Before and After: A $40 Painted Animal Mural Adds Major Color and Whimsy to a Kid’s Room

published Apr 18, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Nursery with painters tape on wall before renovation.
Credit: Momina

Some of the most colorful paint jobs on Cubby have been murals in kids’ rooms, like this bold geometric one and this one as well, plus this wonderful rainbow one. After all, kids deserve walls that are as imaginative and playful as they are. 

In this room, which belongs to DIYer Momina’s (@momina.zee) son, the walls were once blank and white, as is often the case for new builds. But Momina wanted to add a little more personality. “I wanted to make it more lively and exciting,” she says. 

Momina browsed wallpapers online, finding herself drawn to geometric, abstract prints, but “the pricing was astronomical,” she says. Then, it dawned on her that because she owns her home, she’d probably be able to recreate the look of some of her favorite patterns for much less using paint. 

Credit: Momina

“The hardest part was choosing the mural [subject], as that is the main feature of the room and kind of sets the tone for everything else,” Momina says. With her son’s help, Momina landed on a 16-animal design. She started by sketching it on paper, then divided that drawing into six sections; she used a pencil to divide the wall into six sections, too, which helped her accurately translate her paper drawing to the larger scale of the drywall.

Once Momina sketched out her designs on the wall, she filled them in with paint. Since she didn’t need much of each color, she was able to use small sample pots of paint; they cost just $5 each. That made the total cost of the mural only $40 — much less than she’d have paid if she went for wallpaper. And even better, she notes, is that she was able to completely customize the colors she used instead of choosing from what was available in her chosen print.

For anyone looking to create their own custom color combo, Momina has a clever trick: If you flip all the way to the back of a paint deck, you will sometimes find pre-curated groupings of colors that work together. Momina just selected a collection she liked and got a sample can of each color (including Sherwin-Williams’ Caen Stone, Needlepoint Navy, and Colonial Yellow).

Momina says if she were to change one thing about the project, she’d paint the base a brighter white (to make the mural pop more) before starting, as opposed to painting over the existing off-white on the walls. But the result is still eye-catching and completely transformative in this once-blah space.

Credit: Momina

“This makeover made me realize I’m way more into paint than power tools,” Momina writes on Instagram. While the paint was a big part of the redo, her son’s room makeover also includes a few other upgrades (some of which did involve power tools).

Momina added peg rail shelves (which she built with 1x4s and Gorilla Glue), a desk (which she built about 2 years ago) a pennant garland, a new kid’s bed from IKEA, a cotton rug, a hanging storage basket, and a new light fixture. This brings her project total to a bit over $200. “I love that the space is so playful now, and with a few decor items, everything looks cohesive,” Momina says.

Her favorite part of the room redo is the mural, of course, and she encourages other DIYers to pull out a paint brush to have a go at their own mural. “Just do it! It can always be painted over if you make mistakes or grow out of it,” she says. 

This post was originally published on Apartment Therapy. Read it there: Before and After: A Money-Saving Paint Mural Adds Color and Whimsy to a Kid’s Room