Banish boredom with a new paint project over the summer. Wall art will add colour and interest to any room and is easy to DIY.
If it’s your first time tackling a large-scale piece of wall art, keep your design simple. A two-toned wall separated on the diagonal or an abstract pattern using geometric or terrazzo-inspired shapes is easy to achieve and has impact.
Stylist Megan Harrison-Turner suggests starting with asymmetrical designs because one small error on a strictly symmetrical pattern throws it off.
"My favourite are leaf and landscape designs," she says. "In the more organic, fluid designs mistakes aren’t nearly so obvious. I also like the designs that don’t really need an artist’s touch - so I end up with a mural or picture but it isn’t about the ability or lack of ability as a painter."
Resene creative Laura Lynn Johnston says the resurgence of art deco shapes and motifs mean arches or curves are popular.
"You can use a painted arch or curve as a headboard, above or below a floating shelf, on a door, or to add height and shape above a window."
While painting curves might sound intimidating, Johnston says it’s easier than you think. "The trick to getting it right is in the prep and planning."
First, cut a length of string slightly longer than the radius of your arch, tie one end to a pencil, and use a horizontal piece of tape to fix the other end where the bottom centre of your curve will be. Keep the pencil straight and the string taunt, and use your other hand to make sure your tape stays in place while you draw your arc.
When painting it’s best to use a wide brush so that you have more control, and make sure it’s high quality one with plenty of bristles. "If you’re painting a curve try and do it in one or two smooth motions," Johnston suggests.
"Be generous with the amount of paint on your brush and lightly feather the bottom edge of your brushstroke downward so that it doesn’t create a raised line when it dries."
Then, fill in the rest of your shape using a small foam roller. Be sure to wait for your first coat of Resene paint to dry completely before applying your second.
Harrison-Turner says people usually gravitate towards certain Resene colour palettes, there is no right or wrong. "It’s the combination of colours that count," she says. "Limit the colour selection so the finished look isn’t a jumble with nowhere to focus on - the eye always needs somewhere to rest. For murals I keep the whole palette quite tonal and similar in the depth of colour so the eye isn’t drawn to one area and not the other." She suggests going for soft, slightly greyed colours rather than sharp, clear colours as they are easier to live with.
The Resene Multifinish collection is arranged into palettes of tonal colours, so this is a good place to start to choose colours that will work well together.
Johnston also recommends choosing from a soft, muted palette for a modern look. For her two-toned arch idea try a combination of earthy sage and olive green like Resene Tasman or Resene Spanish Green, or a duo of dusty clays such as Resene Cashmere and Resene Sante Fe.
What you’ll need
Quality paint brushes and painters’ tape are essential for this kind of project. Johnston suggests a soft, wide brush with lots of bristles such as the PAL Legend Angle Brush and Washi Advanced tape from Resene ColorShops. If you’re painting a large area, you’ll need a smooth surface foam roller for painting larger areas. For the paint Johnston recommends Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen, or if you are planning small amounts of lots of colours, Resene testpots are also a good option.
Harrison-Turner also recommends buying the largest ruler you can find with a built-in level for the walls, sharp pencils and a good eraser for drawing your design. "Also get more brushes than you think you need," she says. "Get one for each colour and wrap them in plastic wrap so they don’t dry out and any touch ups or extra coats don’t need yet another brush." Your nearest Resene Colorshop should be your first port of call.
- Allow more time than you think you need. Paint can only dry so fast.
- Planning is key. Sketch out your ideas on paper first, and try different colour combinations with Resene testpots. Check your colours at different times of the day too.
- Use masking tape for straight lines be sure to press it down well so the colour doesn’t bleed over.
- If you’re painting over an original wall colour, pick up a matching Resene testpot in case you need to do any touch-ups as you go.
- Reference the design in another way in the room such as introducing cushions with a similar pattern or colour. It helps bring the whole look together.
This article was created for Resene