This Small Rental Apartment Is Full of Marvelous DIY Painted Murals

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Living room with mural behind sofa and view into dining room with green mural

Name: Michelle Dain and daughter
Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 800 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, renting

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Ever since I was a little girl, I was always obsessed with decor. My barbie doll’s furniture got more play time than the dolls. I would meticulously set up their homes. Sometimes there would be DIY doll decor. Which has directly translated into my real life home decor. This particular rendition of my home was born during the pandemic. I moved into my apartment on March 1, 2020. To keep myself occupied, I started to really focus on this passion of mine. The driving need to make my home a haven for my daughter and me during these uncertain times. During the middle of all of this, I got my heart broken. To focus my energy in a healthy capacity, I began painting murals in my home. The first was the pink circle with the wave lines. To challenge myself, I said no tape. As I got more confident, I graduated to more complex designs like the freehand mountain range in my dining space.

I wanted my home to feel warm and inviting without feeling sterile. So many homes try to bring about a calm feeling by doing everything neutral. I set out to make my staycation home fun and colorful while still maintaining that calm vibe. I closely pay attention to color tones and textures. I believe that you can mix and match many different styles as long as the colors and textures match the space you reside in. Most of my art is made by me. I like to use fun, beachy, retro colors. Typically I pair them with white so they are fun but also relaxing.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: MCM, Beach, Colorful, Serene, Eclectic

What is your favorite room and why? Of course this question has to exist. Honestly, I don’t have a favorite. My top four spaces in no particular order would be my living room, dining room, bedroom, and hall mural. Each room has a specific purpose, but sometimes I just use that space to match my mood.

The whys:

  • Living room: Who doesn’t love their living room? It’s a space meant for family and fun. I also enjoy doing smaller crafts at my coffee table.
  • Dining room: Food brings people together. There’s hundreds of TV shows proving that point. But sometimes as a creative, I like to spread everything out. This space is great for doing that.
  • My Bedroom: It’s my haven and also my office. I have really enjoyed the challenge of trying to balance working from home and my deep desire to create a me space.
  • My hall mural: Well, it’s just awesome and fun.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I found a brass seagull on Marketplace that I have been fiending for, for ages now. So stoked that I got one in my price range.

Any advice for creating a home you love? I don’t believe in rushed decor. Find something that invokes you and your vibes. Allow your style and home to be cultivated, change, grow, and adapt.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.