Murals, Gallery Walls, and Flooring

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In this episode, I answer questions about wallpaper murals, living room changes, and exploring different flooring options. 

If you have questions for me, make sure to submit them here

This episode, we discuss…

[1:40] Quick personal update from Betsy

[05:25] Should I do a wallpaper mural in my living room? (Stephanie)

[12:41] Making small changes to a kid-friendly living room (Esther) 

[16:41] Exploring different flooring options (Donna) 


I’m interested to know what you think of wallpaper murals. I included an image of one I like from Wallism. I’m wondering if something like this will look stunning in my living room, or if it will constrain me too much in other choices I make for the room. I’ve included two murals I am considering.


These two murals both have tropical themes. One is more of a true landscape with a horizon with lots of undulation. There’s palms, there’s flowers, there’s one blue bird in the middle, there’s hibiscus flowers, there appears to be a volcano in the misty background. It’s all sorts of greens and blues with these punches of red with the high viscous flowers and these other small flowers. There’s also some yellow flowers. Anyway, it’s a little bit more subtle, because it does have this sort of misty background whereas the second one reminds me a lot of the wallpaper in Blanche’s room in Golden Girls that has those huge, almost Fern-like palm fronds. This also has a bird but it’s flying. And you can see less of the background and more of the foreground. There’s just a lot of plant life in the foreground. So it’s much greener, much bolder, things like that much more in your face. 

Now, this is a big statement for our dining room. This is a big statement for any room. I personally love a wallpaper mural, even though it kind of goes against what I typically say about you know, wallpaper and only one wall looks like an accident while like where’s the rest? If you did have an inclination to mural the entire room, I think that would be fascinating, but also a heavy dose of these very busy images. I think it’s a really fun bold choice. You want to pick the wall strategically for a mural because you don’t want a wall that’s broken up by windows, doorways, lots of intricate molding, you want to be able to see the entire panorama, almost as you would a piece of art, you’d hate to have a piece of art with a big hole in it. In this case, a hole for a window so I really want to be able to see the practically complete image. Not all walls are set up for this, especially if you have a lot of light switches, a lot of outlets, thermostat, that could further gunk up your clean, beautiful artistic image. 

Then this piece without question becomes your inspiration piece because there’s so many colors because it’s so big and overpowering in terms of its imagery. This is not a basketball mural. There are basketball murals that feel like a watercolor abstract or different things like this. I’ve certainly used a variety of murals in my day but these are really bold, and would serve not only as that inspiration piece from which all the colors in the room would be derived but also these have strong tropical themes. I don’t know where you live, but if you put this tropical wallpaper in Indiana, you might look like you’re trying a little hard in terms of pushing it in a direction that’s counterintuitive to either the architecture or the place. You live in Tennessee. Mm hmm. I’m not saying you have to do some kind of appellation landscape or something like that, but I just don’t want it to look too forced. I think this could be fun, it could be playful, but it’s a whole lot of look and you’ve really got to embrace it with your other choices. Go back to that two word phrase. 

What are you trying to get across with this imagery? What are you hoping to say with the entire room? Does this room open up into other rooms? Is it a dining room that opens up into a living room such that we need to make sure that the themes and colors continue on, in which case that is a heavy dose of the tropical theme? These are all things I would be thinking about before I would purchase this particular mark mural, though I am absolutely as you can hear, not opposed to murals. I’ve done the abstract ones, I’ve done maps, I’ve done this type of mural, which is more of a landscape.

I think that there’s lots of amazing applications for murals and you just want to make sure that you check the boxes that I laid out. 



We have a 1910s fixer upper that we are slowly working on. Our living room is our kids’ main play area, so the decor has to be kid-friendly. We eventually want to change the paint color on the walls, but for now we’ve updated the rug and I’ll be changing the throw pillows. We enjoy having family photos on the wall, and would like to add more, but what we have is currently in matching oak frames. Can I mix woods and metals for the picture frames? How about a mixture of art and family photos in the same arrangement on a wall? Thank you in advance!! (I wasn’t able to upload a photo, unfortunately)



So first things first, because I have no picture to go on. I’m just going to give a couple of guidelines. Certainly you can mix frames. You can mix metals, you can mix the types of art, etc. If you’re mixing gold with silver, if you’re mixing handmade art with black and white photos with color photos, if you’re mixing sculptural items with these different frames, the more elements that are disparate or different that you’re bringing in, it creates more of an eclectic style. Now if your style word is not eclectic, or your feeling word does not lend itself towards being sort of outside the box, maximalist, then this may not be the look for you. You really have to curate very professionally and very well for this not to look like a hot mess. You want to make sure that you lay out these frames, it sounds like you’ve already got a vibe going on with all these matching oak frames. If you’re going to be incorporating new elements that aren’t the matching, then you’re going to need to mix up that matching so you don’t have a blob of the same frames in the middle and then these kind of mismatched elements on the periphery, you definitely want to be very mindful of how you arrange this so it does not look craptastic. 

One other thing that I’ll share with you guys is when you do have a gallery wall that is primarily family photos, in that same room, you would not want to include more family photos. Across the room above the fireplace, I would do a painting. Then on the other side of the room above the loveseat, I would do a mirror to make sure that it doesn’t look like it’s just a photo album that exploded in your home. These are a few guidelines I would share in order to make this work out because I think it could be very compelling. I also think it could look really exciting visually and have a lot of wow factor but if you do it wrong, and it so easily could go wrong, it’s gonna look crappy. It’s gonna look like you threw a whole bunch of old frames that you found in one place on one wall, and try to make it feel like a moment. I highly recommend mapping this out in advance, taking pictures along the way to ensure that the vision that you’re building matches the vision that you’re hoping for. 



I am in the process of replacing my flooring in the mudroom and kitchen. I love color and want colored flooring as I live in a Victorian home with all wood flooring and there is lots of wood in the kitchen (wainscotting and cabinets) and laundry room. The only colored flooring I have found is marmoleum and the store told me it is prone to scratching. I love the colors. I do not want tile or wood flooring. Any ideas for me to consider? Thank you so much.



Let’s look at pictures of this beautiful Victorian because you know just by mentioning the word Victorian, you’ve got me salivating. I’m sad to hear that the marmoleum scratches easily. Now, I don’t necessarily specialize in flooring because I don’t handle that many renovations. Typically I’m working with what is there in the space. Looking at this, I’d be questioning why you don’t want to do tile. For me, tile would be the natural texture to use because you do have so much wood from the chair rail and wainscotting to the doors. Then the cabinets, of course, as you mentioned, so right now you’re really overdoing it on the wood. 

I’m also very hesitant to advise on color because I think a colorful floor competes with this beautiful, expensive, amazing looking maroon or burgundy stove oven. It’s really compelling. Now you have black countertops and a black backsplash. I do think it’s kind of a miss on the backsplash that it just appears to be the same material as the countertop, which doesn’t appear to have much character personality. It just looks to be pretty flat and black. 

I really want you to do a neutral tile. That’s what I’m feeling in my bones and I just wonder why you’re not open to that. Maybe it’s because you don’t want to remove baseboards but even then, like with the linoleum, which I think you know. I also want to protect your resale value. Now you’re not telling me that you want to sell this anytime soon. But, flooring is something that doesn’t tend to go out of fashion. That would really improve your resale. I just don’t understand your resistance to the tile so I would consider that again. In terms of other flooring, that’s not tile, carpeting or hardwood that’s not manufactured laminate.

I don’t have a lot of experience laying down linoleum or marmoleum. I mean, frankly, I grew up with linoleum and I just hated it in the kitchen. I just remember that the grease kind of seemed to stick more of a filmy way on the linoleum than when we moved to our next house and had a tile floor. 

I hate to not be able to give you a more concrete answer. I’d want to know more about why tile is out. If it’s just a personal preference, I would tell you to get over it. If it’s some kind of logistical or pricing preference, then I’d want you to evaluate maybe with a real estate agent. Sometimes when I’m making these types of changes, I know it’s going to be expensive. I know I’m not going to want to do it again for another 10 to 15 years, and I might be selling in that time, I’ll contact a real estate agent and say, What materials would be good for resale and what would not be goo? You don’t want to make a choice that is going to be worse off for your home in terms of investment value. Sometimes it’s not all about design. Sometimes it’s about thinking, what is going to appeal to most people, what’s going to elevate my home in the long run, while maintaining the integrity of the architecture that’s already there. 




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