All About Our Under-the-Sea Nursery Mural
Hiring a muralist to paint a wall in our baby’s nursery was one of my favorite parts of ‘nesting’! When it came to our nursery wall decor, I pored over every Pinterest page and blog post I could find on nursery wall inspo, nursery themes, and how to decorate a nursery! And one of the things I kept coming back to was how I felt like a custom painted mural really MADE a nursery, and how I felt it was the most fun and beautiful wall decor for a baby (and toddler’s) room. There are so many benefits to nursery murals over traditional framed decor in a nursery – like the fact that as your baby grows to be a toddler you don’t have to take off all your decor for fear that they’ll hurt themselves or frames will come breaking off the wall! So not only did a mural make practical sense to us, we also really wanted one because my husband and I both grew up with murals on our nursery walls, so, naturally, we started to really want one for our little one.
We both remembered stories our parents would tell us of the various animals on our walls (his was jungle-themed, mine was Noah’s Ark, 2 x 2 animals of all shapes and sizes!) and we thought about how, as parents, we would love to be able to not only read our baby all of its favorite books, but to spark his or her imagination with a wall full of animals that we could make up stories about, and that they could dream about.
The nursery before!
Picking a theme for the nursery
We were torn between a jungle-themed nursery (you guys know how we love the tropics!!!) and an under-the-sea themed nursery. All we knew was we DEFINITELY wanted animals involved. In the end, we realized how lucky we are to live in Charleston, near the ocean, and our house has an overall coastal theme to it, so under-the-sea just made sense. Plus, we absolutely love the beach and ocean, and how much we wanted to teach the baby about the ocean. Plus, let’s face it, the nursery is just as much for the parents as it is the baby!!! You’re going to be spending a loooot of time in there! And I wanted a sanctuary where I could feel calm and peaceful, the feeling is what I get when I’m at the beach, or thinking about the sea!
So how do you create a room that feels like the ocean?
Step one, you hire a talented muralist.
I reached out to a ton of local muralists here in Charleston but I wasn’t quite finding exactly what I wanted for our room. Everyone has a different mural and artistic style and what you love may be totally different from what I love!!! But I can tell you one thing, I was VERY picky when it came to who to trust to do this nursery mural. It was honestly a huge stressor of my pregnancy, lol! I just knew we wanted one, but the last thing I wanted was for someone to get up there painting and it to just feel all wrong. I mean, we’re talking about A WHOLE WALL OF YOUR HOUSE!! It definitely takes research and finding the right person to trust, as well as communicating really clearly what you are (and aren’t!) looking for.
In the end, after talking to a few different artists, and stalking hundreds of artist instagrams, we chose Breana of Brave Collaborative (if you reach out, please let her know Jetset Christina sent you!! She’s the sweetest). She is based in Virginia but travels a lot for her work! She was willing to make the drive down to Charleston (and didn’t charge an arm and a leg for the travel, which was great), and, in our first consultation/exploration conversation, I immediately fell in love with her personality, energy, and artistic style. I knew she’d be the one to take our vision and goals with the mural and run with them, creating something more beautiful than we could have ever imagined.
Our nursery mural inspiration / how we explained what we wanted to the muralist
One of the hardest things when hiring a muralist for your nursery is how to explain your style and what you’re going for. Kenny and I work in the design field for our company Kenny Flowers, so we’re perfectionists, but we also know how important it is to let creatives get CREATIVE!!!! So I really was looking for someone who understood my vision, and had the right style to take it and run with it with their creativity. A mural is a collaborative project!! You want an artist that’s willing to work with you every step of the way. Breana made it clear from the very beginning that she enjoys creating art for OTHERS. She listened to our stories, and made it clear she finds success in tailoring every mural to each individual client, and how it will best serve their life. If you look at her portfolio, you can see she has a HUGE array of different styles and techniques. This showed me she could really do anything, so I trusted her to do one in the style we were looking for.
We asked for her to use a limited color palette of aquas and teals (which we picked out with her by looking at swatches IN the room – this step of the process was so helpful to be sure we were getting exactly what we wanted!).
These were the colors we chose! We used Tahitian sky as the base and she built the mural around that from there. Since we were painting a gender-neutral nursery (we don’t know what we’re having!), I wanted to stick to neutral, beautiful aquas, seafoams and teals versus anything overly darker blue!
When it came to painting the scene and the animals, we wanted an overall whimsical, dream-like feeling, nothing overly realistic or bold – and definitely nothing ominous or dark!! We wanted light and dreamy! She asked which animals we wanted included so we gave her a few specifics (we definitely wanted sea turtles, a mama and baby dolphin, and an octopus!) – it was her idea to make every animal included in the mural be a part of a family somehow – whether it was a mom, baby and dad, mom and baby, or the mama octopus guarding her eggs! Breana was super knowledgeable about animals and the ocean and made everything really accurate, down to exact species of corals!
After day one, we had the backdrop of the sun beam and ocean, and I could already tell it was going to be perfect!
Don’t be afraid to give feedback throughout the process!
We would leave Breana to paint each day and have check in’s at the end of each day where she’d get any feedback and make sure it was looking absolutely perfect. This is a great chance to pick up on any little things you want changed. And I was so happy to be working with a muralist for the nursery that welcomed, and wanted that feedback. For example, at one point one of our sea turtle’s eyes looked a little too realistic (like, followed you around the room like the Mona Lisa realistic), and I gave the feedback and she immediately agreed and made the change to an adorable, soft, happy turtle eye that was just perfect.
How long does a nursery mural take?
For ours, it took 4 full days of painting, and she used every second of those days! I was so beyond impressed by the work that Breana and all muralists do, and it was so beautiful to watch her do her thing!!!!
Our final under-the-sea nursery mural!
Chandelier is this one! I love how it ties in the sea theme!
I’m obsessed. What do you guys think?
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