Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Faux Finishing : "Do-it-yourself" or "let someone do it for you"... that is the question

You need to ask yourself, am I the 'do-it -yourself-er ' or the 'I love it, but want someone else to do it' kind of person -

Whichever type of person you are, faux finishes can add a great customized look to your home and make it unique, a real expression of your style.
Whether you choose to do flat paint or faux the walls, the idea of painting still stands.... it is the easiest, quickest and most of the time, the least expensive way to update a room!

SPECIAL TIPS for the Do-it- Yourself-er:
  • blue tape is your best friend with faux finishing. Always tape the ceiling when doing the walls, right at the corner where the ceiling meets the wall. This will allow you to get into the corners at the ceiling so that there is no white or missed spots - When you see missed spots in a line at the ceiling, it is a sure sign that the faux finish was done by an amateur. Blue tape can also be used to create a unique look, like artwork on the walls.
  • have the right tools, and the right size tools ( this is most important with sponging and ragging, to get into the hard to reach corners for a consistent look!)
  • cut the sponge or rags to different sizes to allow for those hard to reach, smaller spaces, like next to the door frame when it is in the corner.
  • have different styles of paint brushes, those used in fine painting come in very handy for veining, when doing a marble finish and for just touching up color into corners that are difficult to get to. If the paint peels off the wall when you are taking down the blue tape a small paint brush can be used to touch in the original color. ( I am sorry to say that this sometimes happens!)
When considering doing the work yourself, the question to ask is how much time do I have, am I willing to take the risk of trying something new, am I willing to get my hands ( and clothes) dirty?

SPECIAL TIPS to consider when hiring a faux finish artist:
  • talk to your friends, whose home have you seen a finish you love. Get recommendations of painters they have used. Collect a few names. Local paint stores may also be a great source in finding a painter.
  • set up a consultation with the artist, review their portfolio, ask for references, and understand how they conduct their practice.
  • understand how the artist will charge you. many faux finishers charge differently for their work. Some may charge a consultation fee to help you choose the color palette and then a fee for the actual painting; others may give you a flat rate for a room. Some charge for the paint, others include it in the flat rate. It is best to have this understanding up front.
  • ask if they will provide 'sample boards' of the finishes they are recommending, in the colors you have chosen. This is important, as they may have a sample board of what a wash or ragged off finish looks like, but once you determine the "style" of finish, (the technique that you like) and the colors you want to use, you should receive a sample of that finish, in your colors. Remember to place the sample board in the room and look at it during all different times of the day and night to see how it reacts to your lighting. You can always ask your painter to lighten or darken up the finish depending on how your want the room to feel.

Hiring a professional is definitely the easier way to get the finish you want, and to have total control. Be prepared, it can cost you - faux finishers are artists after all, and the finish they create is a work of art that will make your home unique!

Whatever you decide about just who does the work, be careful with faux finishes, you can overdo it! You want the flow of your home to work. When each room complements the other it creates a harmonious feeling. You do not want to create an atmosphere where every room is faux painted because it can become too busy. The colors and techniques of the adjacent and visible rooms (rooms within eye shot) must be considered when making these choices. Whether you are redecorating your entire home or just one room, the best way to decide if the colors you are choosing for each room work together is to make a color scheme for your home on paper using paint chips on one palette. This will give you the visual picture of each room and how the colors all look together.

These are great tips to consider when determining if you want to take on the project yourself, or hire a faux finish artist. Faux finishing adds a unique appearance, one that is exclusive to you and your home. As the colors and technique used are as different as snowflakes!

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