How do I Choose the Best Faux Finish Paint?

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  • Written By: Rebecca Mecomber
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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Your choice for the best faux finish paint reflects your personal preferences and complements your home's style. If you are applying the faux finish paint yourself, consider also the ease or difficulty in obtaining the look you want. Some faux finish paint applications are easier than others; some require additional, expensive tools to get the perfect end result. Weigh all these options to choose the best faux finish paint for your project.

The word faux is French for "imitation." A faux finish is therefore an imitation of a real finish. For example, instead of purchasing and applying expensive gold leaf to walls, use semi-gloss paint in several bright gold hues.

Applied with a special sponging technique, the faux finish painting appears very similar to the genuine product. There are an innumerable variety of faux finishes, faux painting techniques, glazes, colors and styles. Some of the most common include ragging, sponging with a sea sponge and Old World parchment. A crackle finish, marble finish, wood grain, stenciling and Trompe l'oeil also are popular.


The first step in choosing the best faux finish paint is to select the colors. Take inventory of your home's existing style, noting the mood or atmosphere of the room, the overall design of the architecture and the furnishings. If the house is a formal classical style, consider colors for a marble, Old World parchment or wood grain look. If your home is more casual or country style, then ragging, sponging and stenciling are suitable. Draw colors from furniture, carpeting or other accessories in the room to create a highly customized design.

After colors, the next choice lies in the paint. Most faux finish paints are latex interior paints, because latex paint is easy to apply, dries quickly and cleans up with water. The most common latex faux paint finishes are eggshell paint, flat paint, satin paint, semi-gloss paint and gloss paint. Eggshell and satin paints are the best base coat paints for faux finish painting, because they provide low-luster light reflection and are washable. Wood stain faux finish paint uses a paint base with a gel stain or glaze and special graining tools.

Finally, consider your time and budget. A large Trompe l'oeil mural on the dining room wall would look elegant indeed, but such a technique requires much artistic talent, time and supplies. Besides paint and glaze, the most common tools for faux finish painting include a paint roller, rags and painting accessories. Some faux finish techniques require more elaborate tools, such as a sea sponge, special glazes or glue, feathers or wood grain combs. Take the extra expense and special techniques into consideration when choosing the best faux finish paint for the job.


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