*All posts are for educational and noncommercial purposes.


Sometimes a white box is just boring. So we add paint or wall paper to personalize and animate our living space. Sometimes, especially in lofts, color and texture are not enough to tame the large double height walls — big white walls that can make even the heartiest furniture and art look diminutive. Or maybe you think that just good old paint is just boring.


Hotel Tomo, Philpotts & Associates

I like graffiti, and I think it should be brought off the street and inside. I think graffiti is smart, projects an attitude, and reflects our time and place. When done right, it can fully animate a space without being overwhelming. Plus, we live in a city renowned for its graffiti art, graphically covering our buildings like we cover our bodies with tattoos. A stroll through the Mission and SFMOMA will show you that graffiti has gone from street to fine art. Why not tap into the talent that our city has to offers.


Private residence, designed by Siòl Studio.

I like the historical basis in which people have decorated their homes with imagery. This is our urge.  The Villas in Pompeii, the Villas of Palladio: these are all filled with scenes that depict sciences from life in society in their time. They included self portraits, and images of their favorite activities, their friends, their city, their dogs. Graffiti art is one expressive art form of our time. It is our fresco painting of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. What started as artists defacing  buildings has been morphed by artist into something respectable and on-trend…so why not bring it inside. Include image of things you like, and a selfie.



The risk is that your place starts to look like a 90’s dive bar. My suggestion is to:

  • you don’t need to cover the entire walls to have an impact. One simple figure will bring life to a wall. Check out the work of Banksy.
  • limit the mural to one wall, maybe the wall where your sofa will be situated. Although you want to live with art, you don’t necessarily want the energy of the piece to affect your mood all the time.
  • consider placing the mural to an area of transition, either a hallway or a stairway wall. This way you will be able to enjoy the artwork several times a day. I really like how Kevin Hackett incorporated a mural into the stairwell at the home Siòl Studio designed.
  • consider taking a risk. The worst that can happen is that you paint over the mural later
  • include a selfie. Patrons of fresco painting included self portraits in their work too.

Most important, have fun!

Follow me on Twitter, @bjørnstudio, or Facebook|Bjørn Studio, to get more design insight…it will be looser, faster and more free-flowing, with the intent to help you incorporate design into your life.

David Bjørngaard, January 2014

Images:  Siòl Studio, Philpotts & Associates, Banksy, Barry McGee and Margaret Kilgallen.



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