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How To Paint a Mural: An Inexpensive Wallpaper Alternative

Learn how to paint a mural the easy way with this simple tutorial. This DIY accent wall is a great and budget-friendly wallpaper alternative!

How to Paint a Mural on Your Wall…

Wintertime in Seattle always makes me want to brighten things up with fun color. So in the spirit of being bold and colorful, I decided to paint a mural on my powder room wall! It did take some time, but it really wasn’t difficult. And I did the whole project for around $30! To be fair, I did already have the tools and some of the paint on hand.

Today I’m going to show you exactly how I painted my botanical mural. One word of caution: Once you start creating cool accent walls in your home, it’s hard to stop! This is my second one, and I’m already eyeing one of the walls in the office next!


I recently got Nature Drawing & Watercolor, by Peggy Dean, and I used some of her techniques to create the plants in my mural. Not required, but I’m really enjoying this book!


1. Make a Plan

I was inspired by this photo my friend Cara Newhart at Never Skip Brunch posted on Instagram a couple of weeks ago. It’s a cool modern botanical wall mural at a grocery store.

I drew a plan on a piece of paper, and cut out little pieces of paper to represent the things that will go on that wall- the toilet, vanity, mirror, and light fixture.

I wanted to be sure the most important parts of the design wouldn’t end up behind the toilet or vanity. I also wanted to create a balanced look across the whole wall, which means no huge blank spaces.

wall mural plan line drawing of botanical mural with dandelions, leaves, grass, etc, and small pieces of paper representing the toilet, vanity, and mirror in a small powder room.

2. Choose Your Paint Colors

Next, I used some acrylic paints I already had to experiment with colors. As you can see below, I started with the background shapes, and layered the colors as I moved to the foreground.

line drawing of plants and flowers with leaves painted over it as part of the planning process for a DIY wall mural

I knew I wanted to use several different greens, and since the rest of the walls were already painted a dark blue, I wanted to bring a little bit of that color in as well.

hand-painted botanical wall mural plan drawn and painted on a piece of paper with greens, yellow, and blue flowers

Next, I headed to Home Depot for some paint samples. These Behr paint samples are around $5.00 each, and they’re the perfect size when you just need a small amount of each color. You’d probably be horrified if you saw how many paint samples I have in my garage!

hand drawn and painted botanical art held up in front of paint swatch rack at Home Depot, with hand holding several paint swatchws in greens, yellow, and blue

Here are the colors I ended up using. Hills of Ireland was a little too bright once I got it home, so I toned it down by mixing in some Classic Avocado.

Mural Paint Colors: several open paint samples and lids showing brightly colored paint for botanical mural. Greens, blue, yellow,and cream

3. Remove Everything From the Wall

This is actually phase two of my powder room makeover, so I had to remove the mirror and light fixture from the wall before painting. The pedestal sink is going away too, but I wanted to get started, so I didn’t wait for it to be gone.

4. Paint the Wall

I painted the background Polar Bear from Behr (Home Depot’s paint brand). This took two coats, since it had been a medium blue color before.

powder room with wall painted Polar Bear white from Behr in preparation for a feature wall mural

5. Paint the Background Foliage

I wanted to have some foliage in the background that wouldn’t be outlined in black to create some depth in my mural. So I painted some grass at the bottom of the wall and some leaves in the upper corners.

powder room wall painted white, with green leaves and grass to begin a hand-painted botanical mural

6. Paint the Stems

Next, I painted the stems with a small artist’s brush. This was all about getting everything placed where I wanted it on the wall. Once everything was in place, I ended up with a giant gap in the upper middle of the wall. So I added a second, taller stem of the plant with the yellow flowers.

hand painting green stems on a  white wall to show how to paint a mural
woman painting a mural accent wall in a small powder room with leaves and flowers

7. Outline the Leaves & Foliage

Once everything was dry, I used a bold-tipped black Sharpie paint pen to outline everything.

I was originally planning to use a regular Sharpie like I did on the girls’ bedroom accent wall, but I found that a regular Sharpie really didn’t work well on this satin enamel paint. Once I had switched over to the paint pen, it was smooth sailing. And I was surprised that a single pen lasted for this entire project!

close-up of hand outlining yellow flowers with a black paint pen on a hand-painted mural in a small powder room
woman standing on ladder, outlining botanical mural painting with a black paint pen

8. Clean Up the Edges

Getting clean edges on a mural can be tricky, and I wanted my design to look like it continued off the wall… just like wallpaper would. So I just went all the way to the edges and corners, and didn’t really worry about getting a bit of paint on the blue adjacent walls.

At the end, I went back with blue paint to make nice clean lines.

Botanical Mural Reveal!

Ok, are you ready to see it finished?

finished DIY accent wall botanical mural with wood vanity and mirror
Paint a Mural With This Easy Tutorial: collage of white botanical line drawing, colorful paint samples, and finished botanical mural in a small bathroom

More Accent Wall Ideas…

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  1. Thanks for sharing this! We just resurfaced our wood floor in our guest room and we want to add a personal touch to the wall to really complete the look. We are not the most artistic and we’ve never attempted anything like this before so your tips will definitely come in handy.

  2. Fantastic!!!!
    Curious- what did you do with the opposite wall of the mural wall? Did you hang any art, or put anything on that wall/floor?
    And is there a ceiling fixture?
    And what color and finish did you paint the ceiling with?
    Thank you!!! Love your site!

    1. Thank you so much! The other side of the bathroom had the vanity and mirrors so it wasn’t anything special. I would show you a photo, but I don’t live in that house anymore!

  3. Love this! I am looking to do a mural in a room and this is great inspiration. Coincidentally, I have just purchased the book by Peggy Dean & it is hugely useful!

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