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The "Key" Blog

6 Incredible Faux Finishes for 2021

6 Incredible Faux Finishes for 2021

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Faux finishes can create unique effects that are achieved through different painting techniques. Faux finishes look to mimic the…

“real deal” and are a great way to add tons of character to any paint project. Here are some of the best faux finish techniques you can use for your next painting endeavor.

Color Washing

Color washing is one of the most popular faux painting finishes and is a relatively easy effect to achieve. This faux finish is created by applying a glaze over a painted color on a wall. It is crucial to make sure you have the right tools and supplies for the job, including primer, paint color of your choosing, glaze, and brushes, sponges, or rags, depending on your desired effect. Color washing provides a beautiful and subtle finish for any room.


Marbelizing faux finishes add the upscale look of marble without the heavy lifting (literally) or the large price tag. To achieve this look, your base coat of flat or satin finish paint is applied, and layers of glaze are used overtop to mimic the appearance of marble. A rag or sponge can be used to create the look of the “patches” within natural marble, and a small brush is used to mimic the thin lines or veins. Marbelizing is a great way to add interest to furniture, mantles, or walls.

Rag Rolling

Rag rolling creates a soft, weathered finish similar to color washing. The effect is achieved through the use of glaze and a rolled-up rag over a base color. Once your base color is applied, place your rag in your glaze color of choice and roll it over the walls. This process creates a look similar to stucco and can be used for large or small areas.


Concrete faux finishes are a more advanced technique that adds a sleek industrial feel to the space when applied to walls. To achieve this finish, a base coat of white is applied, and an underpainting is placed using a mix of warm and cool tones of paint to add natural highlights and shadows within the finish. Next, a grey glaze is applied with a plaster knife in horizontal lines and blended with a rag to soften. The final effect is a clean concrete finish that mimics the real thing.

Wood Grain

Wood graining faux finishes mimic the appearance of natural wood grain and can be replicated using a graining tool. Once the base coat of paint or glaze is applied, the graining tool is pulled along the wet surface to create the wood grain effect. It is important to wiggle and rock the tool randomly to create the knots and inconsistencies that appear in the real thing.

Strié Painting

Strié paint techniques use small lines of color to achieve a soft fabric-like appearance. This effect is made using a dragging method with a brush and glaze over a base coat of paint. Your base coat is applied and left to dry. Once dry, the glaze of a complementary color is applied over top, and a brush is dragged through the glaze in long vertical strokes. The outcome is an effect similar to wall hangings or fabric wall treatments without the upkeep or expense.

To learn more about using faux finishes for your next painting project, contact us.

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