First things first, what are “faux finishes”? While there isn’t a single definition or set of criteria, “faux finish” is a term that describes a variety of painting techniques that are intended to add depth and create an optical illusion that manipulates the eye into believing it’s something that it’s not. Custom interior design methods can be used on a variety of surfaces (walls, ceilings, and even furniture), and are used to add additional texture to surfaces, and dimension to a room.
There are two primary methods of application that have remained popular throughout the 21st century. The first is a glaze painting technique, which utilizes more traditional painting tools to mimic texture using a mixture of translucent paint and glazes. The second popular faux finish method is applied plaster, which uses a trowel or spatula to apply a putty of tinted limestone and water. Different textures can be achieved by adding different aggregates to the mixture like granite, glass, or marble. The versatility of plaster allows for the finished product to range from very smooth and glossy to a rough, textured finish. This particular finish type has gained popularity over the last several years.
Adding faux finish paint to your space creates a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork that adds an air of sophistication while remaining completely customizable. Along with the two primary methods of application, new trends have pushed artists to think outside the box when it comes to their method of painting. This includes a variety of application methods, such as sponging, rag rolling, or dragging. All of which takes experience and meticulous attention to detail in order to maintain a congruent design and even application throughout the entire space.
What’s right for your space
The skills and training required to create high-quality and believable faux finishes make this a difficult, but not impossible, DIY project, even for the most talented of home renovators. Skilled artisans spend upwards of ten years apprenticing under a seasoned artist before they break out on their own. When searching for a faux finishing expert for your home project, it’s important that you research the methods they’ve used, years of experience, and type of training. Given the varying methods and application techniques, ensuring your faux finisher has experience creating the effect you’re wanting is essential. An added benefit of hiring a professional is having access to material samples ahead of the application. Similar to paint samples or fabric swatches, being able to visualize the texture within your space can help drive the decision-making process.
While faux finishing can be loosely compared to wallpaper, there are additional benefits to this more permanent and completely customizable style. Wallpaper tends to be a less expensive option and provides versatility while maintaining an elegant and customized interior. If you’re the type of person that likes to switch up your home aesthetic, wallpaper may be a more suitable option for you. There are available wallpapers with added textures that closely mimic the look of a faux finish.
Unlike wallpaper, a faux finish on your walls allows for a seamless application that blends in and provides a congruent design aesthetic throughout your entire space. In order to attain this seamless application, a trained professional must carefully prep and prime the walls. This is where many DIY-ers go wrong, leading to chipping, inconsistent textures, and streaks. A common rule of thumb is that your application is only as good as your technique and tools. Meaning, everyday paintbrushes and rollers with inexpensive paint, and no practiced technique will lead to an undesirable end result.
Faux finishing hasn’t seen the volatile rises and falls in popularity as its counterpart wallpaper. This is likely because of how highly customizable it is, as well as being a larger financial investment and a more permanent design solution. While the design possibilities are endless, a few of the application trends that we are loving for our clients include; ceiling-only applications, gradient colorful accent walls, and Venetian plaster walls.
Feel like something’s missing but are not sure what’s best for your space, Tran + Thomas Design Studio has worked with homeowners to decide the material, method, and color that will provide a consistent and elegant finishing touch to their spaces.
The burnished Venetian plaster faux finish has become increasingly popular and adds a monolithic backdrop to any room. This finish resembles a shiny marble and adds character, elegance, and sophistication to a space. Burnished Venetian plaster is a traditional and complex finish, that is more subtle and not quite as bold as some other plaster techniques. There are endless neutral color finish options that can add texture if your space seems bare.
Faux Finishing Customizes character
Adding a faux finish to your room is a completely customizable interior design method that brings character and depth to your room, and can tie together an entire design aesthetic. While more permanent and costly than wallpaper, this seamless application method adds a more complex texture than what wallpaper or paint can provide. If you’re an experienced painter with confidence in your technique, we suggest thoroughly researching the application methods, tools, and preparation involved in creating your ideal final effect. If DIY home projects aren’t for you, or you want to ensure you get the most out of your money, we would recommend finding a seasoned professional. While hiring a professional might seem expensive, they’ll be able to provide sample materials, meticulous preparation and will already have access to the high-quality products that are required to create a dimensional design that blends naturally into your space.
Not sure where to start? Tran + Thomas Design Studio has experience consulting with homeowners to help develop the ideal faux finish effect to tie together your home’s aesthetic. We have a history of working with skilled artisans in Kansas City and will pair you with the perfect faux finisher to transform your space.
About Tran + Thomas
Built on the foundation of a 30-year, family-owned Interior Design business, Jill Tran and Carmen Thomas opened Tran + Thomas Design Studio in 2011 bringing a combined 36 years of experience to their projects. They work on both residential and commercial projects across several styles. Interested in their services? Call (913) 268-9595 or schedule a consultation below.