Paint Decor Studio

Paint Decor Studio is the home of Denver mural artist Michelle Frances and, on occasion, a few of her awesomely talented friends. Michelle's art includes murals, decorative paint effects, faux finishes and decorative plasters in addition to portraits, pet portraits and custom fine art pieces. Please take a few minutes to browse this site and don't miss the archive (as there are more photos there than anywhere else). If you are using Explorer and having trouble viewing pictures go to the archive and you should be able to see images there.


Paint Decor Paris Mural

This video is of my most recent mural in Denver. We used a skyline image from Disney’s Ratatouille for the composition but changed the style and color scene drastically. This mural is painted in a four year old girl’s room but I imagine it will be something she loves well into her teens. 

Mom wanted to include the Mona Lisa as her daughter is fascinated by the painting so… I put her in the window. Apparently they LOVE it.

Permalink Just completed this Tuscany mural in a Littleton home. New furniture is on the way… including a wine barrel side table. These folks love their wine!
Permalink Finishing this mural up in the next day or two. I’m having fun with it.
Permalink Murals in a Denver area dining room. 

The Diffences between Murals, Decorative Painting, Trompe l’Oeil and Faux Painting

Here are a few basic definitions that might help clarify things.

Murals: Fine art paintings executed directly onto a wall. These are primarily representational; landscapes, portraits, abstract. Murals are generally one large composition and do not involve repeating patters.

Decorative Painting: Decorative Painting generally refers to detailed paint work that is not suggestive of anything. It is simply decorative. Wallpaper like repeating patters, scroll work, stripes, damask patterns. Often, stencil work can fall into this category.

Trompe l’Oeil: This term literally means ‘fool the eye’. Trompe l’oeil murals are so realistic they are intended to trick the viewer into thinking that the wall isn’t there. 

Faux Painting: Faux means ‘fake’ so this refers to painting techniques intended to make the drywall look like something else; aged plaster, stucco, leather, bark, etc. Sponging, washing, and glazing are popular techniques.

Permalink I just finished this mural for a boy’s nursery in Denver, CO’s Wash Park neighborhood. This train mural includes a few vintage airplanes. One of the buildings in the distance is an old family home in Detroit.

Decorative Paint Ideas for Contemporary Design

Murals aren’t just for traditional homes. Mural art in contemporary spaces can be spectacular!


New decorative painting techniques and materials are making some amazing things possible. Strong, powerful, artistic statements are a must if you don’t want your contemporary home to not look like an ice box. Those statements can be made using fabric choices, brilliant paintings or sculpture pieces, or with paint; something like this perhaps.




**** Please note that none of these images are of my work. They are all pieces by some of my amazing colleges although I can’t seem to trace the artist’s names. I could paint any of them… I just didn’t.

Permalink michael sowa


Just say No to Smarmy Paint.

Can paint be smarmy? Since smarmy is an adjective meaning falsely earnest I guess the word has to apply to a noun with the ability to be earnest and/or false. So, maybe not. However, who creates the ads, who tests the paint and then lies to consumers? Those people are smarmy! I won’t say that the people behind the paint counter at my local big box hardware store are smarmy. They are only doing their jobs to the best of their abilities (most of the time). They don’t really know paint so they don’t really know that they are selling junk.

It is simple really. If you hire an experienced, professional painter they will use Benjamin Moore Paint. Some might use Sherwin Williams but none will use big box brands. Why not? It is cheaper right? The truth is it is actually more expensive because you have to use twice as much paint and it takes twice as long to cover a wall. Therefore a $25 a gallon paint is not cheaper than a $40 a gallon paint. 

The best painters I know use Benjamin Moore exclusively because it looks great and costs less in the long run. It is just good business to create beautiful walls as efficiently as possible.

There is enough paint on this planet (thank you Sherwin Williams for the lovely graphic). Use the good stuff the first time.

Permalink Proud mom moment. In an earlier post I wrote about how expressive 4 y/o Charlie’s art is. This is Charlie, giant head, spazzy body, goofy eyebrows and all. I swear he’s even raising one eyebrow in self defiance. I love this kid!
Permalink Quick snapshot of a dining room I just finished.
Permalink The Dragon Room. These crazy Chinese dragons are painted on the ceiling of a boy’s room in Denver. The walls are beige with a few clumps of bamboo painted on them.