Pros & Cons of Wall Murals and Decals

Applying a full-length mural or small decorative decals to a wall is a quick and fun way to totally change the look of a room.

By Teri Olcott

 

Murals and decals are a popular decorating trend that allows you to quickly transform a room in a house. Murals have been around for quite some time, but the latest printing technology has taken the photorealism of murals to a whole new level. Nature scenes can give a city apartment a woodsy feel, and a cityscape can transform a country home into downtown Manhattan. Smaller wall decals are more for creating an effect, and can add color, personality, and interest to a small or awkward space. Both wall treatments have their pros and cons. This guide will help you decide which decorating option is right for you.

 

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What is a Wall Mural?

Murals are similar to wallpaper but are often one large sheet or several sheets designed to cover an entire wall and create a striking scene. The scenes can be realistic photos, realistic textures such as a log or stone wall, or just an attractive design. Popular mural themes are forests, cityscapes, space, sunsets, and the ocean. The mural panels may need wallpaper paste to be installed, but most are peel and stick and go up very quickly. Murals are a popular choice for children’s rooms, but they can be used in any room in a house to create a unique and exciting look.

 

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Pros of Wall Murals

Murals are made to cover one wall in a room which makes them fairly affordable compared to wallpapering the entire room. A mural can give a room character in a way that paint and standard wallpaper can’t. They are fairly quick to install and require very little wall prep other than removing outlet and switch plate covers and sanding down any bumps on the wall. Peel and stick murals are reusable and can be taken down if you later decide you want to change the look of the room again. Unlike large paintings, murals don’t require putting holes in a wall or any kind of hanging hardware. The biggest reason for installing a mural is that it’s a fun and exciting way to make a room’s wall stand out. A mural magically transports you to a whole new world that you can visit and leave as you wish.

 

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Cons of Wall Murals

A mural is a powerful element. It will take over the entire wall and become the focal point of the room. If your room is already a bit full with large objects, adding a mural may give the room a cluttered and claustrophobic feel. You also need to be careful when choosing a mural. They come in many different colors and patterns that may or may not enhance the feel of the room. If you have a small wall, a mural with a lot of dark colors can make the entire room feel small. Too many bright colors may clash with other objects in the room. To thoroughly enjoy the mural, you will need to keep furniture and other objects away from it.

 

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Installing a mural does take a little bit of work. Walls are often not perfectly square which means you will need to measure carefully and possibly have to trim the mural. Murals also need to be hung perfectly straight for them to look right. Murals can be removed and repositioned, but you run the risk of crinkles and tears.

 

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What is a Wall Decal?

Wall decals are small shapes and scenes typically made from thin vinyl. One side is printed, and the other side is made to cling to the wall or any flat surface. The appeal of wall decals is that they are very easy to install and you can move them about to create a certain look or theme. Wall decals range from simple to elaborate. They can add color and interest to a wall or tell a story through the use of different elements and styles. Popular themes are trees, plants, birds, butterflies, landscapes, cityscapes, weather, inspirational words, and just elaborate patterns. All can be mixed and matched for some creative decorating. For people who are good with interior design themes, wall decals are a great way to add color, depth, and interest to any decor.

 

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Pros of Wall Decals

The biggest appeal of wall decals is that they are not permanent and easy to remove and relocate. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and themes. For people who prefer minimal decorations, wall decals are a perfect way to add interest to a space without covering up the entire wall. Some wall decals have the illusion of depth and can create a three-dimensional look in a design. Depending on how elaborate you want to get, wall decals are fairly inexpensive. Wall decals can be used in any room in a house.

 

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Cons of Wall Decals

All wall decals are not made the same. Cheaper decals may fade and bleed over time. Decals in direct sunlight can pucker and shrink. Although removable, decals that have been on a wall for many years may be a bit stubborn. Some decals leave adhesive behind that does not come off easily. Bright colored and dark colored decals can bleed through and stain walls over time. Depending on the amount of sunlight that enters the room, sun damage and paint fading can occur around the decal leaving a ghost outline when the decal is removed. Decals with lots of thin and delicate elements, such as trees and flowers, may be damaged when they are removed.

 

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Where to Buy Wall Murals and Decals

Start your search for murals and decals online to get a good sense of what is available. Most home improvement and furniture stores sell different kinds of wall treatments. Specialty paint stores are also selling murals and decals and can give you advice on the best ways to install them. Pay attention to buyer reviews as people are usually quick to comment on a product that has failed.

 

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Decorating interior walls can be fun and exciting with murals and decals. If you’re looking for something a little different, either of these options can quickly and affordably transform a room’s appearance.

 

Images used with permission, courtesy of www.shutterstock.com

Next: Cozy Clutter: Creating Inviting Spaces with Tasteful and Interesting Piles & Clusters