Adding Luster with Lacquer


Sometimes, when a room needs refreshing, adding a little shine is the perfect remedy. Whether you decide to go all out and commit to lacquered walls or prefer a smaller scale transformation via a glossy trim, the lustrous result is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. We asked Jenny Brown of Jenny Brown Designs in Chicago, Illinois for advice on how best to incorporate lacquer into our everyday lives; here are her recommendations:

  • Hire a professional. Lacquering walls is not for the faint of heart, and even the most die-hard DIYer might be getting in over her head with this one. Prep work is key to making sure the walls are perfectly smooth and shiny, and there are multiple sanding steps between each coat of paint. The process is very time consuming—and easy to screw up. If you do try doing it yourself, make sure your vents and windows are closed or you will see specs of dust in the finish!
  • Use high quality paint. This is key to getting perfect, even coverage. Fine Paints of Europe makes a good paint for this—it’s pricey, but worth it!
  • High gloss lacquered walls are impossible to patch, so I would avoid putting them in a high traffic area, like a small entry vestibule where bags and boxes might scratch the walls. However, lacquered walls will have high impact in a small room like a powder room or a bar.
  • Consider painting the trim and doors to match the walls. Alternatively, keep the trim white and paint the doors in a contrasting color (such as black, or another fun hue). Along those lines, if you are hesitant about going for full-fledged lacquered walls, lacquered doors look very cool, too.
  • In terms of color, I think jewel tones lend themselves well to lacquer for the walls, while pale colors look great on ceilings (avoid putting dark colors on ceilings unless yours are high!).

Expert tip from Jenny Brown Designs in Chicago, IL. Featured interior by Melissa Miles Rufty of MMR Interiors in New Orleans, LA.