Patterned Faux Finish

from Paint Décor
Enhance a large room with a bold faux finish. This example is strong and sophisticated, but it can easily be adapted for a kid’s room or used as a soft bedroom décor.

A Vine Line

Problem: A large light-filled dining room that looked cold and sterile.

Solution: Flood the room with color, texture, and pattern.

“It’s a large room that needed to be pulled together to make a big statement,” artist-designer Brian Carter says. “A small pattern would not have worked. Pale colors would not have worked. It needed to be dramatic. The vines and leaves gave the room the organic quality that it previously lacked.”

Carter took inspiration from the colors in the chair seats, painting the walls above the wainscoting an opulent red. Next, he used chalk to draw gently curving vines that stretch from the ceiling to the chair rail. Using chalk allowed for adjustments in the design; spacing the vines 15 inches apart left room for large abstract leaves. “There is lots of room for variation in the design,” Carter says. “The pattern should have a hand-drawn look, not perfection.”

Once the design was established, Carter used his artist’s brush to paint over the lines with a golden-tan color. After the paint dried, he stood back and scrutinized the result. “It’s important to get the pattern down before adding the texture and glaze,” he says. “You are bound to make a mistake. This way, you can touch it up or even paint over a section and do it again until the pattern is squared away.”

Textured glazing was Carter’s final touch. He used a short-bristle wallpaper brush and dark brown glaze to give the walls pattern and depth. By applying the glaze horizontally, then vertically, he was able to achieve a look that replicates linen. “The pattern on the wall reads completely differently after the glaze. It looks like the pattern is woven right into the background color. It has more depth and sophistication,” Carter says. “Done in different colors and without the glaze, the same design could be very playful and whimsical. This gives it a sense of age and makes it feel established and substantial.”

Gather Your Supplies
  • Benjamin Moore eggshell-finish latex paint: #2081-20 Sultan’s Palace and #2152-40 Golden Tan
  • Tape measure or yardstick
  • White chalk
  • Artist’s brush: flat
  • Clean, lint-free rag
  • Raw Umber liquid pigment
  • Benjamin Moore latex glaze
  • Shallow pan
  • Short-bristle wallpaper brush

Start to Finish
1. Paint two or more coats of Sultan’s Palace for the base coat.
2. Starting at one corner of the room, use chalk to mark vertical points every 15 inches from ceiling to floor. Connect the first set of points with a curving line, alternating the curves to the left and right of the points.
3. At the second set of points, draw a curved line that is roughly parallel to the first one. Repeat all around the room to create vines.
4. Using the photograph, left, as a guide, draw leaves onto the vines. With an artist’s brush, paint the vines and leaves with Golden Tan. Let the paint dry overnight. Wipe off any excess chalk marks with a damp cloth.
5. Mix the Raw Umber pigment into the glaze to create a dark brown color. Pour the mixture approximately 1¼4 inch deep into the shallow pan.
6. Dip the tips of the wallpaper-brush bristles into the glaze, and drag them horizontally across the wall. Reapply the glaze until the wall is covered in horizontal stripes. The bristles should leave uneven stripes that resemble the threads in linen fabric. Let the glaze dry. Repeat, running the brush vertically. If necessary, adjust the ratio of pigment to glaze to get the desired color and contrast. Line up the rows as well as possible, placing the breaks at different points for each row.

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