What Is Faux Finishing?

Faux painting or Faux finishing are terms used to describe a wide range of decorative painting techniques. Faux, derived from the French word for “fake”, faux painting began as a form of replicating materials such as marble and wood with paint, but has come to encompass many other decorative finishes for walls and furniture.

From cave painting to Ancient Egypt, faux painting has been used over the millennia, although is it generally thought that faux finishing began with Plaster and Stucco Finishes in Mesopotamia over 5000 years ago in decorative art.

 Faux were popular in Classical times in the forms of faux Marble, faux Wood, and Trompe l\’oeil Murals. An apprentice for 10 years or more with a master faux painter would be the prerequisite before becoming a faux artist. Faux painting experienced major resurgences in the neoclassical revival of the nineteenth century and the Art Deco styles of the 1920s. Throughout the recent history of decorative painting, faux finishing has been mainly used in commercial and public spaces. As wallpaper began to fall out of fashion in the late 1980s and early 1990s, faux painting started to become extremely popular in home environments. Many faux painting methods are simple enough for a beginning home owner to create with a little instruction, making it very accessible for DIYers. 

Each of faux techniques will require different tools and paints. The main running theme though, would be the process of prepping your wall for your faux finish. This is a step that you cannot skimp on. Whatever look you want to achieve, prep work is very important. It is important not to take short cuts on this step, as it will save you a whole lot of trouble having to start over from scratch and waste time and money.

It is recommended that before you begin work on the permanent surface, test the paint on a piece of practice board like a poster board, spare piece of drywall, or anything else. This will give you a chance to perfect the technique before beginning anything permanent that may require you do re-work it all if you err. It will also give you a preview of the colors you have chosen. 


Why Faux Finish?

There are several advantages of faux finish. First, it can be applied over any kind of surface from drywall, masonry, metal or glass.  Even after twenty years, the faux finish will look as nice and warm as when it was first applied.  

Second, a faux finish will hide imperfections like rough walls.  It can make a room look larger or create a cozy atmosphere in a large and impersonal area. Even the plainest windowless event room can become a Tuscany Veranda with open vistas, marble columns and comfortable garden niches.

Of course, faux finish is also a way of creating the mood and atmosphere that you want in a space without breaking the bank. From having faux granite on kitchen countertop without spending at least 3000 to install real granite, to having a warm, cosy leather finish, faux finish will give you at least the closest affect to the real thing. With a bit of practice and some skills, faux painting is something that a do-it-yourselfer can take up.