Credits: Beyond Designs, Murals based on art and antiques from around the world, like these vintage-inspired ones, can be great conversation starters when the guests arrive.

Murals: Great style statements that breathe life into your living spaces

While they work much better than plain paint; you need to get a fix on the theme, size and material you want and the artist’s contractual obligations before you put the money on the table

Namrata Kohli | New Delhi

Few other style signatures are as effective as a mural. You can impress guests with one in the passage leading to your hall or formal living room, or one in your bedroom to help you cope with stress after a taxing day at work. You could even make small spaces like the bathroom feel larger or add some life into dark corners. A mural would even add some adventure to the kids’ bedroom or playroom. In fact, It would breathe life or fun into any surface and would work much better than plain paint.

But what is the value that murals add to the home, which regular artwork doesn’t? According to interior designer couple Sachin and Neha Gupta, founder Beyond Designs, “Unlike a painting, a mural can be large and can cover an entire wall sometimes. It is directly applied or fixed on the wall, and makes a strong statement. It can be also 3D work adding depth and character to your space. A mural is a great conversation starter. You could express your personality through a mural. It could hold memories from a vacation or family event, or portray your hobby or passion. That way when visitors come home, there is a great conversation piece to talk about. It is something unique to you and not found anywhere else.”

Ideally, murals must be placed on a wall that is the focus of the room for maximum impact. They can form a striking backdrop in the living room, dining room, or bedroom. Or they can be the feature wall in the foyer offering a meaningful welcome. You could also go for a gallery wall or fix murals in a straight line or a grid.

Metamorphosis with murals

A mural is visual art applied directly to a wall. While most art ends up hanging on the wall, a mural is integral to the wall and can’t be moved to a different place. Typically, it involves paint, but can also be mixed media like mosaic, terracotta.

You need to start by cleaning the wall, preparing it and then getting the design ready. Murals can be made with diverse materials such as tempera, oil paint, and acrylic paint. The artwork can be done using a brush, roller or airbrush/aerosol. Tile murals are made out of stone, ceramic, porcelain, glass and/or metal tiles that are installed within, or added on to the surface of an existing wall.

Kritika Mahindra, co-founder, Art On The Wall, says the cost of wall art begins at Rs 100 per sq ft for a large assignment or what she calls “quantitative work”. Her set-up has painted everything from home walls to an entire village in Mewat. Mahindra says that there are two types of paint that can be used on the wall surfaces. “One is plastic/acrylic emulsion that can cost anywhere from Rs 100-250 per sq ft, the other is oil-based enamel costing Rs 130-275 per sq ft. If the surface is plain and the walls are finished with proper treatment, then enamel will give you better shelf life and look.”

This, she says, is because oil-based enamel paints generally don’t require any maintenance once a clear coat of varnish is applied on them. The stains can easily be taken off with a semi-wet cotton cloth or by doing minor touch ups. Both enamel and acrylic can be painted on porcelain and ornamental glass. The cracks can either be repaired or used as a design part with camouflage technique. Most artists follow the wabi-sabi philosophy, which is centered on the acceptance of the imperfect, impermanent and incomplete nature of beauty, when dealing with uneven or cracked surfaces.

Acrylic and enamel paints have different guarantee periods. Says Mahindra, “There are different guarantee periods that an artist can offer based on the type and quality of paint and lacquer finish they use. For interior walls, the painting can last for 7-8 years in enamel paint. For exterior walls, it usually requires minimum touch ups and revarnishing every 2-3 years. We do not sign any contract as such for a guarantee period. There is 18% GST applicable on such artworks.”

You can apply other materials such as terracotta. Says Subhasish Munshi, Partner Fegofact Arts Hub LLP: “We create terracotta mural tiles for home and offices. The 3D tiles are generally of dimension 10×10 inches 12×12 inches. People go for various themes ranging from Egyptian hieroglyphs, tribal art, Warli paintings, Indian mythology, and contemporary art. Different colours are used but personally I find the natural colour of terracotta most beautiful. These murals are expensive and cost Rs 1,500-2,000 per sq ft depending on the design complexities. Charges for transportation and pasting are extra.”

When starting a mural project, an artist faces a lot of problems and considerations. Any type of mural, either indoor or outdoor, is a challenge for the muralist and calls for a great deal of responsibility. Says Sonam Kapoor, a Mumbai-based muralist, “This artwork is intended to enhance the environment and people who will see it. That is why thoughtful preparation, careful planning, and quality materials will help the mural follow its prime purpose; otherwise, it could become an eyesore. The paint used for murals is of paramount importance because time and climate are going to test its quality.”

Murals are of different types, such as traditional, graffiti, folk, modern, and avant-garde. Traditional forms include Bihar’s Mithila mural, Maharashtra’s Warli, or Pithoro from Rajasthan and Gujarat occupying the centrepoint of walls. Says Astha Khetan, Founder, The House of Things: “If you’ve got a huge wall to fill, a wall mural would be your best choice. Living rooms and family rooms are the ideal spaces where wall murals can be displayed as they would add more impact to the overall décor scheme of the home. An easy way to add colour, texture, and drama to your walls, murals have a way of adding incessant value to a home. They may make a room appear larger, airier. If you took away all the furniture, the mural on the wall would still be a charming topic of conversation!”

Murals As Public Art

Murals are a common vocabulary in many European nations. Artistic graffiti and elaborately designed murals add interest to streetscapes especially in subways, under bridges or on building façades. And this is making inroads into Indian streets.

Take the case of Lodhi Colony which has sixty plus such murals. The latest addition is all about idea of post-pandemic travel- how can an inward or outward journey becomes an image for storytelling on the large canvas of a wall touching themes of spiritual, time, space travel and has been done in a collaborative project titled Graphic Travelogues by Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi in partnership with the St-art India Foundation. According to Dr. Berthold Franke Director Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi, “The initiative follows the theme of travel and its evolution during the pandemic – how physical travel was limited by the virus and how travel in the mind and imagination became the realistic alternative. The project Graphic Travelogues is an amalgamation of art and culture and with murals we have consciously entered the public space.”

Street art is not new in India. In fact, art historians claim that it is as old as the country itself. Even the traditional Madhubani and Gond paintings can be traced back to the art of painting on mud walls.

How to select murals for your home

There is an ocean of options in themes, sizes and material. So where does one start?

The most important consideration while choosing a wall mural for your home is, of course, the room you are going to have it in. The kind of mural you will choose for your kid’s room will vastly differ from one that you choose for the living room or bedroom. If you have kids, you can ignite their imagination with their favourite interests. If your kids love aquatic life or have an interest in nature, you can get a mural that spreads across all of their walls and creates an immersive experience. Maybe you want to remember your trip to Paris or have always wanted to take a trip to the sandy beaches of Hawaii. If you love nature, you might want to use an image of a mountain or forest to bring the outdoors in. For guest bedrooms and study, you can select a more sober geometric or abstract patterned wall mural.

Once you have decided that you want to install a wall mural for your home, the next step is to decide what kind of mural you should opt for. The wall mural should not only make a statement and be the focal point of the room, but it should also blend with the room’s interior and your overall design ethos. If your home is decorated in a modern minimalistic décor, then a Victorian era ornate and showy wall mural will totally look out-of-place. You need a clean, contemporary wall mural that echoes the modern interior decoration style.

A full wall mural will provide extraordinary drama but can be overwhelming too. Know what size to opt for. Think of scale and proportion. When considering what kind of wall mural you should have on your walls, the first thing that you need to focus on is not the design but the dimensions of the room. If you have a small space, then instead of having the wall mural painted on all the four walls of the room, just go for a simple design on one of the walls. For small spaces, opt for a design that does not have too many colours or a too busy pattern.

Get an expert carpenter to fix a mural on the wall – nail or what will hold it together. Your mural could be made from stickers and be applied to your wall in sections. It will be affixed via an adhesive on the back of the mural.

At the end of the day, it will not be much ado about nothing. A mural is a great addition to your interiors and it can lead to metamorphosis of your home and add some punch and joie-de vivre.

Table: Prices of murals of various themes, sizes and material


Price (Rs)

Warli terracotta mural


Perenne Design’s Magnum abstract in resin


Brown Wooden Traya Wall Mural; diameter: 30.48 cm, height: 7.62 cm, weight 6 kg, made of reclaimed teak wood and brass


Made of Terracotta, 4 ft x 4 feet


Mural Krishna Painting: Baby Krishna in size 36 in x 28 in, weight 1.5 kg


Saraswathi mural painting: Weight 1 kg


South Indian Wood Carving – height: 9.5-inches, width: 1.6 inches; weight: 1.6 kg


Lord Ganesha against the backdrop of Surya (brass, handmade)


Credit: Market Research

Source: Business Standard

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