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Faux Finishes & Decorative Painting

Faux Painting, or faux finish, is a term used to describe a wide range of decorative paint techniques. The faux finishing technique is used to replicate the appearance of marble or wood, and eventually began to encompass all decorative paint techniques done on furniture or walls.

Faux painting in interior design and decorating began in Mesopotamia over 5000 years ago with plaster and stucco finishes. The most recent come back of faux painting was during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s when faux finishes in place of wallpaper surged.

Faux finishes and decorative painting for furniture replicates stone, wood, metals, patinas and weathering. Two main techniques accomplish these effects: Glaze painting requires the use of a translucent mixture of paint and glazes applied with a brush, roller, rag, or sponge, and often mimics textures, but it’s normally smooth to the touch. Plaster application can be done with tinted plasters, or washed over with earth pigments, and is generally applied with a trowel or spatula. The final product can be flat to the touch or textured.

Most common types of faux decorative paint techniques:

  • Color Washing

  • Rag Rolling

  • Strie

  • Linen Weave

  • Mottling, Old World Color Washing, or Tea Stained

  • Venetian Plaster or Other Plaster Effects

  • Metals and Patinas

  • Crackle or Weathered Effect