Photography or a mural can expand space

Editor's note: Christine Brun is taking some time off. The following column originally published in 2015.

Photography was invented to capture the moment, to capture life. And here we see a custom wallcovering made from a black and white photograph shown in Sunset Magazine's L.A. Idea House in east Manhattan Beach.

There are numerous internet-based companies that sell easy-to-install wall graphics in a vast array of images, from nature to architecture. What I love about using photography in this environmental way is that an entire room can be magically transformed.

This is such a useful tool when used in a tiny home office or guest bedroom. You can feel as if you were standing on the bow of a ship or on a bluff above the turquoise Greek Aegean Sea.

If urban life is your thing, look for shots of Paris, New York, Chicago or Rome. Perhaps you'd like to soften your urban loft or studio by introducing serene slices of nature or famous geographical landmarks like the Monument Valley or the Hawaiian Islands. A gorgeous beach and palm tree mural is available from Target for under $60.

Because photography allows a room to acquire deep dimension, it is a clever way to expand space by illusion without wasting an inch. Mirrors can sometimes do this if they are able to reflect a comely scene outside the confines of the room, but floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall mirrors are costly. Graphic wallpaper is far more reasonable.

Check into Brewster wallcoverings, Fathead or Murals can be cut to go around windows and doors or built-in furniture.

Who doesn't want a room with a view? However, a river, lake or ocean view costs money. So why not create your own view for under $200?

Murals have been in existence for thousands of years for this very reason. From cave men painting on walls to intricate murals from Greek and Roman times, bringing the outside in is a proven technique. While wallcoverings with design motifs or pattern prints are charming, photography produces a totally different sensation, making it particularly appealing for both the home office and a guest room.

• Christine Brun is a San Diego-based interior designer and the author of "Small Space Living." Send questions and comments to her by email at

© 2018, Creators Syndicate

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