Before and After: A $100 Mural Makes a Plain Bathroom Feel Like a Boho-Glam Spa Retreat

published Nov 30, 2022
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Before: Bathroom with yellow walls
Credit: Kelly Aiken

There are plenty of places to find inspiration for accent walls. Maybe your hand-painted mural is based on a painting in a museum, maybe your wallpaper reminds you of a nearby nature scene, or maybe you’re trying to recreate the vibe of a beautiful store window or luxe hotel lobby.

Credit: Kelly Aiken

For artist and muralist Kelly Aiken of Copeley Designs, her bathroom accent wall looks like many of her paintings. Its sparkly boho vibes look like something out of a fancy, sparkly store window during the holidays — something Kelly is super familiar with, since she has actually painted backdrops for commercial shops, bars, and lobbies, as well as residences!

Credit: Kelly Aiken

Kelly wanted to make the once-citrusy green walls in her bathroom a bit more glam and serene. She and her husband didn’t have the budget for a full-on bathroom reno, but they thought a mural on the walls would make a major impact — especially a mural with blended colors and texture and a bit of shimmer.

“I love to paint murals for my art business and thought I would try my signature drip and gold leaf wall look using colors from other rooms in my home,” Kelly says. For the bathroom’s color palette, she borrowed the blue-gray copper patina look from her bedroom and living room. “I love this new twist to an accent wall. it creates more texture and depth in the room as well,” Kelly says.

Credit: Kelly Aiken

Kelly used latex paint, water, and gilding gold to create the drippy, organic look — and she’s created several other walls like it since then. “The work is not easy due to controlling the dripping paint, but the process is so much fun if you are willing to get messy!” Kelly says. With this technique you can customize colors, and the freeform nature of the design means that no two iterations will be exactly alike. “The more colors the better, and blending with water is your best friend for the latex paint blends,” Kelly advises.

Although some drips were intentional and help the design blend together, the most challenging step, Kelly says, was making sure to not drip water on the gold leafing materials. “Watch out to not tarnish your gilding gold — keep away from wet paint and water,” Kelly says. She made sure to let all of the blues and grays in the background dry before adding the hints of gold texture.

Because the bathroom is a place where there’s bound to be water splashes, she made sure to use paint a protective seal over her design once the gold leafing had completely dried. “This wall took 11 hours,” she says. And her total for the statement wall was somewhere between $50 and $100, she recalls.

Credit: Kelly Aiken

“The after wall is bold and glam but with a spa calming feel,” Kelly says. “I love the colors flowing with other rooms in my home, and the abstract wall contrasts well with the fresh white paint on the remaining walls. This creates a good balance in the bathroom, not overwhelming in colored paint or gold. The metal shine gives a classy and luxury feel without overpowering the room.” Her project was a great way to add a luxe touch without having to pay the luxe price tag for new lighting or fixtures. The mural serves as a piece of full-wall art, which means the rest of the decor in the bathroom can be minimal.

Once the mural was complete, Kelly popped her same towel bars back on the wall afterward, added a plant in the window, and gave the rest of the walls a fresh coat of white. Now, her bathroom has all the glam attention-grabbing style of a celebratory holiday store front.