Are Murals the Next Big Wallpaper Trend?

updated Jun 11, 2021
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It goes without saying, but history tends to repeat itself — both in fashion and interior design. And, while there are some things I hope never see the light of day again (you can keep your carpet-covered bathrooms, 1990), I’d like to think that most trends don’t “die” — they just go on hiatus. 

In this particular game of what goes around comes around, we’re tackling the latest trend to glow up your walls. The fact that wallpaper is having a renaissance is nothing new, but lately, a lot more designers and homeowners are opting for full-scale murals to accent dining rooms, powder rooms, and other formal areas. Many feature landscape or pastoral scenes that bring the outdoors in (and harken back to a simpler, more scenic time), while others take a more exotic approach, depicting desert life or wild jungle animals.

Interestingly enough, the use of scenic murals at home dates all the way back to the 18th century, when itinerant painters would travel throughout the colonies and pick up jobs, often painting portraits for important war generals or adding panoramas of local life to the homes of the town’s residents. Many other cultures had their own version of this eye-catching wall art, including the French, who originally created their scenes on block-printed linen rags, and in China, which began exporting hand-painted mural-esque Chinoiserie paper to the western hemisphere in the 17th century.

These stunning styles are just as welcome in 2021, thanks to fresh colorways and modernized printing (and application) methods that make hanging them in your home a breeze.

Here are a few favorites that deserve a spot in your home:

Credit: Wallshoppe

Back Bay Wall Mural

For a quintessential take, look no further than a landscape scene, like this one from Wallshoppe. In a slew of beautiful washed-out neutral hues, it’s just the right subtle touch to bring interest — but not an overwhelming look-at-me attitude — to any room in your home. Bonus: The design is printed on removable wallpaper, so you can easily justify it if you’re a renter (or someone who changes their mind 500 times, like me). 

Credit: Anewall

Harvesters Mural

If black and white is more your style, you’ll probably love this scene from Anewall, which is actually a color-edited version of a 1565 oil painting by the artist Pieter Brueghel the Elder. The timeless piece is available in pre-pasted, traditional and peel and stick styles, so you can really gear your purchase to your skill level (and yes, hiring someone to do it for you is a skill, too). The site also sells this mural as a print if you’re more the “frame and hang” type. 

Buy: Harvesters Mural, from $419 from Anewall

Credit: York Wallcoverings

Misty Mountain

Bottle a bespoke painterly effect with this watercolor-inspired wall mural from York Wallcoverings. The mixture of soft, taupe-y hues feel super luxe, and I love that you have to take a second glance to truly notice it’s a mountain scene. 

Credit: Anewall

Jaguar Mural

Spice things up with this seriously sultry black and white mural, also from Anewall. Something about the vibe just begs to be accessorized with luxe accents (think rich wood furniture, velvet textiles, and gold finishes).

Buy: Jaguar Mural, from $379 from Anewall

Credit: Lulu and Georgia

Jungle Wallpaper Mural

For a pick that’s equal parts playful and posh, snag this jungle-inspired mural scene from Lulu and Georgia. It would be adorable in a sophisticated nursery or playroom, but I also love the idea of adding it to your powder room for a cheeky surprise. 

Buy: Jungle Wallpaper Mural, $175 from Lulu and Georgia

Credit: TheGoodiesWallpaper via Etsy

Garden Fresco

If you want to stick to tradition, opt for a Chinoiserie replica print, like this bird-flecked design from The Goodies. The gorgeous colors—a mix of taupe, emerald green, and blush—are complimented by a choose-your-own material selection that helps you gear your wallpaper application to your home (for instance, a thin paper is better suited to new walls, while vinyl is thicker and will help hide dimples or other texture). 

Buy: Garden Fresco, from $350 from TheGoodiesWallpapers via Etsy

Credit: Fine and Dandy Company

Bustle Newsprint

If you’ve recently relocated to the suburbs and find yourself missing the hustle and bustle that used to be outside your window, look no further than this throwback street scene from Fine and Dandy Company At over $600, this pick is a definite investment, but thanks to the design’s washed out watercolor figures and a streamlined black and white palette, it reads as classic, not kitschy.