The 13 Most Inspiring Murals and Painted Arches We Saw in House Tours This Year

published Dec 24, 2021
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A stunning yet simply painted arch or an unforgettable DIY mural can have a serious impact on any room. Whether your hallway has a painted arch or you’ve made a wall-sized mural in your main bedroom, we are here for it. Our 2021 house tours have featured some amazing painted murals and arches, leaving us itching to reach out to our favorite designers to install one, or take to our own resources to DIY a fresh look in our homes. Here are some of the best ones from this year.

Credit: Lucía Gogenola

1. This Earth-Toned Mural Inspired by Nature

The grand prize-winning apartment of this year’s Small/Cool Contest is a testament to beauty in compact spaces. It’s also a canvas full of inspiring mural ideas! Lucía Gogenola and her partner embraced colors from nature to add life and personality to their small Argentina apartment, incorporating vibrant accessories throughout the home and even blue cabinets in the kitchen. But it’s the couple’s cool DIY murals that really steal the show, like this one in green, yellow, and orange overlapping geometric shapes. 

Credit: Erin Derby

2. A Pale Pink Painted Arch That Adds Architectural Interest 

Adding color and interest to your home with a DIY paint job doesn’t have to be hard to accomplish, as Apartment Therapy’s own home director proves in her NYC rental apartment. A pale pink arch butted up against a wall opening to the kitchen does a few things: adds architectural interest to a plain area, frames the kitchen and makes it a focal point, and draws the eye up, highlighting the apartment’s tall ceilings. 

3. A Rainbow Brushstroke Entryway Mural

While crisp straight lines and geometric shapes make for marvelous murals, they’re not the only painted motifs that can make a strong visual impression. Skip the blue painter’s tape and grab inspiration for your own free-form paint job from this home’s rainbow entryway mural. Inspired by a tutorial by designer Tiffany Pratt, Kristine Bélanger painted rows of simple brushstrokes in a few different hues to create a cheery look. 

Credit: Shea Keating

4. A Clever Sunrise Mural

This perfectly mismatched home, full of bold and beautiful color, seamlessly integrated murals into the decor. The shining crown is a corner with a vertical, angled mural, that looks like a sunrise, flanking a freestanding yellow chimney. It immediately drives your gaze upward, as if watching the fire’s smoke, or a sunrise.

5. This Stunning Mountain-Inspired Mural

This puppy-loving couple made an entire room just for cuddling their dogs, complete with a pastel-colored mountain mural. George Ramsay and Dave Coast, with the help of designers at Jeff Morrical studio, created a pandemic-friendly ultimate zen space, where they have tea ceremonies and do breathing work, inspired by spaces they loved at Burning Man. Who wouldn’t want to sit on fluffy pillows all day napping with their pup, staring at mountains?

Credit: Leanne Ward

6. A Groovy Bedroom Mural That Adds Bohemian Flair

The mural in this 1930s UK home is Anthropologie meets childhood bedroom, in all the best ways. The bohemian vibes are reflected in the pastel and earthy toned mural, including a large painted plant on the wall — no way to kill that one, even if you aren’t the best plant parent.

Credit: Erin Derby

7. A Simple but Striking Renter-Friendly Arch

With wispy vines and stunning natural light, the bedroom in this small Brooklyn rental apartment is completed by a painted teal arch. The couple who live here are proud of how they brought the space to life with this DIY project. “We painted a teal arch on the wall of the bedroom to give the room some dimension/depth since it’s a very small space,” they said.

8. This Bold, Vibrant Cascade of Colors

The cascading and colorful mural in this 600-square-foot Manhattan apartment helps create movement in the room, leading the eye down toward a beautiful plant display. Thanks to this beautiful DIY mural, renter Maggie Antalek says her bedroom is her favorite space in the home.

Credit: Erin Derby

9. These Unique Side-by-Side Painted Dressers

Two side-by-side dressers make the perfect removable and movable canvas for any first-time mural painter. This New York City renter worked with a designer who opted for grays, browns, and creams, creating left-to-right movement and visual interest with curves and a cohesive look that doubles the impact with the two pieces together.

10. Double Arches That Bring This Corner Office to Life

This “wild, eclectic, glam” apartment in Oakland, California, is a dynamic blend of vibrant colors, bold patterns, and unique statement pieces. In her office/exercise room, renter Sophia E. Aguiñaga carved out a perfect corner workspace with the help of double arch decals in violet and metallic gold from Etsy — and they look just as good as if she’d painted them herself.

11. This ’70s-Inspired Orange Painted Trim

Sure, you could go through the headache of applying scalloped wooden trim around the top edge of the wall and the ceiling, or you could just paint it on in your favorite colors like Emma Jane Palin in this UK home. With one solid orange stripe and a second burnt orange scalloped line, our eyes bounce right from the corresponding bedspread upward.

12. This Playroom Mural That Puts on a New Spin on Rainbow

Why should a playroom, or a kids’ art center, be decked out in adult decor? It shouldn’t. Here, the homeowner and her daughter painted a floor-to-ceiling kid-inspired mural in yellows, oranges, and reds, that makes any young Picasso want to jump into their next project.

13. This Mural That Turns a Bedroom Into a Desert Oasis

When Nicole Wright got to work transforming her 1955 cinderblock California ranch house, one of her favorite projects was painting a mural for her daughters’ bedroom. Inspired by Zion National Park, the mural brings a beautiful cascade of earthy colors into the space. “This 15-foot mural was quite the undertaking but it was such a fun challenge and project to do with the help of the girls,” she wrote in an Instagram caption.