Metallics making a comeback—and a statement

by inPAINT

The director of marketing and public relations at Faux Effects International, Inc., and a decorative-finishes applicator for more than a decade, Rebecca Slaton can trace the rise of metallics back to the early 2000s.

“Back then, it was all about old-world finishes,” she says. “People were really hungry for that earthy, sort of raw feel with lots of visual interest. The trend then migrated back to flat walls with lots of neutrals and grays. Now, a decade later, people are missing the interest and impact those finishes provided.”

And, as Slaton notes, “The quickest way to create impact is with metallics.”


According to Slaton, the shift to metallic integration began with walls. “You saw a lot of gray walls being infused with silver metallics. That evolved into antique golds—almost brass finishes—which provide both contrast and warmth.”

The move to old-world grandeur has continued to evolve and gain momentum, now embracing polished gold tones and making appearances on ceilings in virtually every room of the home.


Tom Henman of Decorative Painting, LLC in Lancaster, PA concurs.

“Honestly, metallic ceilings are all I’ve done for the past two weeks,” he says, “Ceilings are through the roof.”

Henman, who sees an equal interest in metallics among both his commercial and residential customers, thinks ceilings are the ideal place for the shimmering treatments.

“Metallic ceilings can really open up a room or space, as they reflect a lot of light. Plus, they look different from every angle, which makes them just a treat for the eye,” he explains.


Henman says the majority of his customers have no idea how many metallic finish options exist. To help with the selection process, he shoots videos of almost every project he completes and posts them to his website and social media.

“You want to shoot the room from every angle so you can show how the light plays from each, and show the effects different finishes have. If it shimmers, show it,” he says.

For added effect, Henman tries to capture customer reactions to completed projects. “If you can capture that ‘reveal moment,’ well, it just makes it. Plus, it’s really gratifying.


Both Slaton and Henman are big advocates of faux finish education for pros.

“When you’re working with metallics, there’s a lot that can go wrong,” says Slaton. “You want to be sure the prep is right for the desired finished effect and you also want to know how the coating handles, so you don’t end up with seams.”

To master products and techniques, Henman regularly participates in training. “There are some good online courses but I think the best bang for your buck—and time—is hands-on experience. Until you’ve actually worked with a coating, you really don’t know what you’re getting into. And you don’t want to learn that lesson on a project where a failure could cost you some serious money and your reputation.”

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