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Move Over, Arches: This Is The Throwback Painted Mural Trend Design Nerds Will Be Talking About All Year

Perhaps you’ve noticed a return to more conventional, opulent rooms in interior design, as evidenced by the abundance of homes with board-and-batten walls, grand Persian rugs, classic plaid upholstery, and crown and picture frame molding in your social media feeds and favorite magazine pages. Homes with original character have long been prized, but the property market and many of the home improvements right now on Instagram and TikTok seem to be reflecting a newfound regard for historic elements.  Renters are joining the trend in various ways, and homeowners who have upgraded to more contemporary homes are also copying these exquisite features to breathe life into otherwise boring areas.

This mini-design movement’s DIY projects have primarily been focused on incorporating traditional architectural details. What if I told you that individuals are turning to paint cans and brushes rather than their toolboxes for the newest (and perhaps most budget-friendly?) iteration of the adding vintage character trend? That’s right; trompe-l’oeil architectural beauty is a popular, old-meets-new paint technique. Trompe-l’oeil is French for “to mislead the eye.” People are beginning to paint moldings and picture frame trim rather than hanging them.

Consider Calvin Hrezik‘s 500-square-foot studio as an illustration. The flat has plain white walls, wood floors, and little living space, which is par for the course in New York City. Despite this, Hrezik has furnished and decorated the house to give it a sumptuous, Parisian-style air. She also cleverly used paint. Being an interior designer by trade, he used creativity to infuse personality into an otherwise bland abode. “I collaborated on trompe-l’oeil paintings throughout with my incredibly amazing muralist friend Colton Ackerman, but in a cartoonish, campy, ‘Mary Poppins’ way,”  he adds.

For a unified, encompassing appearance, a row of closets in the entry hallway are painted fully in Benjamin Moore’s San Antonio Rose (027). The pair added creative, almost doodle-like renditions of picture frame molding in a contrasting red tone on top of that peachy-orange base. The living room is decorated in Benjamin Moore’s Coastal Cottage (1164) and features painted drapes and garlands that hang from the ceiling. As she continues, Hrezik describes how “the tassels dance on the tops of the Benjamin Moore Coastal Cottage walls around the main area, tying off a faux curtain into the entrance and closet hallway, complete with a painting of my cat, Disco Stardust, engaging in her favorite activity of pawing at pigeons.”

You can find additional deceiving visuals in the bathroom, this time in the form of “wallpaper.” Hrezik requested that Ackerman paint “frames filled with a handful of my favorite things, inspired by the thought of flooding all of the bathroom walls with my queer art collection” for this project. These wacky outlines were painted in Benjamin Moore Gentleman’s Gray (2062-20), and they are located above the shower’s towering wainscoting of blue tiles.

There’s no disputing that the painted mural trend may be moving from abstract geometric patterns and arches into this trompe l’oeil realm. These painted features may be more stylized than your standard crown molding or box panels.

Although following this trend may take some time and effort, it is a very cost-effective method to give your house personality and charm. If you feel comfortable, you can create these graphics by hand, or you can collaborate with a pro as Hrezik did. However, when it comes to picture frame molding specifically, the look may be effectively achieved with a few colors and some deliberate measuring, painting, and tape to produce the shadows that actual molding pieces would cast. Because 2023 is still a new year for paint ideas, there will be even more eclectic ideas this year!



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