One of the easiest faux painting finishes is faux brickwork. It can add interest to a dull flat wall or drab concrete surface, either in the home or in the garden or patio area. The great thing about it is that reusable stencils, easily available from many retailers, make the job really quick and easy, even for beginners.
An uninteresting floor or wall can become an eye-catching feature with a brick finish makeover. Indoors, the unpainted brick look is trendy and modern with the warm colors of brick complementing other decorating styles. Outdoor spaces can also be enhanced. Brickwork (especially aged brickwork) has a soft, warm appearance whereas plain, untextured concrete floors can be stark and ugly.
Using brick stencils is useful if you want to extend existing brickwork without the effort, expense and mess of actual construction. (And you may not be able to find bricks that match.) Brick stenciling is also an alternative to restoring existing brickwork. Brickwork that has been damaged or previously painted is notoriously difficult to restore but can be rejuvenated with clever use of paint.
The Pros and Cons of Stencils
Especially if you’re new to faux painting, brick stencils have many pluses and few minuses. In some cases (for example, if you need to match existing brickwork) you may have to mark out your design manually, or create your own stencil to match what you already have. If you can buy a stencil to suit your purpose you will save a lot of time. The only real downside of stencils is that their fixed size can create problems with corners and edges (especially curved edges, for example around a circular or arched window).
Brick stencils come in a staggering array of different designs, with different brick sizes and paving patterns. Choose your design carefully to fit in with the room or surface you plan to transform.
Make sure that the scale is in proportion. Consider the space available. You may not want large bricks in a small room or small blocks in a bigger space. The size of the brick is one factor influencing the degree of texture that results. Some manufacturers offer customizing and re-sizing of stencils.
Also consider how the pattern will match your architecture, décor or space. Modern home with clean lines may invite a plainer, more geometric pattern. That could be simple rows, but a herringbone design can also look neat. Circular or swirling patterns can soften a space with hard lines, or complement older architecture, rustic décor or traditional gardens.
Have Some Fun with It
Brickwork doesn’t have to be reds and browns. Other colors can simulate brickwork that has been painted over. You can also choose between a clean, new brick appearance or create a soft, aged look by using paint techniques to create a distressed effect. Stencils are the core of the process but you still have other fun options to choose from to create your ideal look.