How to Paint an Oversized Design
With this relatively simple decorative painting technique, you can get the look of high-end wall coverings without the high price—or the pro
For a one-of-a-kind look that is more personal than wallpaper, grab some blackboard chalk and start sketching. You'll need a pattern first, of course, so start small and think big. That's how decorative painter Brian Carter breathed new life into the dining room shown here. First, he hunted up a swirly floral wallpaper pattern to adapt as a larger, looser drawing. Then, using tracing paper, he copied the biggest shapes, stripping away the small stuff. Finally, he transferred his drawing to the walls, stepping up the scale dramatically for a fresh, whimsical effect. His oversized flowers, tendrils, and leaves never repeat, making them even more dynamic as they travel around the room, bumping up against the trim. Other tools of his trade include a chalk line to create a grid on the walls and an artist's round brush for maximum control when making curving lines. The paint itself is regular interior latex. Carter recommends trying out this technique in a little powder room, where it's easy to take a big risk, or in a dining room, adding, "It's a good place to be theatrical since you're mostly there in the evening." Read on for the steps he took to turn a fusty floral into a sensational swirl of curves and color.
Try it at home with our downloadable template
Make a Pattern
Using a pencil and tracing paper, borrow a pattern from a book or a piece of wallpaper, fabric, or even gift wrap. If the design is on an object, like a rug, take a photo, make a photocopy, and enlarge it. Trace the largest shapes, and make the pattern wider than it is tall so that it can wrap the room like a mural. Avoid repetitions.
Free Template: Download a design like the one shown here. Our template is designed for easy printing on an 8½-by-11-inch piece of paper. You can enlarge it, if you'd like, by photocopying it onto larger paper.