How to Choose a Decorative Painter/Stenciler/Faux Finisher
by Rebecca E. Parsons
Are you longing to make your home a reflection of you and your family? Do you want to create a cozy, warm environment? Do you want to add color but are overwhelmed by the choices? Are you tired of wallpaper or plain white walls? You can do all of these by using beautiful decorative painting techniques. Faux finishing, stenciling, and marbleizing are just a few of the services offered by professional decorative painters today.
Decorative painting can be used in any room, in thousands of exciting and interesting color combinations. Faux finishing can be less expensive than buying and hanging wallpaper in a large area. Stenciling can add interest around windows and doorways. Murals can create a focal point in a room or be used to add architectural elements where none exist. You can create the look of tile without the expense. The possibilities are endless.
It takes knowledge and creativity to decide exactly what type of faux finish, stencil, or mural to use in a particular area. That is why it is good to hire a trained professional.
Hiring a Professional
It is important to educate yourself and become a knowledgeable consumer when deciding whether to hire a professional decorative artist or do it yourself. Having painted professionally for the past 30 years, I have learned that homeowners expect to receive quality service and workmanship from an artist. If you are considering hiring a professional, do a little homework before signing a contract and your experience should be an enjoyable one.
First, request to see samples and photographs of the artist’s work. Next, check the reliability of the artist by asking for several client references and calling them. Ask the references if the artist was dependable, responsible, performed the finishes in a timely manner, met or exceeded their expectations, stuck to the budgeted amount, and would they hire them again. See if they have some public work you might visit.
There are probably several decorative painters who offer decorative finish services in your town. You could make a mistake by hiring an inexperienced artist who is not properly trained in paint chemistry, color theory, or wall preparation. Ask them about their training and background. How many commissions they have completed in the last year. This is not to say you should never hire a new decorative painter, just make sure that they have a solid education and good examples of their work. Check that they are insured and ask to see the insurance certificate. Look at their license(s).
Be cautious of painters promoting themselves as "Certified" or as a "Certified Faux Finish Artist." Ask them what organization awarded the certification. Ask them what criterion was required to attain the certification. They should be able to provide you with the standards and requirements used to judge their skills and a number to call to see if they are in good standing.
Before they start any work in your home, the artist should show you an actual sample of what they are going to do. It should be the exact finish in the exact colors they will use on your wall. This gives the you the opportunity to discuss the project in detail. If you are not satisfied, make them do another sample. You may have to pay for these samples, but they will ensure that you get what you want. Just remember that the sample is a small section of the finished wall. Some variation will occur and is expected in this process.
Another quality to look for in a painter is someone who pays attention to detail. While decorative painting requires creativity, much more is needed to make the job a good one. Most artisans are creative people but what separates the excellent artisan from the poor is the workmanship. Look closely at their photographs, checking to see if the ceiling line, woodwork, and/or corners are neat and completed. It is the small details that ensure a quality job.