Artzenflowers’s Blog

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Friend or ‘Faux’?
Color washing, sponge painting, rag rolling— Whatever you may know them as, ‘Faux’ finishes (pronounced ‘foe’ which rhymes with toe) are quite literally the act of applying a specific technique to any surface which gives the impression of another surface or simply put; making one thing look altogether like something other.

Examples such as faux marble or wood, know as ‘Faux bois’, are found not only in painted surfaces, but also in sculptured pieces and elsewhere as designers continue to embrace the idea of bringing nature indoors.

The art of sculpting faux wood creations out of concrete, such as this bench, date back as far as the 19th Century.

A more contemporary form is found in this ‘faux bois’ rug by Martha Stewart. Often in a grand architectural setting we will see ‘marble’ pillars or tile done by faux artists and are ‘none the wiser’.

A well done faux will truly trick the eye, but a faux gone wrong can become a foe indeed!

Painted walls in recent decades became the recipient of many a novice’s attempt at a faux finish, prompted no doubt by the many television shows touting the DYI option, some decidedly more successful then others.  Memories of these can conjure up enchanting images or cause sudden recoil in reminiscing about that visit to a dear friend’s home proudly displaying his/her efforts at sponge painting that would be better spent on a sheet of paper, even a small canvas better yet; not at all?

Too many of us have ‘been there’ and what does one say when it’s really, really bad? Most friends just smile and say ‘You are so creative!’ rather then being brutally honest and risk hurting a friend. However these moments are all too common, when a Faux turned Foe!

So is it any wonder that the question often arises regarding faux finishes as accent walls or even the simple solid color accent wall, do they still have a viable use in interior décor?

The answer I am, reservedly, happy to tell you is a resounding; Yes!

Light, bright, animated, subdued, aged— whatever mood you want for a room, you can use paint color as well as decorative techniques to help create it. These effects can be subtle, with translucent color layered over a similar shade of opaque paint, or bold and brassy, thanks to new metallic paints.

When in doubt, seek professional guidance to beautifully integrate a fabulous faux into your home or office decor; whether it’s a wall surface or a furniture detail, given the right color & place you can display with confidence!

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Recently I have had numerous inquiries about using colors other then shades of white on ceilings, again refer to previous posts regarding Light, but I want to share with you that in all the design publications, including the newest Benjamin Moore seasonal inspiration publication; Colors for your Home 2009, are showing numerous examples.  

The simple answer; Absolutely!

What color or colors remains open to discussion and driven by the home’s lighting, the color on the walls and your personal taste, but in short, there are no boundries that cannot be breached if done with taste.

One client recently chose to use Golden Delicious 390, rich warm& bright spring green, between the boxed beams in her classic Portland style home with stunning results.

Color other then the classic shades of white on interior trim and moldings is another rule that is being bent if not broken. Tone on tone is carried through with great success by keeping in the same family group shadings. Also adding a punch of a contrast or richer, darker shade to give a built in the look of a “free standing” piece of furniture is also an excellent option.

Chosing shades of color whether on the walls, celings or trim can be previewed on line by accessing Benjamin Moore’s Virtual Fan Decks.



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  • artzenflowers: Hi Loribeth, Thank you for taking the time to view my post and the feed back noted!
  • Loribeth: Interesting info about red. I think it takes a lot of daring to use it in decor...something I don't have a lot of. But I might consider adding little
  • Emmakins: This is so helpful, THANK YOU! I think I will do pashmina in bedroom since it is a cooler color and may not work as well in the main area. Hush throu