Decorative Dynamos

Somewhere between a gallon of paint and a roll of wallpaper lies a whole slew of interesting, creative options for dressing up your home’s walls. Faux finishing and murals are two such options that can add dramatic detail and a custom look to your home in a cost-conscious way.

“In addition to adding character and texture to walls,” says Mike Intindoli Jr., a Long Island-based decorative painter and owner of Platinum Brush Artworks, Ltd. (, “faux finishes can also hide a lot of imperfections, something a flat paint job cannot do alone.” Intindoli explains that the cost of a faux finish to hide say stubborn marks or nicks on your walls is much cheaper than having to pay for a skim coat, layer or primer and two coats of paint.

A lot of clients tend to choose glazes for this reason. They are practical, easy-to-clean, smooth-to-the touch and can cover a lot of imperfections. Plus, Intindoli says, you can easily work in lots of different textures just by changing your tool such as a variety of sponges or brushes.

One of the more popular, trendy techniques that Intindoli’s clients are choosing is polished plaster. image“This is one of my favorite techniques,” he says. “It looks just like Venetian plaster, but better, actually! Plus, it’s a lot easier to get that high-polished look and a lot less expensive. You’re using only two coats instead of three, as with traditional Venetian plaster.”

Intindoli recommends this finish for giving a column, a door or even a whole wall in your home the look of marble. “When done correctly, this technique just looks phenomenal,” he says. “And, it is nowhere near the cost of real marble.”

Woodgrain is another popular technique that he’s been doing more of—an easy way to transform an inexpensive solid pine wood door. This look is timeless, classic and never goes out of style, he says.

“At the end of the day, no matter which technique you choose, it’s my job to make sure you have something you absolutely love,” he says. “And it has to be at the right price. I make sure to work with all of my clients, offering them lots of options at different price points. Every project has to be beautiful and affordable; otherwise, what’s the point?”

Another popular technique for dressing up walls is a mural. Rob Troise, a self-taught artist and owner of Robert Troise Murals on Long Island ( works with his clients to make sure he not only understands their vision, but also their budgets.

“A mural is something special, it’s more personal rather than just wallpaper or decorative art,” he says. “When I meet with my clients, I spend the time to really get a feeling of what they like, sketch out some ideas and continue to work with them until we have exactly what they want. I want to make sure they are getting the best value possible.”

Troise sees each of his decorative murals as a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork that becomes an extended part of your home and the family. One of his more recent projects, a jungle-themed mural was for a family’s playroom. He spent six days working on the mural in the home, making sure every detail was correct. image“When I was finished, the kids flipped,” he recalls. “They recognized some of the suggestions and input they offered. They loved it so much and were so happy to show it off to their friends.”

The adults that he works with get just as excited. “Instead of just choosing a wallpaper design that everyone else might have for the kitchen,” he says, “My clients call on me to come in and paint decorative foliage or leaves around a windowsill. I’ve also been doing a lot of Tuscan-themed landscapes as well.”

Decorative painting allows you to choose something more personal,” he goes on to say. “I’m always pulling color inspiration from fabrics in my clients’ homes and mixing in some of their personality.”

lauren debellis

A former magazine editor, Lauren DeBellis has been writing and producing stories about home decorating and design for nearly ten years. She resides in East Northport with her husband.