Since the first time a prehistoric human illustrated the hunt on the wall of a cave dwelling, to the elaborate paintings in European cathedrals, to the beautiful works of graffiti that decorate public spaces: murals are one of the most enduring means for us to tell stories and express identity.
Over the last decade, murals have risen in popularity as a design element for companies and businesses to install in their work places. Not only are murals beautiful and versatile, but they also allow for a lot of creative branding potential, something that makes them especially well-suited for commercial spaces. It's no wonder that the biggest names in tech from Facebook to LinkedIn to Google are incorporating stylish murals into their office spaces.
But installing a wall mural in your office or business is not quite so simple as just picking out an image and affixing it to any empty wall. As the top tech companies all know, there is a lot that goes into designing office spaces in order to boost employee productivity, creativity, and satisfaction. When planning a stunning and space-changing mural for your work space, here are four questions you should ask yourself:
Are you making the best use of space possible?
How a wall mural will fit into your business or office of course depends on the space and how it is used in daily operation.
In restaurants and retail, where space is valuable commodity, wall murals are a no-brainer for interior design. They can be as large or as small as the space available, and they don’t block traffic or take up room where merchandise or customers could otherwise be.
But tasked with installing a mural in an office with an open floor plan, the question of making use of space should be treated a lot differently. Open floor plans may be great for collaboration, but some division of space is necessary for meetings and breaks. Luckily, murals can also be a great way of visually breaking up space while preserving the open air feeling. A wall mural does not need to reach the ceiling, nor does it need to be enclosed by other walls. Erecting stand-alone walls with murals in strategic places can create distinction without making it necessary to build an entire room.
Are you allowing for enough lighting?
We all dream of working in a place with plentiful natural lighting pouring through to keep us awake and inspired during the work day. Sadly, this is not often the case and many of us must make do with fluorescent bulbs as our primary lighting source. A great wall mural should complement the lighting conditions, and definitely not obstruct them.
Ensuring that your wall mural works with and not against the lighting conditions of the space is incredibly important to the end product. After all, those wall mural inspiration photos you’ve been drooling over on Pinterest look so good precisely because they are well lit. A mural placed in some dark and distant corner of the office or shop will lose some of its aesthetic magic.
If you want to use murals to divide space, you should consider whether installing a wall for the mural could obstruct lighting conditions. When natural lighting is not plentiful enough, murals can also be printed as etched glass decals. Frosted, semi-transparent decals are a stylish and subtle way to install a mural on windows or glass conference room walls. This method of murals can create a sense of privacy, allow for normal light flow, and contribute some awesome imagery to your space all at once.
Is this mural forever, or for a while?
While hand-painted murals by privately commissioned artists is a trend among big-name tech companies, this kind of project is not possible with every business’s budget or lease. Especially if you are renting the space, it is worthwhile to consider how long you need the mural to last and what the removal process of your wall mural will entail.
If you know you’ll be in this space for the long haul, you want to invest in a mural that won’t lose attractiveness over time. This means investing using UV-resistant inks for printed murals, and considering what touch ups might cost for painted murals. If you’ll be out the space within a few years, a mural printed onto a vinyl decal may offer the best combination of shelf life and cost.
If you need to exit your lease with the space in the same condition it was in upon arrival, take some time to consider your removal options. Some paints and pigments can be painted over more easily than others. Printed murals have varying kinds of adhesive backing that can range anywhere from highly damaging to completely harmless to the surface underneath. Always research before applying.
Are the mural materials right for the environment?
There are some health and safety concerns that are worth examining when planning a wall mural. Some water-based paints will blister and create debris over time. Several house paints are known to contain volatile organic compounds that can remain toxic even months after drying. And some printed wall murals contain PVC in their plastics. These risks have varying degrees of urgency, depending on your office or business. This may not be such a priority for offices in warehouse environments. But for environments where health and cleanliness are emphasized (such as hospitals, spas, food service, or spaces where there are many children or animals), you may want to research safer paint options and PVC-free wall mural printing.
Planning the right wall mural for your office or business is more than just picking out the perfect visuals. In order to create a productive and attractive environment, it is important to consider more than just how the mural looks, but also how it will interact with the space around it. But given their endless versatility, there is no office space that wall murals couldn’t improve. With careful deliberation and the right planning, a wall mural can quickly become the defining feature of your business location.