What are the Different Faux Finishes for Furniture?

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  • Written By: Angela Crout-Mitchell
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2019
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There are several methods for creating unique faux finishes for furniture, including wood staining, glazing techniques, and different painting methods. Each method produces a specific appearance on the surface of the furniture, regardless of the actual material used for construction. Wood and plastic are the most common furniture materials well suited to these techniques. With any faux finish project, the chosen piece of furniture must be properly prepared, cleaned, and thoroughly dried before any paint or glazing application can begin. Other special tools such as sponges, cloth rags, plastic finishing tools, combs, and wood graining tools may be necessary as well.

Wood staining is a popular finishing choice for unfinished furniture, or when refinishing an existing piece. The furniture must first be sanded smooth to create a surface well suited to adhering the wood stain. Many people choose to simply stain the surface as it is, allowing the natural wood grain to show through. If the furniture is made of plastic or resin, it will be necessary to stain the furniture piece and then use a wood graining tool to produce the varied patterns and designs found in natural wood. It is advisable to apply a sealant coat to the finished staining project to ensure the surface remains unmarred.


The many glazing methods for faux finishes for furniture vary greatly and can result in finishes that mimic antique furniture pieces, leather, and many others. Antiquing techniques are performed by applying glaze and, while it is still wet, taking a cloth rag and wiping most of it away, being sure to leave the glazing product in the grooves and crevices of the piece. When dry, the furniture has the appearance of being a bit distressed and much older than it is. To create a leather look for furniture, the wet glaze is disturbed with the use of cloth rags or wadded plastic wrap. For this technique, most specialists suggest practicing on wood boards before applying to furniture.

Other types of faux finishes for furniture include the use of specific tools to produce specialized finishes. Sponge painting or glazing is very popular, and can create random patterns on furniture pieces. A feather is remarkably useful when trying to replicate the appearance of marble. Plastic rubber combs are often employed when a delicate striped appearance in the paint or glaze is desired. Techniques such as color washing, rag rolling, and paint rubbing are other popular options in faux finishes for furniture.


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Post 3

When I remodeled my kitchen, I knew I wanted some type of faux finish on my cabinets.

I wanted something simple and that I could do myself. We were trying to save as much money as possible, and we did most of the work ourselves.

I ended up going with a simple glaze on all of the cabinet doors. A lot of people will spray this glaze on, but I felt more comfortable using a brush and painting it on.

If I had a huge number of cabinet doors to do I would have used a sprayer, but I think the brush gave it a nicer look. I love the shiny, smooth finish the glaze gives the


There are a lot of faux finishes you can use on all kinds of furniture in your home. I have some outdoor furniture that I need to spruce up, and I plan to be a little bit more creative with my painting ideas with this furniture.

Post 2

I am not very artistic or interested in doing home improvement projects myself, but love the finished look! One of my best friends is a great artist and always has creative ideas.

When I was pregnant, I hired her to paint a mural on the wall of the nursery. This was a nursery rhyme theme that would work for either sex and I absolutely love it.

On the walls that didn't have the mural, she used a faux paint finish that added more texture and definition to the whole room.

I don't have the talent to paint a mural, but the faux finish painting is something that looked like it would be easy to duplicate. This type of finish looks much nicer than a plain wall.

Post 1

I found a chair at a garage sale that would look great on my front porch. It needed a little work, but I knew immediately I wanted to give it a distressed look.

I have not experimented with many different painting techniques, but knew this would be the perfect chair to try something new on.

I wanted this chair to look rustic and like it had weathered naturally over time. My husband wondered why I even bothered, but he didn't have any idea of the type of look I wanted.

After my first coat of paint dried, I applied some paste wax in the areas I wanted to look the most distressed, and followed up with a wood glaze.

I have been happy with the results and enjoy relaxing in this chair with a good book. My next project is to find an end table and finish it the same way.

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