Faux or decorative painting on walls and ceilings is not a new design trend. Variations of it have been around since ancient days in Egypt, Greece and Rome. While it was originally an art form found primarily in churches, castles and palaces, today it can be found in upscale residences, offices and even middle-class homes. The process incorporates various techniques to manipulate paint on a surface to imitate the appearance of another substance, such as wood, marble or stone.
Faux-painted walls can look like Venetian plaster, brick, marble, embedded tissue paper, tile, gold leafing and distressed wood, among many other finishes. Tuscan and other Old World finishes are also really popular. Consider your flooring, cabinetry and furniture to make a faux design work best.
Don’t try to do faux painting yourself, unless you’re trained in the art. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking anyone can faux paint. It takes more than skill and talent to successfully faux paint. It also takes knowledge. There are five basic elements to successful faux painting when you hire a professional painter. First is the aesthetic aspect. Faux painting must be done beautifully enough to make a house look better than before it was faux-painted. And although that sounds obvious, it’s amazing how many bad faux painters there are.
The second element is the technical aspect of faux painting. You have to know what kinds of surfaces paint adheres best to, what types of paint adhere best to prime coats and base coats of paint and how to properly apply paint. Legal issues comprise the next element. Make sure the faux painter you hire is licensed, bonded and insured, and ask the painter for proof of insurance.
Next is scheduling. The painter should be flexible enough to schedule your project per your needs, rather than only being available at certain times. But be careful about a painter being too available. A good painter is often booked a month or more in advance. The last element of successful faux painting is price. It doesn’t have to be tremendously expensive. It should be reasonable. A reasonable charge is $5 per square foot and up. To know if a painter is truly talented, you really have to look at the work he or she already has done. Insist on seeing examples of their past work.
Repetitive patterns on walls and faux painting with sponges are considered passé and unimaginative. Subtle washes or subtle variations of earth tones on the walls are a better bet. You can transform your living space through faux painting, as long as you hire the right professional and take the time to evaluate which faux effect is best for your décor.