Faux finishes aren’t only reserved for an ’80s throwback. In fact, decorative paint treatments can bring an entirely new mood to anything from a free-standing piece of furniture to the entire interior of a home. Here are three finishes that have held up to the test of time as classic treatments.
Painter’s tape can be used to create stripes
The first application that comes to mind when I think of stylish faux finish techniques has to be stripes. And the opportunities are endless for creating a unique space with this finish.
Stripes can be fat, skinny, tall, short, vertical, horizontal, diagonal, colorful, or gradated. Any direction that painter’s tape can be applied, stripes can also be applied.
For an elegant finish try applying alternating paint finishes in vertical stripes of equal width. A flat sheen placed next to a satin sheen in the same color will add a sense of sophistication to any room. Keep the stripes at a width of 4″ – 8″ for an added touch of class. For example, a dining room with 6″ stripes in alternating flat and satin brick-red colored stripes above wainscoting will create a very formal feeling space.
Stria, or Strie, makes a statement
Stria (sometimes spelled strie) is essentially a set of parallel lines but unlike stripes, the finish is created by using special brushes and dragging techniques that leave behind some color while taking away the rest.
A dynamic space can be created using this finish by placing a very bright and bold color on top of another bright and bold color. For example, dragging electric blue paint over the top of a wall painted in primary colors of red and yellow will bring a lot of energy as the tiny lines transform from purple to green as the blue moves through the base coat colors.
This is a very labor intensive finish and the application can be tricky because the most effective installations will have little to no wave in the lines as they move down or across the wall. It is best completed by a professional finisher or a homeowner with a very steady hand.
When all of the furniture pieces in a room are the same wood grain, it helps create cohesion. With the number of slick black boxes that exist in a home these days – television, computer, Blu-ray player, iPad, etc. – sometimes having a bit of natural wood around can help to soften the hard edge of technology.
But truly beautiful real wood items can be cost prohibitive. This is where a well done faux finish technique can be worth its weight in, well, wood! If you’re going for a traditional feeling in your space wood can help set the mood.
There are many books on the market with recipes for multiple wood grain finishes. These books will give a good idea of the best tools and tricks to utilize for wood grain that is convincing as real wood even when viewed up-close.
Preparation is necessary for any faux paint treatment
Before starting any installation be sure to complete the following:
- Make sure the surface to be finished is clean and free of dust or debris.
- Remove all furniture, area rugs or other obstructions.
- Lay down drop cloths and tape off any areas where the finish isn’t desired.
- Measure. Then measure again. There’s a good reason contractors are known for saying “measure twice, cut once”, early preparation will save headaches later.
- Determine the width of stripes and make sure they will lay out correctly before taping off the wall.
- Buy the best tools you can afford to complete the job at hand.
- Study photos of the finish in question and practice on a board or piece of drywall to get the hang of it before touching the wall.
- Consult with a Faux Finish Artist and hire a good one if you can’t correctly install the treatment yourself – bad faux is not convincing and can make a space look tacky.
When applied correctly stripes, stria or wood grain are three popular and classic faux finish techniques that can bring elements of sophistication, vibrancy or traditional softness to any space.