In decorative painting, faux finish techniques are used to recreate the appearance and quality of several types of natural material. These popular painting tricks are used to mimic anything from aged plaster, distressed paint, wood, and limestone to marble. The art of faux finishing has been around in some form or another since the ancient Egyptians, but more recently it has permeated the design world so thoroughly that it is difficult to find a home without some kind of faux finish.
Use a faux finish when you can’t afford the real thing. Faux finishes are often much cheaper and can bear a striking resemblance to their natural counterpart. They work very well when you are facing manufactured products that have very little character on their own.
Yet, you do not want to get carried away with certain faux finishes. The more difficult techniques such as marble or stone should be broken up by moldings or other dividers because they will not be plausible on a large open wall. In contrast, color washing techniques often look better on larger wall surfaces.
The most common types of faux finishes are sponging and ragging, mainly because they are the easiest and good practice for aspiring faux painters. More detailed finishes such as decorative plaster, paper texturing, and marbleizing will definitely take some practice—which is a good tip. If you plan to tackle a more detailed faux finish, then be sure to practice on some separate, disposable surface.
Faux painting can be extremely fun, but also be extremely frustrating. Therefore, as is the case with any home project, don’t take on more than you’re sure you can handle. There are plenty of professional painters available who specialize in faux finishes, take pride in their work, and thrive on the creativity involved.