Discover the dramatic appeal of shimmery lacquer finishes.
As the craze for color continues, designers are expanding the concept with lacquer-finished walls. Lustrous and dramatic, the treatment can enliven a room with texture and pizzazz. And it's not a fad -- the look has a storied past, and it's versatile enough to mesh with any décor. Here's why you should consider adding a little gloss to your interiors.
It's cherished by the experts.
Lacquer passes the ultimate style test: Designers use it in their own homes. Jan Showers never has to convince clients of the treatment's merits, once they've seen the powder room in her Dallas town house. "It's black lacquer and has black marble tiles with white veining on the floor," she says. "People always say, 'What a little jewel box!'"
It's classic and glamorous.
While some wall treatments have become dated -- think of the sponged and rag-rolled walls of the early '90s -- lacquer is timeless. "It's a throwback to Billy Baldwin's apartment for Cole Porter at the Waldorf Astoria," says New York designer Miles Redd. "He had chocolate lacquered walls with brass bookcases."
It's sure to suit your style.
"It's been around long enough that it doesn't come with any decorating baggage," says New York designer Markham Roberts. Lacquer complements both traditional and modern décor. "You can use lacquer with a chintz sofa, or you can go with very graphic pieces," says Los Angeles designer Suzanne Rheinstein.
It's versatile and color-friendly.
"People think of deep colors -- brown, aubergine, and deep red. But it's beautiful in light colors, like gray-green or white," says Rheinstein. And lacquer's mirrorlike finish is dazzling around the clock. "It looks beautiful in daylight and in candlelight," says Roberts.
It's potent in moderation.
"If you use it on a ceiling or in a small area, it works well," says Showers. Lacquering a large space can be expensive, but clever designers have found alternatives. In this kitchen, multiple coats of red high-gloss exterior paint did the trick. In her dining room, Rheinstein layered a simple paint glaze for a comparable effect. "And, there are vinyl wallpapers out there that give you a similar sheen," she says.