Thursday, October 14, 2010

"What Were They Thinking Thursday!!??" - Faux Finish or Faux Pas?

Faux finishing paint techniques have been around a very long time and are even still popular today. However, all too often that faux finish becomes a major faux pas.

Just like anything else in interior design, faux finishing needs to be very thought out and intentional. The style of the faux finishing needs to go with the style of your house. For instance, if you have a very americana country dining room, you shouldn't have a tuscan plaster faux finishing technique on the wall. It just doesn't go. Faux finishing must be intentional in it's design and add to the overall concept of the room, not distract from it.

Faux finishing is meant to be an imitation of the genuine article, it's meant to look like the real thing. That's why it is called faux. You don't want people thinking you were just too cheap to put tile on the wall so you painted it instead. You want it to be realistic looking.

Let's take a look as some really bad faux painted walls.

They couldn't afford tile

Get a look at that fake ivy coming out of the wall. Classy.

This is just ugly.

This doesn't add anything to the space. It has no intention.

This has too much movement for a small space and the color is drab. They would've done better to just stick to a solid relaxing color on the walls.

This just looks like a toddler got hold of a sponge and some orange paint

If you were meaning to make these cabinets look horrible and falling apart then you should give your faux painter a bonus because that's exactly what you got!

Oh the small places of exposed brick. Yes, people will really think you have a brick wall behind that sheet rock.

Marble technique with fake wainscoting. Everything about this room screams fake!

Your guests can imagine they are taking care of business in the middle of an old villa with crumbling walls and palms. I know that's where I always wish I could be when I go to the restroom. Yes, let's reminiscence on the days before indoor plumbing while we use our modern day commode.

And if that isn't enough, you could always be in an African jungle where those pesky monkeys always seem to make off with your last roll of toilet paper. Dang those monkeys.

I spy another creepy monkey.

Some people don't need to take vacations. They can just step into the kitchen and do the dishes.

Apparently whoever built this house could only afford a few new walls so they had to keep just one really old one. At least that's what it looks like when you only faux finish one wall.
Enough with the fake brick. She is not a brick house.

Although I do not like faux finishing, yes I am from the sort that think Faux is just a fancy french way of saying fake, there are some jobs that are done better than others.

These walls are nice and subtle.

This is a great example of being intentional with the faux finishing. This technique blends with the overall design of the room. It doesn't stick out and be the first thing your eye looks out.

A modern approach to faux finishing.

I do love this. Fresh and relaxing with a very very subtle faux finish.

I am still against faux finishing but I have to admit that there are some good looking ones out there. Call me a snob but I always think the real thing is better, true for walls and true for handbags!

So what is a faux painter anyways? By definition alone, it is not a real painter. Feel free to disagree, I look forward to your comments.



Jessica @ Counterscapes said...

Whoa. There definitely are some bad examples here (see picture #6), but honestly I wouldn't have known that the first pictures wasn't real tile. I can't judge someone for wanting the tile look on a paint budget when I shop at Ross. :)

I am not a huge fan of the faux-greenery coming out of the walls, but to each his own, I suppose. I do want to say that my mom used the sponge technique in their foyer with a deep red and a little gold. I always thought it looked great and matched their decor.

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Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree there are many examples of inappropriate or poorly executed faux finishing. The poorly executed examples are the fault of the faux finisher, the inappropriate examples are often the homeowners fault. I am a professional faux finisher and have been painting my entire life. I take a great deal of pride in my work and have an education in interior design as well. Oftentimes a homeowner will "fall in love" with a certain look from Italy then want to recreate it somewhere in their home with no thought of how it integrates into the rest of the home. From a professional standpoint, this is maddening! The other thing that frequently happens is that they don't think things all the way through. Example, I have a client who has white white trim but wants a "Tuscan" faux finish on the walls and to leave the trim stark white. Wrong. They don't go together. She chose appropriate furniture and fabrics but I will phase her into the faux finish including the trim so that it blends with the rest of the house. Everybody wants "Olde World" because they think it makes their home look more expensive, but a poorly executed faux finish just looks cheap. And I am sorry you don't like faux finishing/decorative painting because when it's done well, it's absolutely beautiful and can truly enhance the overall effect of a well executed room. I also use it as a way to be environmentally responsible. It's a way to breathe new life into an otherwise outdated piece. Example: I had to buy a new fridge, loved stainless, but my other black appliances are good. So I gave them a stainless steel finish to match the fridge. They all blend and nobody can tell the difference! Check out my website at

Brandy said...

I feel your pain. Many times the client makes these critical mistakes against our professional advice. I certainly think there is a need and place for faux finishing. I am fondly reminded of Pompeii. I love your beams, brown marble and the peacock especially!! Brandy

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