This was one of those projects that we finished, and then we went "Oh Dammit! We should have taken pictures before we started." Alas. We won't have any sweet "before and after" pictures, but I can still describe the room we started with. It was just a normal room. The walls were white, and it was in ok shape, although scratched and banged up in a few places. The floor was a disaster and still is, because we figured there is no reason to refinish any floor on which finger painting may occur in the next 5 years.
After extensively gathering, comparing, and obsessing about color swatches on my end, and extensively feigning interest while actually watching college football on Sean's end, we settled on a great color: Dolphin Fin, by BEHR. I can't say enough good things about this color gray. First of all-- it has the word "dolphin" in the name, and I think we can all agree that dolphins are adorable. Secondly, it comes in a low VOC option, which was important to me, as I did not want our baby to grow any weird extra appendages. Thirdly, it's a nice true gray-- not too purple or too blue, but just right.
The white color we used was matched from a color that the previous home-owners had used on the floor-boards and window trim (because we are lazy and didn't want to repaint those things. ) It is a great looking white---not exactly off-white, but definitely rich and creamy, and it provided the perfect amount of contrast with the gray--- enough to "pop," but not so much that the design overpowers the room.
We masked, taped, and then painted the ceiling and walls. We used two coats of the dolphin fin on the walls (we chose the semi gloss option so it would be easier to clean and wipe when she inevitably draws on it with crayons--or worse!) Then, we waited and let everything dry.
Now comes the fun part--the mural. I had done a lot of google image searches for "white tree mural" as I was brainstorming this project. If you are planning on painting a mural soon, I'd recommend doing some googling for inspiration. Although I didn't find any examples of the mural I had in mind, I found a few that were close. I discovered that adding a few birds flying through the trees gives the design an ornate touch. I also learned that, while my initial insticts were to go with a much darker color gray, I actually found those designs to be overpowering, especially for a baby's room.
When the walls were dry, I took a piece of chalk and started to sketch out my design. If you don't trust your artistic abilities, you could always use a projector and trace an image you like onto the wall. Not to brag or anything, but I've been drawing some pretty kick-ass trees since the 5th grade, so I felt confident in my ability to do it free-handed. Once I was happy with my sketch, I took a small paintbrush, and filled in my chalk outlines with white paint. BLAMO! End of Mural. All told it took about 3 hours from start to finish to draw and paint the mural.
Now Millie has a bedroom full of white trees. She loves to stare at them, drooling and making high pitched baby noises which I interpret to mean, "Mommy, I love my mural, thank you!" but, which probably actually means, " Mommy, one day I will smear my own poop on these walls!"
Here is the mural "in progress," by which I mean that I haven't removed the masking tape from the trim yet.
Here is the mural being inspected by our resident art critic, Cricket.