DIYinterior design

anthro comes home…

by Grace Bonney

it was so nice to see the response to our bathroom project yesterday, thanks so much for all the nice comments. i quite simply can’t paint another bean today so it’s not 100% done but i figured 90% was close enough to share the details. so, here are the paints i used to create the anthropologie wall in my bathroom (i’ll share tips from the team who made the actual mural below, too). all paints are by benjamin moore :

  • base wall color: homestead green (ac-19)
  • dark blue bean: blu spa (2052-40)
  • green bean: prescott green (hc-140)
  • light blue bean: quiet moments (1563)
  • pale white/blue bean: yarmouth blue (hc-150)
  • green blue bean: covington blue (hc-138)
  • brushes used: thin artist brushes from the hardware store no larger than 1/3 inch thick

before you take on the project let me say: this thing is taking me for-ever. it’s taken easily 3-4 hours a day for 3 days and it sorta kills your wrist to do all these beans. but the basic technique is outlined right here in a flickr slideshow. i took advantage of benjamin moore’s super cheap color test pots and just picked a handful that were in the same color family. i watered each tiny pot down with maybe 2-4 drops of water and then just went for it. what i learned: don’t add more than a few drops of water or you’ll have drips all over the wall, it’s ok to have beans that aren’t perectly shaped, do all of one color at once rather than doing it by row– this was the fastest method for me.

i actually heard from the artist behind the actual anthropologie mural and she said she and her team:

“We did a rough base then made a stencil for the bean shapes. Drew the shapes in and then painted it in with a three or four color variation. We paint everything on the floor, so it is easier not to worry about the dripping. If you don’t like the major variation you can always water down another darker coat and do a wash over some of them, so you have the memory of more color.”

it takes a lot of time but if you have a small space that needs a punch of color i really recommend it. this was one of the best projects i’ve done in a while.

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  • i cannot compliment this project enough. it looks beautiful and inspires me to do something out-of-the-ordinary with my next paint job.

  • Wow this is awesome! You did a great job and I think it looks better than the anthro version! Thank you for taking the time to list the exact paints you used too. Benjamin Moore has the best colors!

  • I used to be a scenic artist — painting this sort of thing on 20’x8′ panels, show by show, in time for 8PM. actors’ call. Since then I’ve left the industry to start my own family, and I’m constantly amazed by the amount of things we always used to do that people don’t do for their homes (where it won’t be torn down six weeks later). This was a great explanation of the technique. All the more reason for me to be sad my landlord won’t let us paint the walls!
    – Melissa

  • grace-

    i am curious as to why you put so much time and effort and money into your apartment when you don’t own it. how are you going to make your money back when you give up the place?


  • Really looks GREAT!
    tip: you can draw your cool beans with watercolor pencil first and then paint them in.
    I like your hand drawn beans better than the stencil, much more personality!

  • Hey Grace,

    Your bathroom looks fantastic! I am very inspired. i am going to re think just painting our bathroom a plain light color!


  • whoa, you did this without a stencil? what a true artist. nice work. i’m motivated to fix up my bathroom now. nice grace chair, too. what an appropriate name for the piece. ;P

    btw, thanks for the link to my blog in your “around the web” column. i didn’t even realize it was there!


  • grace – i had no idea you had painted these walls. i’ve been so crazy with work all week, i had just glanced at the photo and thought how pretty it was. but i thought it was wallpaper. it looks so cool!

  • that looks fantastic! the colors and shapes are so relaxing, perfect for a bathroom. isn’t it so rewarding to see a creative idea come to life from what you imagined in your head?

  • Your bathroom project is totally inspiring! I want to do some similar in my bedroom, with a tone-on-tone red to create a wallpaper effect. Lovely photos! and such soothing, seaglass bathroom colors. I love it.

  • the whole thing cost me like $35 so i don’t think i’m out too much money on this project.

    i can’t live in a house that doesn’t feel decorated and like “home” so for me decorating a rental with things as cheap as paint is a must. the few bucks i spend on paint is well worth the feeling of comfort.

    thanks so much everyone, so glad you liked it! :)


  • I haven’t commented in forever, but I just had to say that looks absolutely gorgeous. Want to come over and do my room? I’ll make cookies.

  • Reminds me of an ear of Indian corn. Beautifully variegated blues which are the result of transposons. I’m a scientist, so of course I have to make it relate to genetics!

    This kind of project totally speaks to me. I’m moving soon, so I can’t do any painting, but I’m inspired to try something daring in my next place.

    You rock.

  • I love those colors! (Thanks for telling us what you used, btw.) It looks like seaglass, you need a jar of it in there now.


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