Choosing a Mural Artist or Faux Finisher

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, although price may be a key consideration, there are other factors that determine value, and only you can decide which of these are important to you.

You can think of choosing a mural artist or faux finisher as rather like choosing a mechanic. How do you know who's going to do a good job, what is a fair price, and how will you tell whether they've done a good job anyway?

The chances are that 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?
Do you feel comfortable having them in your home?
Are they helpful?
Does their portfolio and their approach 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?
Will they be doing the work themselves, will they have helpers or will others be doing the work?
How will they protect your possessions while they work?
Is their price comparable or if it's significantly different do you understand why?

When it comes to the price you might expect to pay, buying a mural or a faux finish is much like buying anything else. The bigger and more detailed a mural, the more colors and complicated a faux finish and the more area you want covered, the more you can expect them to cost. But, unlike with manufactured products, the quality and appearance of a faux finish, mural or decorative painting are dependent on the experience and ability of the individual artist.

As there are no industry standard guidelines for pricing either faux painting or murals, the same project painted 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. This goes back to the original point: do your due diligence.

While it may be tempting to settle for the lowest bid, it can be worth asking the vendors to explain why the prices differ and take that into consideration before making a final decision. As my realtor friends tell me, when buying a house most people are looking for a deal, but they'd rather pay more and get what they want than buy a deal which is almost right and subsequently wonder "What if?".

Regardless of who you end up choosing or how you make your choice, at the end of the day, you are the only person who can determine whether you're happy with the finished project and whether you feel like you got your money's worth.

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