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FOLLOWING is my design for a dining room wall – it was to give the room a ‘make-over’ for a Bistro Restaurant style (It was my first attempt, and as it is simple I thought this would be an easy one to show, so anyone could do it) .  I had decided to paint a view of the sea as if sitting on a patio.

I Used the very basic paints like Matt or Vinyl Emulsion paints from a  DIY store ( they usually sell ‘tester pots’ of colours which are useful for the odd colours you may need, although you will need a larger quantity of white or off white for the basic paint, all other colours can be mixed into this as required. you probably already have odds and ends from past decorating jobs, acrylic paints are ideal for smaller areas).

With these paints you can transform your home by painting those boring doors and walls to give them a new lease of life – it’s easier than you think and the equipment is inexpensive.

GETTING STARTED: With the white paint I first painted the entire wall as a base and left it to dry.

Next, the first thing to do was to draw out the basic design on paper, although I usually change things as I go along, then I marked out the areas with pencil and ruler, first the trellis at the top which was then masked off with masking tape, I added a column to the left side which was also masked off.  NOTE; when drawing a column/pillar it should be wider at the bottom than the top, so add an extra inch or so to each side as you go down.

Measuring up from the floor to a suitable height – just above where the table top would be, I marked the wall all the way along for the top of the patio rail and masked it off including the verticle posts at the same time. The height of the stone wall was decided upon and also masked off, the wrought iron scrolls were left till later.

STARTING TO PAINT THE MURAL: Using some of the white emulsion paint I added blue till I got a good sky colour and with a wide brush (you could of course at this point use a paint roller) I painted the entire area down to approx. where the sea line would be, making it lighter as I went down  being careful when painting the areas seen through the gaps of the trellis. I dabbed on some white and shades of grey for the clouds and softened the edges. Next I removed all the masking tape from the trellis and with a small brush painted in the trellis with white and shades of grey for shadows from side to side.

Next was the sea area, as I already had used blue I added more colour to make it a deeper blue and in a sperate container added some green to make a slight turquoise colour, and using both colours I painted in the sea area down to the stone wall, over the masking tape for the patio rail.

When all was dry, I peeled off the tape from the rail, exposing the white wall and repositioned it above and below the rail line, then using the white paint as a base with two shades of grey mixed for highlights and shadows the rail was painted from end to end, and the posts were painted in the same way, All was left to dry and all tape then removed from the rail. For the Wrought Iron of the railing, I drew out a design to fit between the rail and the top of the stone wall, drew over it with a marking pen and with tracing paper I copied it (You could of course cut or buy a stencil to use instead) Placing the tracing paper against each post i drew them onto the wall, alternating the design for each side of the posts, and painted them in by hand.


A stone colour was mixed, and the entire pillar was painted from top to bottom against the masking tape, the colour needed to be a few shades darker at the sides to give a rounded effect so I added these shades and sponged the edges to soften them, then the top design of  it had to be painted in, adding shadows, then the base, finally  I decided it needed a little touch of the Mediterranean and I remembered a lovely villa I had stayed at with lemons growing along the wall , so I painted a few trailing in the trellis at the corner and added a small boat in the sea at the same time, and painted the island hills with a colour of burnt orange.


I drew and masked off the squares for slabs and using the similar colours as used for the pillar the slabs were painted in with light and dark shades, the tape peeled off and with a cement type colour painted in the lines of the brickwork … finished I thought, but no!

As the wall to the right ended at the recess of the return wall and was in view I then painted in the area with a village of houses on the hillside, great … now standing back and looking at it I could see it now needed the fireeplace wall (which had already been blocked in and painted previously, so it was already smooth) to be painted to match the rest, so off I went again and painted the entire area as stone slabs.

It still need more to complete the Bisto look so I added a wall plaque I had made in Plaster and painted a while back which I thought would act as a menu board.

To complete the look, the table was put back into position against the wall, a red gingham table cloth was added along with napkins, wine glasses and an old Chianti bottle with a candle was placed in the centre … as the lights were dimmed the setting looked just as cosy as can be … Wow, time for a sit down and a glass of the red!!!  … Oh no, at that I decided to go out and buy 4 bistro style chairs to top it all off …. Phew finished.

Below is a  a ‘real Restaurant’, as you can see, I painted the bar area, the top piece was 18 foot long and 4 foot 6inches wide and the matching return piece was 6 foot long and  4 foot 6 inches wide, and painted as a sunset scene.

Hope you enjoyed this one, Barbara/Montana        


These doors were painted in the same way as the walls  using the same tecniques as painting the walls – mostly emulsion paints were used and areas were masked off, like the gate posts etc and the background painted free-hand as the ideas came,  when all had dried I varnished the doors with 2 coats to give them more durability.



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