painting and decorating what is faux painting

Painting and Decorating Techniques: Faux Painting

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Faux painting became popular in classical times, where artists would apprentice for 10 years or more with a master faux painter to get recognition and awards for tricking viewers into believing their work was real. Faux painting remains popular throughout time experiencing reappearances in the neoclassical revival of the nineteenth century and the Art Deco style of the 1920s, mainly used in commercial and public spaces.

Faux Painting 101

What Is Faux Painting?

Faux painting or faux finish is a term used to describe a wide range of decorative paint techniques. For instance, some people paint a wall to make it appear as if it’s made of stone or brick. “Faux” means “fake” in French. People may use faux painting because it’s cheaper than using the materials the paint is trying to mimic.

In Classical Times, Faux Painting Became Popular

The most recent comeback of faux painting was during the late 1980s and early 1990s when wallpaper began to lose its popularity. At this time, faux painting began to emerge in homes, with high-end homes leading the trend. Many painters and artists began faux painting services and businesses during this time but most of these painting techniques are simple enough for homeowners to create themselves.

Fun Fact: What we generally think of as faux painting in interior design and decorating began in Mesopotamia over 5000 years ago with plaster and stucco finishes.

Modern Day Faux Painting

In modern-day faux painting, there are two major types of techniques used. A glaze painting technique that requires the use of a translucent mixture of paint and glazes applied with a brush, roller, rag, or sponge, and often mimics textures, but it’s normally smooth to the touch. Plaster application is the other technique used in faux painting that can be done with tinted plasters, or washed over with earth pigments, and is generally applied with a trowel or spatula. The final product can be flat to the touch or textured.

Types of faux decorative paint techniques include:

  • Color washing
  • Rag rolling
  • Strie
  • Linen weave
  • Mottling, Old World color washing, or tea stained
  • Venetian plaster or other plaster effects
  • Metals and patinas
  • Crackle or weathered effect


Also known as fake, false, imitation, simulated, artificial, bogus, dummy, ersatz, factitious, imitative, man-made, mimic, mock, pretend, sham, substitute, synthetic

Common misspellings: fuax

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