Modern interior decoration has hit somewhat of a wall in terms of creativity in recent years. Gone are the days of bold geometric patterns, statement rugs and motif wallpaper that defined the aesthetic of many of the 20th century decades. The contemporary look is characterized by its minimalist features, often favoring a monochrome palette with perhaps one feature color.
Walls do little but contain a room nowadays, and it is unusual to see a particularly colourful room or feature walls. In short, the potential of walls as a creative space in both commercial and private settings is being hugely restricted, with all the effort and thought being put on furnishings and accessories to deliver the character of an inside space. There is now a need to reintroduce some old interior decoration trends, to reawaken the personality of walls, and many believe that mural art is the answer.
Mural art dates back centuries and spans cultures, but has all but disappeared from modern interior design. The modern mural is most commonly associated with street art and usually found on the exteriors of buildings, often carrying some political or social statement. However, the art of interior mural has become somewhat of a rarity in an age where simple painted walls reign, punctuated by the odd pattern-papered feature wall. When compared to the creativity and allure achieved by the likes of Keith Haring’s street pop-art or José Clemente Orozco’s sombre social realism, walls simply do not create the excitement that they once did.
While the way spaces are decorated has remained fairly static, how we choose to furnish these spaces is certainly changing. There is an emerging discrepancy between the characteristic furniture we fill rooms with and the walls that surround it. Rich, moody colour palettes accented with dark wood and metallics are trending heavily, invoking a degree of personality that is not met by your average painted wall. A detailed focal point can tie a well-furnished room together beautifully, and provide a consistent theme that can be complemented with different furniture trends as the years roll by.
The mural is capable of fulfilling almost any creative idea, and is beginning to be embraced by a new wave of followers. With the vast possibilities of modern painting and application techniques, and more styles and artistic movements than ever to take inspiration from, the mural is reaching new heights and doing what plain paint and wallpaper cannot: delivering a unique and completely tailored look to interior spaces that truly reflect the character of the building, or its occupants. From palaces to bedrooms, mural art has redefined itself in terms of its versatility and sheer scope for artistic creativity, and it is the ultimate way to bring focus and personality to any indoor space.
Of course, being typically found in such grand locations as ocean liners and cathedrals does nothing for the mural’s opulent reputation. Many consider mural art to be the playground of the rich and famous, who can afford the time and expertise of a professional artist to personalize their walls, and this misconception is a contributing factor to the mural’s lack of real comeback. By employing the services of a live artist, they can tailor their approach to any style or budgetary requirements, using their creative versatility to deliver a unique product that meets the needs of the client. When comparing the one-off cost of hiring an artist—and all the years of experience and skill they give you for the fee—with the mass-produced vinyl wall art substitutes that saturate online stores, whose lack of durability, quality and uniqueness make for a short lifetime, real mural art emerges victorious.
Of course, the more commercial and formal settings like clubs and hotels begin to break out of their comfort zones and explore more interesting interior design ideas, the more mural art and its endless possibilities begin to be recognized. This isn’t to say that mural art is the exclusive territory of public spaces, though. Although in the past it may have been largely limited to children’s bedrooms in domestic settings, the mould most certainly needs to be broken. The boundaries currently encircling mural art need to be broken for it to be recognized as one of the most personal and expressive forms of interior decoration.
Now is the time for mural art to see a revival, by breaking free of the inaccurate associations it is often held to. Murals are no longer for the ceilings of cathedrals or the walls of stately homes, or just for telling a story or exposing societal injustice. It is a vehicle for unique characterization of indoor spaces, that reflect the people who live or visit there—a literal blank canvas, just waiting to be explored.