The days of plain white walls are over. Nothing in nature is a solid color or of repeating design. Why then do we paint our walls solid colors or hang wallpaper, when we can have a more natural, artistic look with multiple color faux finishes?
Here are some things you need to consider when deciding whether faux finishing is right for you.
What finish would you like to have? There are as many finishes out there as there are faux finish professionals. Some finishes require one application, some can require several. The complexity of the finish will affect the price. Each professional has at least one or two finishes that he or she does best. When you have a faux finisher come to your home for an estimate, he or she should have a portfolio of samples. The portfolio should contain several styles of decorative finishing, from contemporary to old world. Before the artisan arrives, put some thought into your decorating preferences.
We recommend that you consider the following:
- COLOR - Do you like lots of color or are you more conservative in your decorating? Does the architectural detail of your home lend itself to texture and movement or softer finishes?
- STYLE - Do you like a warm, cozy feel or would a more formal approach fit the room and your living style?
- CONTRAST - If your furniture and accessory pieces are patterned with stripes, plaids or other designs, you'll probably want your walls softer, less textured. If your furniture is single colored, you may want to jazz up the room with texture and movement.
- MATCHING - Often, our clients say they want the walls or columns to match the floor. We try to discourage "matching" finishes with the floor, because everything blends in and you loose interesting architectural detail.
- MARBLE - We also discourage lots of marble finishes in the home. A little marble is beautiful, but if you add too much, your room can become "cold".
- LOOK AROUND - If you have an opportunity to visit Home Tours or a showroom with faux finishes on the walls, it will help you get a better idea of what will work in your home.
Clients are often surprised at the cost of faux finishing. Here's how we explain it to our clients. When you have a room painted, the painter used "production" tools like rollers or a spray rig, and covers a large area quickly (usually an average of 300 square feet per hour). The painter can usually get by with one coat of paint. If he or she is going over a light color with a dark one (white to dark blue, for instance), or a dark color with a light one (i.e. dark blue to white), he or she will probably have to go around the room twice, once to prime, the other to paint. It remains, however, a relatively fast process.
Faux finishing on the other hand is not a production process. Faux finishes sometimes require a "base coat" (coat of paint) before the decorative painting process can begin. Like a painter, the faux finisher can complete this process fairly quickly.
When faux finishing, artisans use small tools like rags, cheesecloth and sponges. They cover only a small area at a time and work to ensure that there are no "dry lines" (overlap marks) or "picture framing" (too dark or too light around ceilings, floors and corners). The decorative painter usually works 45 to 60 square feet per hour. Also, the fact that there is little wall space in a room does not mean it will cost less for labor. Lots of built in cabinets or doors and windows actually take longer go around than a wall with no openings. A professional faux finisher will take the time to make sure that all the edges are "clean", not lighter or darker than the rest of the finish. That takes a great deal of time and will be reflected in the estimate. Kitchens and bathrooms are especially time consuming. In general, faux finishes are "layered," meaning that the artisan does the decorative painting more than one time around the room. Also, faux finishes require a protective coat so that the surface can be cleaned without fading or removing the finish.
As you can see, faux finishing requires more time and energy than painting. Therefore the cost is substantially more. A good rule of thumb is that faux finishing a room will cost four to six times more than hiring a professional painting contractor to paint the same room a solid color.
Find out how to hire a faux finishing professional.