Although there are websites that quote square foot prices for faux painting (I’ve seen prices from $2.25 to $8.00 depending on the finish and even came across a Craigslist ad offering “Faux finishing services $8.00-$200.00 a sq. Foot”) it’s worth remembering that the square foot referred to is wall area not floor area and that prices vary quite significantly depending on the region. One site for a Chicago company suggested: “A good rule of thumb is that faux finishing a room will cost four to six times more than hiring a professional painting contractor to paint the same room a solid color.” That may be true in Chicago, but in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area my experience is that the differential is closer to two or maybe three times as much. Again this is dependent on the actual finish required, the specific wall, room or home to be painted and, of course, the contactor’s price you’re comparing it with.

The same site also went on to explain that among the reasons for the higher cost is that faux finishing takes more time and requires a different kind of skill to “ensure that there are no “dry lines” (overlap marks) or “picture framing” (too dark or too light around ceilings, floors and corners).”

Another site has an interesting formula for arriving at a faux painting price: Start with a base of $2 and then add different amounts depending on what kind of finish you want. you can do the computation on their Faux Painting Prices page.

There’s a company in Fort Lauderdale that gives an actual price list – pretty rare – which you can see at Faux-it Yourself. While the pricing seems a little low in some cases and a little high in others, they’re a good starting point – basically $2.25 and up.

I estimate prices based on a site visit and a discussion of options and preferences. The price I estimate is the price I charge, unless significant additions or alterations are made by a client. My faux finish prices are largely determined by the size of the area to be painted, the number of colors or applications involved, the quality of materials, the degree of difficulty of the required finish and how easy it is to prepare and access the areas to be painted.

Mural prices, while similarly influenced by size and site preparation and accessibility, tend to be more dependent on the level of detail required. It’s not how big the area is to be painted, it’s the level of realism or not that is wanted.

A 12′ by 9′ mural can take as little as a day and a half if all that’s required is a very loose image. Or it can take as long as it needs, if a highly detailed rendering is desired. The longest I have spent on one mural was 9 weeks – for an 8′ by 10′ powder room including the ceiling – and on a faux finish, about 6 weeks for a whole house. While I’ve completed several other time intensive mural and faux finishing projects, I’ve also faux finished 6′ columns for less than $200, average sized powder rooms for under $600 and painted murals from $300.

When it comes to the price you might expect to pay, buying a mural or a faux finish is much like buying anything else. If you want a Mercedes S Class you can expect to pay a lot more than if you want a Ford Focus. The difference is though, if you can only afford a Ford Focus, it will still get you from A to B – whereas if you only have a small budget for a mural or a faux finish, you may end up with something that doesn’t give you the effect you want.

So, is buying a mural or faux finish also like anything else in that you get what you pay for?

Well, yes and no. The bigger and more detailed the mural, the more colors and complicated a faux finish is and the more area you want covered, the more they will cost. They will take longer to produce and may require more costly materials. So in that sense, yes, you get what you pay for.

But, unlike with manufactured products, quality and finish is dependent on the skill, experience and ability of the individual artist. So the same project produced by different artists for around the same price could have a vastly different appearance and quality of finish. And the same project estimated by different artists for widely different prices could result in very little difference in appearance or quality at all. As the website examples given above demonstrate, prices vary not just by region, but by attitude, expertise, expectation and the level of value artists give to their work.

To use the car analogy again, choosing an artist is a lot like choosing a mechanic. How do you know who’s going to do a good job, is it a good price, and how will you tell whether they’ve done a good job anyway? Bottom line is, you choose someone who is recommended to you, you find someone you feel good with by trial and error, or you fall back on the manufacturer’s dealership.

Similarly, when choosing a mural or faux finish artist, the only way to feel comfortable with your decision, if you don’t have a referral from someone you trust or you don’t know someone whose work you’ve actually seen and admire, is to compare your options. Do you like them; would you feel comfortable having them in your home; are they helpful; does their portfolio give you confidence in their abilities; do they take the time to understand what you’re trying to achieve – to address your concerns, to discuss possibilities and options.

Choosing a mural or faux finish artist is personal. They’re going to be working in your home, possibly for some time, and unlike with many service providers, what they will be doing will be very visible and reflect on your taste and sense of style. Ultimately, while price can be an issue, there are other factors that determine value, and only you can decide which of these are important.

Click on the image below to pick up a complementary copy of my ebook which will help guide you to making a decision.

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For more information, to see my portfolio, request a free consultation or estimate, or simply to ask a question, contact me – Doug Morris: 480.232.9778 | doug(@)fineartdecor.net.

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