Below is a list of techniques, types and motifs used in faux finishes and decorative painting with a short description of each.
Aluminum Leaf: Aluminum leaf is used as an alternative to silver leaf for its excellent luminosity, beauty and cost effectiveness.
American Clay: Much like Venetian Plaster, American Clay is a troweled on natural, stone-like veneer made from natural clay, sand and organically sourced pigments.
Antiquing or Aging: A technique intended to give the appearance of age or wear.
Borders: Stenciled and hand painted borders are used to soften the edges of rooms and ceiling lines and add interest to the space.
Brocade stencil finish: A highly decorative stencil is applied in flat sheen paint over a broken color finish in a satin sheen. The stencil is repeated in a pattern, giving the walls the appearance of “brocade” fabric.
Burnished Venetian Plaster: A decorative Venetian plaster that when burnished creates a polished stone surface.
Canopy or tented ceiling: A trompe l’oeil painting on ceilings depicting the inside of a canopy or striped tent.
Celtic Murals: Murals inspired by Celtic traditional art and design.
Cement Plaster Finish: A faux finish using Venetian plaster to achieve the look of cement.
Chevron Pattern: A variation to the zigzag pattern, having the shape of a V or inverted V, made of flowing stripes that peak on opposite sides of the line of symmetry.
Children’s Murals: Baby nurseries and children’s rooms are perfect places to apply murals, either on the walls, ceilings or floors. Themes can vary from a circus tent, African savannah, and the stands of Fenway Park to a fantasy mural with castles and fairies.
Color Blocking: The use of usually bold and bright blocks of solid color in order to make a bold statement.
Color Wash/Old World: This finish creates the illusion of an old Tuscan plaster effect. By applying multiple layers we can create depth and movement and a hint of drama.
Combing: A technique of pulling a toothed “comb” through wet paint. The comb can be made of a material such as: rubber, metal, leather, plastic or cardboard.
Concrete Paint Finish: A faux finish using paint to create the look of concrete.
Conservatory Style Mural: A mural, often times on a ceiling, depicting an iron trompe l’oeil conservatory framework with a sky mural background.
Corroded Metal Finish: A faux paint finish to give the appearance of rusted and corroded metal.
Cross-hatch or Basket Weave finish: A technique of dragging a toothed “comb” through wet paint in both vertical and horizontal directions to achieve a “basket weave” appearance.
Damask: Damask faux finish is similar to “Brocade” in that a stencil is repeated over a broken finish background. Damask also has contrasting sheens. Usually the background is applied with a metallic paint and the stencil pattern is applied in a flat sheen paint, or vice-versa.
Design: A sketch drawn to scale on grid paper, representing the final layout of mural composition.
Distressed: A a term used to describe a decorative paint finish that gives the appearance of age and wear.
Etched Stone: A Venetian plaster artistic finish that Arteriors created, with a distinct, organically etched appearance.
Exterior Sign Painting: Traditional painted signs for exterior spaces, using hand painting and stencils.
Factory Worn Paint Finish: A custom aged and distressed finish depicting wear and tear from use, similar to what would be found inside of an old factory.
Fantasy Murals: Murals depicting non-realistic images and themes.
Faux Bronze Finish: A bronze metallic paint finish to mimic the look of bronze.
Faux Finishes: French word meaning “fake or false”. Technically, wood-graining, marbleizing, or other painted finishes that are replicating a natural material are faux finishes. However, this term has become an umbrella name to describe all painted decorative finishes.
Faux Wood Grain: Also called “Faux Bois”, faux wood grain is a paint technique that replicates various wood grains, such as oak, walnut, mahogany or even weathered barn board.
Fresco: An ancient mural technique using wet pigments as paint on un-cured plaster. Faux fresco is a mural technique that gives the appearance of an aged and weathered fresco using contemporary paint products.
Garland Painted Border: A traditional style hand painted design using a garland pattern stencil, often used to accent a window, doorway or an architectural feature.
Gilding: The application of metal in any form (gold or other metallic leaf, metallic foil, metallic paint, metallic powder, etc.).
Glazing: Process of applying a tinted, but transparent paint over a base coat to create a softly modulated, watercolor effect. The darkness of the base coat and the number of layers of glaze applied can create a rich saturated appearance and works well in dark reds, blues and greens.
Grisaille: Architectural trompe l’oeil painting done in monochromatic colors suggesting solid form, perspective or decorative plasters motifs.
Harlequin Diamonds: Harlequin diamonds are painted in a pattern in either subtly contrasting colors or sheens and can also be applied in a subtractive paint finish, creating a classic and elegant appearance.
Hospitality Design: Interior design for hospitality venues such as restaurants, hotels, casinos and event spaces.
Hudson River School Style Murals: Landscape murals inspired by paintings done by Hudson River School artists- a term used to group these artists together. Featuring Hudson River area painted landscapes of New England, the Berkshires, Hudson River Valley area and then later branched into the Western Rockies.
Industrial Chic: An interior design style that incorporates industrial like surfaces such as cement, rusted and corroded metal and other various finishes.
Interior Sign Painting: Traditional painted signs for interior spaces, using hand painting and stencils.
Landscape Murals: A mural that depicts the outside environment including the sky, the foreground and distant horizon line between the land or sea and sky.
Man-Cave Style: An interior design style with masculine appeal, usually with rustic surfaces such as barn wood, cement and often times focused on spectator sports and with sports themed décor.
Map Murals: Hand painted murals depicting any kind of map.
Marbleizing: A faux finish that creates the illusion of marble.
Marmorino Plaster: A natural Venetian plaster surface that is porous and has an organic feel.
Metallic finishes: Decorative finishes that use metallic paint in various techniques over other painted finishes. Golds, silvers and bronzes are used over different colored base coats to create the appearance of antique gold, burnished bronze or shimmering silver.
Mica Infused Marmorino Plaster: A natural Venetian plaster surface that is porous and has an organic feel, which is infused with mica, flecks of sparkling stone.
Mirror Gilding: Metallic leaf gilding that is adhered to the surface of mirrored glass.
Monochromatic Landscape Mural: A traditional landscape mural style in which the imagery is depicted within one color family and uses shades of the color to create highlight, shadow and dimension.
Murals: A mural is defined as a painted picture on a wall or ceiling.
Ombre Finish: A wall finish that gradually changes in shade from dark to light or vice versa.
Oxidized: A thin greenish layer that forms on copper or copper alloys, such as bronze, as a result of long exposure to the elements and often valued aesthetically for its color. It gives a surface appearance of something grown beautiful with age or use.
Paint Sheen: All house paints and glazing liquids have different sheens and can affect the success of certain decorative paint techniques. They will also affect the final look and appearance of the room. Paint sheens vary from flat (a non reflective, dull finish) to high gloss.
Patina: A thin dark glaze that is added to a finish on woodwork or painted furniture to lend the appearance of age
Pigments: Material mixed into paint bases to create paint colors.
Rustic Glam Style: An interior design style that mixes rustic surfaces like barn wood, cement and weathered finishes with textural and modern color accents such as faux fur, brass and crystal.
Sample: The finish that is to be painted on the walls or ceiling is painted on a section of wall or on a board to show the client what the final outcome of finish will be.
Silvered Barnwood Finish: A faux woodgrain technique that is slightly 3D and is applied with paint. The top surface is dragged with a silver metallic glaze.
Sketch: Preliminary drawing of proposed mural painting.
Skyscape Murals: A mural that depicts mainly a sky.
Stencil: A tool used to apply a repeated image or pattern by dabbing paint on a commercial sponge or stippling brush over the negative space cut out of a sheet of mylar or stiff oak tag.
Stone block: This is a trompe l’oeil technique giving the painted surface the appearance of a stone block wall.
Strie: A technique used for achieving a subtle mix of fine stripes (or brush strokes) by pulling a dry, stiff bristled brush or rubber comb through wet paint.
Stripes: Stripes are applied over a basecoat or faux finished surface in a width suited to the scale of the room. Stripes can be applied with a subtractive technique and in a subtly contrasting sheen creating a soft and rich effect.
Texture: Paint finishes create various degrees of 2-dimensional texture by adding or subtracting gently contrasting color paint in the techniques described above. 2-dimensional texture adds warmth, character, and depth to an interior.
Tortoise Shell Finish: A faux finish used to replicate the distinctive pattern and rich colors of real tortoise shell.
Trompe l’oeil: French expression meaning, “To deceive the eye”. A painting technique in which an illusion of depth and reality is created by emphasizing highlights and shadows. In art, trompe l’oeil is defined as a ‘still life deception’, a painting able to make the viewer believe that an object actually exists in 3D space, in relief. It also means illusion, a deceptive appearance, eyewash or camouflage, in short ‘Fool the eye’!
Venetian Plaster: Involves the application of pigmented limestone and marble dust to create the look and feel of authentic stone.
Veneziano Plaster: A refined decorative Venetian plaster that when burnished creates a polished stone surface.
Weathered Finish: A finish having the appearance of abusive exposure to the elements.