The Writing on the Wall

“The Words of the Prophets are written on the subway walls / and tenement halls . . . “

— Sounds of Silence, Simon and Garfield. 1964

In this legendary song of the sixties, the authors of graffiti were elevated to the status of a “prophet.”

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I guess it depends on what was written. Or even how it was written.

These days, instead of spray cans, you can pick out your favorite slice of wisdom at the wallpaper store and attach it to the wall. You may have seen messages like these, or perhaps you already have them on a wall in your home.

But generic messages are more cogent when they are nautical. Here are a couple of samples from some past clients.

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Diamond Neeley is a fan of the Ernest Hemingway, a long-time resident of Key West Florida. He was a fan of this quote and wanted it in one of our complimentary scrolls

Molly Lineberger had another idea. She loved the excerpt from The Wind in the Willows which is a favorite quote of many a sailor or boater. She wanted her quote to match the color of the compass rose and reside in the water. We used a nice font to reflect the easy feel of that message.

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But we are only scratching the surface. How about:

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky / And all I want is a tall ship and a start to steer her by. —an excerpt from Sea Fever, by John Masefield.

Or this one by Ella Wilcox Wheeler, circa 1850

One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
'Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.

Or my favorite quote, attributed to Mark Twain:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

And this piece of concise wisdom:

A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” — John A. Shedd

What bit of wisdom is worthy for your wall? We’ll make a mural worth musing over! Call or text us at 801-367-7945 and we’ll get started!

Welcome to the Captain's Office!

Every now and then an interior designer or a client will envision a masterpiece. Sometimes I get to work with that visionary to make a masterpiece of a mural come to life and inspire others to do their own creations.

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Such is the case with Beth Champlin, Owner of Expressive Interiors in Medway Massachusetts, who worked with me to make her client’s office come alive with a fantastic application of nautical chart wallpaper murals. So good is the work Beth and I did that, for the first time, I will show you EVERY VIEW of an office installation.

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What makes this office remarkable, is how it lays out. Every wall and every view stands on its own as a perfect balance of land to water, and comes replete with multiple eye paths for the viewer. In this view to the left of the door, we even simplified the chart details to match the level of detail on the rest of the murals. More on this work at the news article, Too Much “Information,” from August 31, 2018:

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For an office in which productive work is to be done, the danger is that too much daydreaming by looking at the walls is possible if not likely!

Let’s see if you agree. I’ll begin with the behind-the-desk view and work around clockwise until you see the whole office.

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Besides the murals, see how Beth Champlin used an off-white color with warm browns, reminiscent of the white hulls of a boat and the brown decks of a ship to achieve a nautical ambiance. Notice how she used stainless-steel cleats as handles for the drawers!

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Beth’s touches makes me feel that when I am coming into this office I should be “piped aboard” from a boatswain’s whistle rather than simply walking in the door!

So are you ready for your own voyage into this kind of decorating?

Permission to come on board is granted! Call or text us at 801-367-7945 and we’ll toss off the dock lines for you and, instead of hoisting a sail, we’ll hoist (with some help from a paperhanger) a magnificent mural onto your wall!

Will the real revere pewter please stand up!

So I recently got back from Arizona visiting with my daughter’s family and had a marvelous time with her, my son-in-law and grand kids! A very nice break from Nautical Chart Wallpaper indeed!

But you know me. Everywhere I go I notice walls, with and without murals on them. It so happened that I noticed that my daughter painted the walls since I last saw her. She told me that she painted her walls Revere Pewter, a Benjamin-Moore color.

Now I’m familiar with Revere Pewter as I have had to match that color in wallpaper on more than one occasion. But it is tricky. And here is why matching paint colors to murals is so challenging.

The one color can look dramatically different depending on how the light hits the color.

  Paul Revere would be surprised to see 14 different colors out of one “Revere Pewter” color!

Paul Revere would be surprised to see 14 different colors out of one “Revere Pewter” color!

Here’s a good example of what I mean. I took a photo of her wall and cropped it down for the purpose of illustration. Below the picture is a swatch of Revere Pewter. But notice that there are 14 red arrows showing the same Revere Pewter, but with different aspects of the same color!

So which is the “true” Revere Pewter? Phew! You got me!

I think is the best way to go about your decorating approach is to order your mural FIRST, BEFORE you do any painting. Once the mural is installed, use your paint swatches or the ColorSnap tool from Sherwin-Williams to find the best color matches to the selected color(s) in your mural. But do this at different times of the day when the light on your wall appears differently. Use your electric lighting to examine the swatches. Try the swatches without any indoor lighting. After finding out which swatches look the best in different lighting situations, THEN — and only then — pick your color and do the painting.

Pardon the pun, but you will “revere” your decorating prowess much more by following this shady advice and calling Nautical Chart Wallpaper to discuss your project.

On your mobile? Just press the contact button and let’s get the conversation started!

Let there be light -- wall wash style

Let’s say you order a mural from Nautical Chart Wallpaper. (A very good decision indeed!)

Now you have the mural installed, but maybe it doesn’t “pop” as much as you had hoped. What should you do?

You would be very smart to redo your light source to wall wash lighting.

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What is Wall Wash Lighting?

Wall Wash lighting is essentially the opposite of spot lighting where a spot light narrows a beam of light onto an object of focus such as a painting or an object of art. Because the entire mural is the object of art, you will want to have your lighting evenly illuminate the entire wall.

This is accomplished with wall washer lighting. Illustrated here, courtesy of Home Depot is a wall washer light. For the purpose of this news article, I picked one with a five-star rating, which still comes in at a modest price. This ceiling-mounted light is angled to wash the mural wall with light, making it a well-illuminated conversation piece.

Need a nautical chart wallpaper mural? Have your wall washer illumination in place?

Call or text us at 801-367-7945.

Now you’re seeing the light!

Welcome to "Wains World"!

For 15 years we at Nautical Chart Wallpaper have managed to keep our prices where we started: $10 per square foot. It has been challenging, but realizing that custom wallpaper is more pricey than off-the-shelf wallpaper, we do what we can to get nautical chart murals into the homes and offices of those who want them.

But for some clients, doing a wall from ceiling to floor and wall to wall just is too costly.

So welcome to Wains-world, and the misspelling is intentional. I mean “wains” as in wainscoting.

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Tara Farris is a client of ours who wanted to do a mural above the wainscoting in her bathroom. In her case, a subway tile look really sets off the mural above her wainscoting.

The mural is the coastline near her home waters in Middleneck Virginia.

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A concern Tara had was her window. She did not want her window to cover up any land or water areas important to her. In the mock-ups we sent to her, we sketched in the window as a transparent rectangle so she could see if was okay to remove that section of the chart when it came time to paste up the wall covering.

Cost of Wainscoting

Of course there is a cost to wainscoting and you might want to shop a bit for the best price and look for your room. Remember that the height of the wainscoting can vary according to your taste. The rule of thumb is that wainscoting is a third of the total height of your wall.

What do you think? Are you ready an affordable mural and a trip to “Wains World?”

Call us a 801-367-7945 and let’s talk about your project.

All Murals are Beautiful . . . ah, well, not really!

I just got back from a trip to the Oregon coast, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how many businesses had beautiful murals painted on the sides of their buildings and interior walls.

A beautiful thing, right?

Well, there is a notable exception, and that is the creator of the mural. You see, many murals are painted freehand onto a wall. The painter has obviously met with the owner, and received instructions on what is wanted on the wall. Then the painter paints — and it sometimes looks bad.

Now what does the owner do? Hire another painter? Or just live with the results.

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I’m going to share a picture with you and I’ll keep the hotel name confidential as I wouldn’t want to hurt their business. My stay was great, but oh that mural!

Well, at least the clouds looked pretty good. And the ocean just proves how challenging the ocean can be to paint.

Why do I bring this up? Because if you want a mural in your home or office, you can get just the mural results you want whether it is a nautical chart wallpaper mural, or a scenic view of the ocean, BEFORE you approve your mural. This is what we have been doing for 15 years.

I took a few pictures on my trip, and from the second picture, you can easily imagine how splendid a mural can appear from a simple photograph.

Want a hand-painted look? No problem, we can use our graphics program to add paint strokes, or adjust the colors in any way imaginable. But you can bet it will look magnificent on your wall because we go through two separate proofing processes, including sending you the actual file that will be used to print your mural.

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So put the paint cans and brushes away and pick up your phone and email, call or text us. Our mobile-friendly website includes a graphic with a one-push capability for you to call or email us while you are looking at our webpage.

Let’s make a mural happen for you, complete with NO surprises!

Daydreaming at the Office? Let us Help You!

  Good book, but better daydreams . . .

Good book, but better daydreams . . .

“You know, Mrs. Morris, your son Steve just isn’t meeting his potential. He spends too much time looking out the window and daydreaming . . . “

So said my second grade teacher Mrs. Snowball. (Really! That was her name!) And the same thing almost word for word was said by my third grade teacher Mrs. Gosling (Again! The name has NOT been changed) Probably gave me a healthy fear of geese in my formative years.

I could go on. But in all honesty, all of my teachers were right. I WAS a daydreamer, year in and year out, all through my school years, including college and graduate school.

Would it surprise you to know that I still am addicted to daydreaming?

But as for “not meeting my potential” I beg to differ!

The whole nautical chart business began as a daydream when I was at working working on a fundraising campaign. I saw a hand-painted nautical chart mural, and it moved me to advanced daydreaming. How could I have something like this, I wondered.

Then, years later, I wondered: “Could I have a nautical chart mural by creating my own custom wallpaper?

Awww. You guessed the answer.

Niagra Falls and Cruise Ship Disaster.png

But the point is, it all began with a daydream.

Nowadays, my daydreams are of wallpaper murals. All kinds of murals.

I evem daydream of weird stuff, then try to recreate it with my graphic software. For example, what would a mural of a cruise ship look like with its bow about to go over Niagra Falls?

Like this I suppose.

Or how about a favorite quotation from Ernest Hemingway on a scroll in a nautical chart wallpaper mural? This one isn’t my daydream; it belongs to Diamond Neeley. (Really! Diamond is his real name!) He and I created it for use in his office. (See his picture below the quotation.)

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So I’m convinced that daydreaming is a wonderful thing, and that you, dear reader, need to do more of it, not less.

And that goes for you Mrs. Snowball, Mrs. Gosling and the rest of my home room teachers!

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What is your daydream. Want to bet me that I can’t make it into a fantastic mural on your wall? Go ahead! I dare you!

Give me a call at 801-367-7945.

I could use a good daydream right about now.

Develop Your "Mural-gination"

Okay, I’m stretching it a bit with “mural-gination.” Obviously, mural + imagination = mural-gination.

But I hear it every week when a client asks me: “Do you ever do anything else besides use nautical charts as a subject for your murals?” My answer is always the same. My job is to turn my client’s imagination into a mural, regardless of the size of the wall, or the subject.

My own mural-gination led me to nautical chart wallpaper murals. But as for subject matter, there are so much more ideas if we allow ourselves to look just a little bit harder.

For example, my wife and I LOVE Chinese Food. Last week, we checked into a Chinese Noodle restaurant, and my attention immediately went to their wall. I asked Linda if the black objects by each table reminded her of anything. “Sure, they look like boats,” she replied.

Noodle Mural With Disguised Patrons.png

My thoughts exactly. I love it when my wife agrees with me!

I took a picture of the wall, and later, I blurred the customers’ faces as I didn’t have a photo release with me at the time.

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The next step was to check into and search for “Asian River.” I found this excellent photo taken by Mattia Serrani that was perfect for this wall.

Using one of my graphics programs, I took out the bamboo light fixtures on the wall — there was plenty of light without them — and substituted Mattia’s excellent photo at sunset. Now the metal wall decor really looks likes boats floating in the river, with a reflection below.

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And, I must say, the mood of a Chinese restaurant would be greatly enhanced with such a mural!

I might go back and with this photo try to persuade the owner to let us do a mural for him, but for now, the idea is to stimulate your own mural-gination and discover a creative idea that is precisely your style.

Once you figure it out, call us and let us make the custom-made mural for you.

Yes, we will always do nautical chart wallpaper, but we can do other murals too! Give it some thought. Then, call us at 801-367-7945 and let’s talk about your ideas!

Too Much "Information"

"Too Much Information!" You have heard it before, probably said it before. And it usually gets a laugh!

But sometimes there IS such a thing as too much VISUAL information. Take, for example, a call I had this week.  She is a designer who said that the mural we created had too much detail in a portion of the mural we designed. It was, visually, "too much information."

  Things look calm to the right of the door, but a bit CRAZY to the left!

Things look calm to the right of the door, but a bit CRAZY to the left!

Now if it had been any other company who did the mural, she would have been stuck, because all of the other custom wallpaper companies, simply reproduce what they are given. 

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We are the only company who will reconstruct a chart according to the needs of the client, which is what we did for her. 

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You can see her point in this first and second illustration. It really IS too busy for a chart that is not a harbor chart. So we agreed to simplify the chart by taking out rocks, shallow water indicators, fathom marks, text, etc. to simplify the look. 

After all, this mural will not be used to navigate Woods Hole, so why not? 

Still, we left enough detail to show that there is a navigable channel going into Woods Hole, and some shallow water to steer away from.

In short, we did not change the message of the chart that this is a harbor that needs your attention, but we don't assault our visual sense with too much information.

At the risk of sounding too boastful, I am indeed proud that we have the ability to customize beyond simply enlarging the image and that we are happy to meet our client's needs regardless of the difficulty. 

So do you have a nautical chart that you want to be made into a mural? Do you have an imagination that goes beyond what you see on the chart? 

                        Here is the "Before" on the left, and the "After" on the right

                      Here is the "Before" on the left, and the "After" on the right

You have come to the right place! Let's make your mural dreams come true!

Let's talk about your ideas for a mural. We welcome mural conversations even if you are not ready to order yet!

Call or text us at 801-367-7945 or email us at

Think BIG, Artists and Photographers!

Throughout the 14 years that Nautical Chart Wallpaper has been around, I occasionally cross paths with artists and photographers whose work I admire and have purchased. I have not missed an opportunity to encourage them to "think big" and work with me in making some of their photographs, oils, watercolors masterpieces into a full-size mural. 

  New York Skyline. Photo by Jonathan Riley,

New York Skyline. Photo by Jonathan Riley,

Every artist and photographer I have suggested this to has the same reaction. First, they say that they have never thought of doing so, and second, they say no thank you, they are happy with the photos and canvases that they sell already.

I'm never disappointed as it really isn't a big thing; I'm busy enough with nautical chart wallpaper murals to seriously consider opening another revenue stream.

But their reaction demonstrates just how entrenched we can be in doing things "the way we've always been doing things."

Of such thinking are many opportunities lost. 

So whether you are an artist, photographer, or a lover of nautical charts, try this little exercise to expand your mind. In your home or office, find a large blank wall. Next, pull up a chair and stare at it for a few minutes.  Ask the question: "How can I make this wall a spectacular conversation piece?"

  Grand Tetons. Photo by Adrian at

Grand Tetons. Photo by Adrian at

Now ask yourself why you live where you live? Did you move here because of the mountains, a lovely view of the ocean or lake? Or the stark beauty of the desert? Is there an iconic image that you are attracted to, such as the New York skyline, or the Grand Tetons? 

Just play around with the idea and share your thoughts with us. We can make your wildest ideas come to life on the wall of your choice.

Call or text us at 801-367-7945 to get the conversation going. 

The Perfect Companion to a Nautical Chart Wallpaper Mural - Nautical Pillows!

When people order a nautical chart wallpaper mural from us, you might be surprised to learn that the next question is: "Do you also do nautical chart accessories, like lampshades, curtains, and other nautical chart accessories?" But the most common query is: "Do you carry nautical chart pillows?"


And we always reply, "No, but we wish we thought of it a long time ago."

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Well, today we have some good news. We just learned about a company that makes excellent nautical chart pillows for every part of the country. Caron's Beach House ( ) has a great website on nautical chart pillows. 

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So let's say you order a nice nautical chart wallpaper mural from us of say, the Cape Cod area, and you are are thinking about accessorizing your mural room with pillows of the same area, this is the very place to look! Their pillows look as amazing as our murals!

Murals AND pillows! What a great way to "chart your course" in interior decorating!

Want more ideas? Give Nautical Chart Wallpaper a call at 801-367-7945

The ultimate sailboat -- the ultimate mural?

Ask any seasoned sailor this loaded question: "What is your favorite sailboat of all time?"

Then, grab a beverage, and a comfortable chair. You are about to hear some amazing nautical tales of sailboats past and sailboats to come. 

As for me? I saw the ultimate sailboat in a small movie theater in 1990. It was in the movie "Joe Versus the Volcano. Now that movie is worthy of a News Article in and of itself. The part that took my breath away was when Joe set sail on the Tweedledee. The scene shows the boat under full sail. It was shot from a helicopter, and it sent chills up my back. The beauty of that sailboat is like no other I've ever seen. Just to make sure I'm not remembering it with the embellishment of fond memory, I watched it again last night. Chills again. Right up both arms and the back of my neck.

I've always wondered where they found that gorgeous sailboat, and even wondered if it might have been a model sailboat with Hollywood magic to make it seem real. 

  No longer helping Joe with his jump into the volcano, the Spike Africa (aka Tweedledee) is available for charter in the San Juan Islands.

No longer helping Joe with his jump into the volcano, the Spike Africa (aka Tweedledee) is available for charter in the San Juan Islands.

Then, a year ago I was waiting for a ferry in Friday Harbor Washington, a small town located on San Juan Island in the 172-island archipelago in the northwest corner of Washington State. The ferry was not due for another half hour when I noticed a very cool looking schooner. When I got a better view from the dock, I thought it looked very familiar.

You can guess the rest. It was indeed the Tweedledee from the movie, but its real name is Spike Africa. And, to my delight, they take passengers for a few hours on a regular basis.

So very soon my wife Linda and I will board the Spike Africa and even help sail her. An ultimate getaway, to be sure. 

Take a good look at her. Could this sea-going beauty become a great mural? Above is also a quick video of Spike Africa in a sailboat race. She passes by the camera lens at 0:06 through 0:27. It doesn't capture the majesty of the sailboat, but I may revisit this topic with a video of my own. Stay tuned!

So what is YOUR ultimate sailboat? Drop me an email, text, or a phone call. I'd love to hear your ideas!

--Skipper Steve,, 801-367-7945

Focal Area in your Mural - The Rule of Thirds

In working with our clients, we sometimes become too concerned with how to keep the important areas from being cut out for windows, medicine cabinets, doors, etcetera, and not enough about making the mural into a piece of art. If the wall mural on a wall is indeed the canvas, then the "art" or chart should have the elements of good, framed art.

One of these principles is the rule of thirds.

  Note the position of the Surf Dad's head and round window in the top right-hand of the crossing

Note the position of the Surf Dad's head and round window in the top right-hand of the crossing

The Rule of Thirds helps us keep the focal area out of dead center, where the focal area is stagnant and the most uninteresting place for the important part of the mural.

Put simply, the Rule of Thirds divides the height and width into three, equal sections. The imaginary lines that divide the area into thirds appear as a giant tic-tac-doh sign, or "hashtag" for you Twitterites in the audience. Wherever the lines cross in one of four places, that is where your focal area would ideally appear in the intersections.

With "Surf Dad" the mural actually goes down one level of the staircase. Making the lateral thirds equal, the top crossing area is near the head of the surer and includes part of the circular window. But positioning the surfer near the top right of the Rule of Thirds makes the scene seem dynamic as he "surfs" down the staircase!

In another example, two crossing points bring out the focal area of Stove Point Neck and Fishing Bay. 

  Note the top left crossing and the bottom left crossing which brings out both Stove Point Neck and Fishing Bay.

Note the top left crossing and the bottom left crossing which brings out both Stove Point Neck and Fishing Bay.

If the Rule of Thirds is new to you, here's a homework assignment. Go to a movie. Any movie. then imagine the screen cut into thirds, top, bottom, and from side-to-side. Notice how many scenes use the rule of thirds. In each case, those are the scenes where the subject matter REALLY matters!

In the meantime, give us a call at 801-367-7945 and we'll be happy to discuss your mural ideas!

Quiz Time: Can You Pick GOOD Wallpaper Ideas From Bad?

This year has been a banner year for Nautical Chart Wallpaper. To find out why, lately I've been asking potential clients where they first heard about us.  The answer surprised me. You won't believe what I've learned. 

But to help, I would first like to give you a pop quiz, just three questions long. Ready? Scroll down for the first question.

Which of these is a good nautical chart mural? A or B?

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Now, question two: Which of the next two is the best nautical chart wallpaper?












Finally, a tricky question to conclude our quiz. Which is the bad wallpaper idea?


Pencils down! Let's grade your quizzes. 

If you answered "A" to all three questions, you are indeed an A student in the Interior Decorating Arts.

I'm guessing almost everyone answered A for all three questions. If you did not, ask yourself these follow-up questions:

Which of the two murals is easier to look at?

Or, which mural do you find more interesting?

The Mod Podge mess that passes for wallpaper is a temporary fad at best. Charts and maps are made to be charts and maps, not wallpaper.

Maps applied as wallpaper will often bubble, do not stay well-adhered to the wall, and from what I've read on the web, many users have resorted to thumb tacks, tacking or (groan) stapling their chart pieces to their walls when peeling inevitably begins. 

And don't forget -- Mod Podge will discolor soon, turning the chart "wallpaper" an unflattering yellow.

As the quiz should have demonstrated, Mod Podge maps as wallpaper just look bad. And I mean really bad, disjointed, conflicted, and convoluted. 

So save yourself some grief and let us help you with a mural that fills your wall with one, meaningful, enlarged image printed on our moisture friendly, mildew resistant wallpaper -- and treat your room to a professional look.

Now for the answer to why our business is so good lately? The arts-and-crafts crowd has now seemed to realize how temporary their paste-the-chart-on-the-wall really is. They liked the idea of nautical charts on the wall, and whenever they look for a company to do the wallpaper professionally, we show up online, near the top of the search engines.

A similar phenomenon has happened to us before, when Ralph Lauren cancelled their nautical chart wallpaper, and we got several referrals from folks looking for their paper. Now it is the arts-and-crafts crowd seeking a more permanent solution for displaying nautical chart murals in their home or office that brings them to us.

In any case, regardless of how you found us, we are delighted to help you achieve your mural ideas. Call us at 801-367-7945  or contact us online and let's talk about your project! 


A Nook With Nautical Chart Impact

I can help my clients create murals for another 14 years and I'll never get over how clever they are on their home decorating ideas.

A good example of this is Rhonda, who knows how to make her mural come alive with lighting and color. 

Rhonda's Mural.PNG

The lighting is simple: a little lamp with a lampshade that matches the color of the land and a beautiful base the color of the cabinets below -- tying it all together. 

Rhonda's Schooner.PNG

We love to help with large murals, of course, but a small mural can make a big impact if you have the right place for it. Rhonda did, and you can see how very splendid the result was.

I'd also like to share a view from Rhonda's home that she shared with me and believe me, this photo would make a wonderful mural!

(Don't forget that we do photo murals, satellite murals, topographical murals and more!)

Time to take another look at YOUR nook?

Consider this a "referral" for your mural. Contact Nautical Chart Wallpaper at 801-367-7945, or drop a line to