DIY: Abstract Painted Walls

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Remember when I was contemplating some fun wall treatments for our powder bath? I thought about wallpapering, doing a faux bois or hand-blocking a pattern, but I wasn’t super excited about any of those…

I’ve always loved Kelly Wearstler’s staircase with it’s hand-painted pattern, but I was worried something  this loose would be weird in such a small bathroom. 

When I saw this image, I really liked the idea of using oval or circular shapes.

Then I was looking at Domesticate’s Spoonflower offerings, and this fabric pattern jumped out at me. 
I got excited because I knew I could get this pattern up in only a couple hours, so right away I pulled out my mint paint and a 1″ square tipped artists brush, took down the art I had hung before, and was ready to go. 

The basic idea is super easy. In general, I did one large shape for every small or medium sized shape. There’s no right or wrong way to do it – really it’s just like doodling on the wall. It took about two or three hours to cover all the walls and the ceiling.

The mint paint I had was gloss, which I think looks really pretty against the satin walls. Gives a little dimension.
One important trick is the dip your brush only every three shapes or so, so there is some variation in the color opacity. This way it looks a little more like water color.

Since the ceiling of the bathroom is dropped and slanted, I went ahead and painted everything.


Once the paint had dried, I hung a bunch of vintage landscapes on the wall. I like how the super traditional paintings look on the funky walls.

Most of these paintings were ones I picked up at flea markets when we lived in Brussels for two or three Euros each. They aren’t masterpieces, but I love them.

I need to take a photo during the day, but I’m so happy with the way the powder bath looks from the hallway with the door open. It really looks like wallpaper.

I know – it’s kind of intense, but I’m loving it! Plus, it would be super easy to paint out or change if I get sick of the look.

Can’t beat a project that makes a big statement, costs nothing and only takes a couple hours!
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39 thoughts on “DIY: Abstract Painted Walls

  1. This looks awesome! It's a pretty brave thing to do but you pulled it off! I love the colour you chose as well. Now my mind is boggling with all the abstract painting that could be done on walls… I don't know why it's not done more! x

  2. love to see a clear decanter filled with minty mouthwash in there….love that fresh color and yes to abstracts with old world art.
    fun fresh and minty mod!

  3. What a lovely way to fix up a rather boring wall!
    One question; Where did you get your soap(/lotion?) dispenser? I have been looking for something similar for A.G.E.S! Thanks for the best blog ever!

  4. This is so unique! I love it, and it really works in a small space. It doesn't become too overpowering as it might in a larger room.

  5. Genius Jenny. It just completely transformed that little space. I recently went with stripes in our own bath and yes, in just a couple of hours, I had a space that looks like it had been papered for only a few dollars. Just love the pattern you chose!

  6. I love how fearless you are! So inspiring!
    I would have scared pant less to try this but it looks so good.
    I guess that is what separates to good from the amazing….fearlessness.

  7. Well, color me excited! I'm thrilled to see that you took inspiration from my design!
    It looks almost exactly like mine – well done! – and so unexpected on the walls. (and could be great in other colors – gray, pink, navy?) Love.

    Thanks, Jenny!

  8. You are such a risk taker- this looks fabulous!! So original- and like you said- it was FREE and would be super easy to change when you get tired or re-inspired:) PERFECT PROJECT

  9. This powder room is so cute! I love the watercolored look. I wonder if you could enhance that by mixing two similar shades of paint slightly so you get more variation in the color?

    @Sandra Gregersen I am pretty sure that soap dispenser is from Target, believe it or not!

  10. I was looking forward to seeing what this was when I saw the instagram peek. I really love this. Great for people like me that have textured walls and can't afford wallpaper :) Great job!

  11. LOVE the idea and the art on your walls! While mint is not my personal favorite color (and my daughter continues to think I am insane not to love it) I can see why so many others do love it! The idea would of course be fabulous with any color one chooses. :)

  12. Love love love it! You are so brave. I need to know: how do you get your husband on board? Can you write something about gender balance in decorating? I am about to move into my boyfriends, and worried there is no way to harmonize our styles.

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