and birds, you should be able to find stencils at your local crafts or paint store. And who knows, an internet search just might turn up a monster truck stencil or perhaps a monster truck wall paper border. Or you could do all the background painting yourself, and then hire a local mural artist to paint in the those monster trucks.

Finally, be sure to use washable paint, in any kid's room!

Tip: No matter what your son's age, by all means enlist his help, whether it's just in going to the paint store with you to select colors or actually painting in some of the background. His involvement will make him feel proud of his room - he'll feel he really had a hand in designing and decorating it, and this will mean he'll help take better care of it once it's done, too.
Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Interior Design

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