This faux metal paint technique is created with black and gray paint layered to produce a rich patina.
Two shades of silver glazes are crisscrossed over a black base coat and polished to blend the shades.

Dear Debbie;

My partner and I like the look of metal and see that it is very popular lately. What about painting it on walls? Would it be too heavy? We’ve seen metallic wallpapers but would prefer to paint. What would you suggest? Thanks.
— Bernard

Dear Bernard;

This sounds like a truly creative project. Metal finishes work best as a highlight alongside a colour or pattern that adds a bit of softness to the room. Why not break up your walls with a lighter treatment on the upper wall and then fashion a dado of faux zinc sheets around the lower walls? You can choose one shade of metal, such as a steel gray, but I find that is too uniform. Shown here is a room that I decorated with a faux zinc dado by using two shades of mid-sheen metallic silver over a black base coat. Layering these colours builds depth and gives your finish a realistic appearance of light and shadows.

Begin with two base coats of black latex or acrylic paint in a matte or satin finish. Mark off panels that represent the metal sheets, leaving 1/8 inch between panels. Prepare two coloured glazes, each one part silver paint to one part glazing liquid. With a brush apply random strokes of the silver glaze moving horizontally and vertically over the first panel. Apply to 70% of the surface. Add patches of the lighter coloured glaze filling in most of the bare spots and crossing over onto the darker brush strokes. With a clean, dry brush work in horizontal and vertical strokes to blend the colours leaving some of the black base coat showing. With a dry rag, polish the tacky paint, removing more glaze and creating an aged zinc patina. Always keep your strokes linear. Move to the next panel and repeat.

I finished off the dado by painting metal studs around the panels for an industrial touch. First, I dipped the eraser end of a pencil in black paint and pressed it on the wall along the panel edges. Then I used a touch of white as a highlight.

Dear Debbie;

Can you break up walls with wainscoting if the ceilings are low? I have heard that it will make the room feel choppy and also smaller. I’d like to have a country style in our dining room.
— Toni

Dear Toni;

Your choice of wainscoting for a traditional country style dining room is a good one. There are many ways to circumvent the challenge of walls that aren’t too tall. The wainscoting should run about 3 feet above the floor. Wood panels, often raised, board and batton and beadboard are classic materials used to produce the look. A chair rail or carved moulding runs around the top of the panels. Check out your neighbourhood home or lumber store or on line to see the variety of components available. Wood can be left as is showing off the knots and grain of the wood. A light wood such as pine on the lower wall and a pastel shade of paint or wallpaper for the upper wall will open up the room, Paint the ceiling off white or a very pale pink or blue to blend and highlight the walls and your eyes will naturally move avoiding making the ceilings feel lower than they are.