That Seventies Series: Supergraphics

According to my vintage decor bible, Living Spaces, back in the seventies you couldn't walk into a house without bumping into a supergraphic mural. Somehow my superhip mom must have missed the memo, but that's ok because I'm on a mission to fill in the gaps of my obviously deprived childhood. So, hot on the heels of Karly's post about those supertalented Austinites, Redstart, I'm bringing you another day of supersized mural goodness. No wallpaper required.

My obsession all started about a year ago with this image by design superheroes, Wary Meyers:

wary meyers

I really couldn't stop myself from painting my own hall ceiling a glamorous golden in homage to WM's greatness (read all about it here), and now I'm thinking the baby's nursery needs a supergraphic of its own. I mean, if you were a baby, doomed by evolution to months of nothing but cooing and an unfortunate inability to flip over on your own, wouldn't you want to spend your spare time staring at walls like these?


Living Spaces was going all avant garde with this one, eschewing the biomorphic for something a bit more Kazimir Malevich or Henri Matisse. But don't worry -- they have a few other tricks up the old book sleeve:



Ok, so the colors are a little... pukey in the bottom pic, but you get the idea. Some zany homeowners or decorators got hold of 1) tape 2) paint 3) rollers, and went to town all over those walls. Taking a cue from artists of the 60's and 70's, the supergraphic is an eminently attainable artwork.

frank stella mural

Frank Stella, minimalist artist of the 60s, designed this vintage graphic for the homeowners, but the simple lines mean you can do it yourself. Also, much of the art that inspired the supergraphic movement was meant to be wall sized, so the designs are already properly scaled.

sol lewitt

sol lewitt

OG artist Sol Lewitt started his Wall Drawings series in the 50s and kept it up almost until his death in 2007.

bridget riley

Not to be outplayed by the playas, Bridget Riley revolutionized the Op Art movement of the 60s, and contributed enormously to the supergraphic aesthetic. Plus she was a lot hotter than Lewitt and Stella.

Although superpopular in the 60s and especially the 70s (check out this Supergraphics Kit you could buy back in the day), the surge of huge, colorful wall graphics died down in the spartan 80s and traditionalist 90s. In recent years there has been an upswing in painted murals as an alternative to expensive and difficult to remove wallpaper, but until recently many mural patterns have been naturalistic rather than truly abstract forms.

For everyone tired of trees, birds and flowers, check it, yo:

robert coxon

robert coxon

robert coxon

Decorative painter Robert Coxon's murals may look vintage, but they're totally modern. And how much do you love the 70s aesthetic of the actual photographs?

Perhaps you've got a boring old bathroom that needs a splish splash of pizazz? Supergraphics to the rescue!

supergraphic bathroom

Clothing designer Brian Lichtenberg's home is just as colorful as his cloth. Love this drippy take on the bold, primary horizontal lines, and this would be so easy to DIY. Just embrace your mistakes.

supergraphic bathroom

This faceted bathroom turns the sink and faucet into floating works of art. I suddenly feel the urge to rip out my own bathroom and start over, cubist style.

supergraphic bathroom

Wary Meyers are masters of all things painted, including this groovy lime mural in a vintage bathroom, complimented by a matching green painted radiator. Sweet!

missoni shower

And who wouldn't want a shower painted in a bright Missoni pattern? I'm not sure how it works, but it sure is pretty.

living space bathroom

Just don't do this to your bathroom. Or photograph your half grown children naked together in the tub, and then PUBLISH it in a book! Were these parents TRYING to traumatize their kids for life?! Since Living Spaces was published in the late 70s, these "kids" must be almost 40, now. Hopefully they do not read this blog.

Let's put the horror behind us and move on, shall we?

wary meyers

Wary Meyers give us supergraphic as headboard. Supersmart, and supercheap!


Awww, a sweetly sleeping puppy, a guitar, and pink with purple supergraphics. What more could a girl want? (Found here.)

m interiors

A view of M. Design Interiors' room with attitude. I've blogged this house before, but its awesomeness can't be denied.

missoni home

The overscale polka dot wall in this Missoni showroom recalls the above mentioned Bridget Riley's work, as well as that of crazy but brilliant artist, Yayoi Kusama:

yayoi kusama

When I say that she's "crazy," I mean that she's been institutionalized for much of her life. So if you're seeing spots where there aren't any, be very afraid. Or, hey, become a famous artist!


No post on supergraphics would be complete without this GORGEOUS image found over at If the Lampshade Fits. Sista knows a thing or two about supergraphics, and has great taste to boot.


If you're on a small budget and need big art, a supergraphic just might fit the bill. There are so many DIY friendly shape and color combinations that there's something to fit just about any space. I was considering a black, all over paint job for the nursery (yep), but I think a wall mural might be more interesting and kid friendly -- although I do love me some black! What do you all think?

elliot smith

Finally, I'm leaving you with a great picture of the wall where the cover for Elliot Smith's Figure 8 was shot. Bless his groovy, little pea pickin' heart. Woudn't Mama Be Proud?

Picture Pages

Back, way back, in ye olde nineteen and eighties, my snaggle-toothed little brother and I would go stay with my dad at his swinging bachelor pad on the weekends. It was a modest home, furnished with wicker barrel chairs and those weird fake feathered plumes that inexplicably still pop up in homes of the design challenged across America, but it was redeemed by two wonderful things: bunk beds, and the most kickin' jungle themed mural wallpaper you have ever seen. I remember having the best conversations with my brother and dad set against the backdrop of that wonderful mural... Dad: If you could meet anyone, anyone, who would it be?

Eight-year-old Me: Michael Jackson! Michael Jackson!

Thankfully, some things have changed, but I still want that wallpaper. To assuage the bittersweet pinprick pain of my nostalgia, today's post is bringing back the retro photo mural. Michael Jackson thankfully not included.

apartment therapy

(via Apartment Therapy)

Although not junglerrific, my dad would certainly approve of this wildlife encrusted mural from Cabela's -- one of his favorite stores. At $80, it's kind of an amazing bargain, and it doesn't scream banjos and rifles as long as the furnishings and accessories are kept clean and simple.

living etc murals

A recent issue of the British Living Etc featured this woodland sanctuary. I wish my office was swathed in this paper so I could pretend I wasn't working...

apartment therapy

These homes featured in Apartment Therapy follow suit with a woodsy atmosphere. The panels on the right are disguising a closet, which is pretty freaking genius, if you ask me.


The quirky home of Shauna Alterio & Stephen Loidolt, owners of small business Something's Hiding in Here, outfitted their loft with tons of whimsical details, not the least of which is this virtual forest in the kitchen. If you haven't seen the rest of their home, check it out here at Design Sponge. It's pretty inspiring!

wary meyers

Sorry about the tiny pictures, but I just had to show this room designed by superheroes Wary Meyers, which I think uses the exact same wallpaper!

If you're not so much into the forest scenes, never fear. A host of other options await you...


Please Sir featured this incredible image on her blog, and I've been mildly obsessed ever since. I LOVE the theatrical red curtains, which make the mural look like a painted backdrop, and the coverlet is bold without overpowering the space. Photograph by Annie Schlecter.

murals per ranung

per ranung

There's a similar sense of icy optimism in these images shot at a Swedish home by Per Ranung. Those crazy bursts of color look fabulous amid the acres of white. They have a zillion (gorgeous, tow-headed) kids, though, so don't ask me how they keep that place clean!

Hate the great outdoors? You do have other options...


I blogged about this rad kid's room decorated by Flickr user kbreenbo eons ago, but it's awesomeness bears repeating. That child is going to grow up knowing where Qatar and Easter Island are, and that's more than I know, already.

living etc

Want to look book smart without actually reading? Living Etc shows you how it's done. No dusting or alphabetizing required. (And it would be helpful if the furniture were also included).

studio ilse

Karly blogged about this gorgeous room in Studio Ilse's portfolio a couple of weeks ago, so hopefully you won't hate me for recycling, but who doesn't want to dream of wild, wild horses?

surface view murals

And then there's this INSANE mural by British company, Surface View. Photo courtesy of Retro to Go. Surface View has access to a lot of historical and retro images, so if you check out their site, you'll notice that you aren't restricted to the same old stock photos featured on every other mural site. They also have this widget that allows viewers to create rooms based on chosen images. I might have gone a little lot crazy with da widget...


Wouldn't this be a charming girl's room if paired with some really sleek, colorful furniture and accessories?

Oh, and I made these, too... Sorry about the dingy pop-ups in the corner.


I linked it to the full size version in case you want to scrutinize the pictures, but I am sure you can tell that there is a wide variety of selections available, some of which I covet. Badly. Unfortunately, as expected Surface View's murals aren't exactly cheap. Shipping alone is $150, and the price per square yard is $160. Ouch.

Meanwhile, murals available through Cabela's, Target and the Mural Superstore (super cheap!) are in the $80 - $200 range. Of course, if you want something totally custom, you could have your own image blown up into a mural sized panorama (provided it's not a copyrighted image) through Design Your Wall.

So what do you think? Do these murals leave you with a lovin' feeling, or does the purist in you revile the very idea? Tell me all about it.

The Doors of Perception

When I was 16, I had this obsession with what my mother's life at my age was like. It would have been 1969, and I imagined her running wild and free on the beaches of California, hanging with hot surfer dudes and smoking the reefer (Legal Disclaimer: I have absolutely no first hand knowledge of said activities). Sifting through various old photos showed me that Mom was stunning, with long, straight 60's blond hair and big Twiggy eyes, and the kind of figure that a 16 year old late bloomer could only dream about. So between the hot dudes, reefer, and hot mom, it was easy to envision this super glamorous, ultra hip, swinging lifestyle set to the music and crazed colors and all of the happenings of the sixties. Sadly, my obsession materialized as a suede fringed vest, ankle breaker clogs, oddly braided hair, and a predilection for The Beach Boys and Jefferson Airplane. Yes, something was missing in translation. Although my tastes have (mostly) matured over the years, there will always be this part of me that yearns to turn my house into an all out psychedelic den of mindblowing prints, patterns and colors. Because I'm too old to do drugs, people. But I still like The Beach Boys.

m interiors

I wouldn't normally kick off a tour of my teenage dream pad with a bathroom picture, but the folks at M Interiors know something about mixing business with pleasure. The all-overness is killing me (in a good way), and I desperately need that swag light. STAT!

In the powder room, I will be featuring this wallpaper by artiste Virgil Marti:

virgil marti

Yes, that is fluorescent ink printed on black rayon flock. Hot damn, I love that wallpaper. Add some NyQuil, and you've got yourself an experience. Oh, and the blacklights would be sure to highlight any hygiene indiscretions.

Now that your hands are clean, you can come eat. The dining area would go a little something like this:

wary meyers

Wary Meyers, scroungy heroes of hip brokesters everywhere, starched vintage fabric onto the walls and used the leftovers to upholster matching cushions for their tulip chairs. Genius on the cheap.

The hallway leading from my fantasy dining area to the fantasy living quarters would be swathed in a trippy pattern from floor to ceiling, like this crazy tunnel of love from Domino:

psychedelic tunnel

Temo Callahan (whoever you are), the rest of your batshite insane pad makes me claustrophobic, but this is an epic Willy Wonkaesque masterpiece.

The living room will feature a ton of funky fabrics and patterns, of course:

m interiors

M Interiors seem to be masters of mind reading, because I love this classic empire sofa recovered in a wackadoo print. Keeping the pieces vintage but recovering with fresh fabric prevents fauxchedelic syndrome:

crazy couch

Woof. No amount of NyQuil can make that palatable. The chrome legs, especially, make my eyes bleed. Even though this is a designer piece presented in Milan, I just know that's a cheap Sofamart couch with a nylon slipcover stretched over the foam. And that is wrong.

Must get back to my happy place, pronto!


Aaaahhhh... that's better. This picture by super photographer Ngoc Minh Ngo demonstrates the softer side of psychedelia. Of course, in my crazy fantasy pad, I would have to spice things up a bit. We'll be needing some art:

andy gilmore

My real life pad may have to borrow these Andy Gilmore pieces from the fantasy pad. Because they're AMAZING. And homeboy has an Etsy shop. Yes he does.

andy gilmore

I'll definitely need a special chair to sit in and concentrate on Gilmore's goodness...

jack larsen

This groovy chair upholstered in rad Jack Lenor Larsen fabric ought to do the trick. That dude had vision. Like the kind that comes from peyote.

Or, I could always keep the furnishings lean and go the psychedelic wallpaper route, a la Kelly Wearstler:

kelly wearstler

Whoa. Who needs a tv when you could just watch the wallpaper dance?

After all that dancing, I may need to chillax in my super restful bedroom:

miller on mansfield

Sorry about the terrible pictures, but I just had to show UK hotel, The Miller of Mansfield, getting its groove on. Bed In, anyone? I will be co opting that top headboard for the fantasy pad, thank you.

Perhaps I'll go a bit more minimal in the guest bedroom.


I love everything about this bedroom from Ngoc Minh Ngo's portfolio for my real life pad, including the fab psychedelic pillows. For my teenage dream home, though, I think we'll need a wee bit more drama.

suzy hoodless

Let's see -- this crazy wallpaper in a Suzy Hoodless designed hospital seems to be about the right color scheme... and who doesn't want a giant creepy owl hooting at them in the middle of the night? Whooo? Whooo?

Phew, I'm tired after a long and stimulating day of looking. I may need to sit in my little nook papered with this chill Ferm pattern:


The chair is staying, fo shiz. I will need it to sit and meditate on how the future is going to be so much brighter since we will soon be out from under the thumb of oppression, and we won't need to protest the war anymore, or rebel against narrow minded conservative zealots. Unless you live in California. Or Florida. I guess there's always a need for more flower power.