Before and After: A $50 Whole-Room Mural Rescues a Bland Brown Spare Room from the ’90s

published Oct 9, 2022
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Before: a tan room with lounge chairs and ottomans
Credit: Cindi Yang

Painting a mural is a risky move, especially one with a bold pattern, and especially if you’ve never painted one before, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it!

Take it from homeowner Cindi Yang, who decided to dive in to the world of murals while revamping the once-uninspiring sunroom in her house. “We entertain a lot, and it wasn’t a room that I felt proud hosting people in,” Cindi says of the before, untouched from 1999. “It needed some creativity, life, and I wanted it to feel more like us!”

She loved the big windows and natural light, but other than that, the space was nothing special. The first big change came when Cindi moved her dining table in, effectively altering the room’s function, but that wasn’t enough of an upgrade; the color palette needed a refresh, too. From the walls to the carpet to the window trim, beige reigned. Cindi didn’t hate the wall color, she but felt something was missing. “I am proud that I was able to keep the original brown color,” she says. “For some reason, a part of me kind of liked it, and it made me sad to completely paint over it! It just needed something to spice it up to make the room shine.”

Credit: Cindi Yang

That special something? A freehanded mural. It was a DIY she had never tried, but Cindi says she wanted the process to be “fun and organic.” Looking at the final result, these are also the perfect descriptors for the rounded blue forms that now dance around the room.

Credit: Cindi Yang

She started with blue and red chalk paint and free-handed the nearly interlocking figures — it took her about nine hours — but after finishing, she decided the red looked too bold. To fix this, Cindi simply painted over the red in the blue shade (Folkart Home Decor’s Cascade), thus proving true the age-old DIY sentiment: It’s only paint! You can always paint over it again if you don’t like it.

With the paint complete, it was time to fill in the room with furniture, all of which Cindi already owned.

Credit: Cindi Yang

Two armchairs and some clear IKEA TOBIAS chairs complement her sleek dining table from World Market, a marble-patterned rug underneath adds texture, and a white vintage floor lamp, ceiling light, and other accessories inject individuality.

The furniture for the space cost about $1,350, and the painting project only cost Cindi $50. The low-budget, high-impact transformation is not the only thing Cindi has to be excited about.

Credit: Cindi Yang

She ended up with a room where she enjoys spending time as often as possible, whether it’s to socialize with friends, work, or dine with her family. “I love that it feels creative and is the perfect balance of calm and playful energy,” she says. “If I were to do something differently, I would have just painted all the shapes in the room blue to save time (instead of experimenting with the red). But, you live and you learn! … Paint can always be changed and fixed, so I try not to be too scared to take chances.”