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Luscious Lacquered Surfaces

Apple Green Lacquer WallsChristina Murphy Interiors featured in House Beautiful

The look of Lacquer is glossy, refined and very striking in an elegant way. Lacquer walls reflect light beautifully and the layers draw you in with their depth. The mirror-like reflective quality expands a space and lends an incredible air of cozy sophistication. True lacquer was harvested in both China and Japan and while those original, historic materials are now considered toxic, the modern lacquered wall is usually created with both an eco-friendly high-gloss paint and topcoat. It’s a breathtaking wall paint treatment whose finish is unlike any other.

Red-Lacquer-Dining-Room-WallVia Ashley Whittaker Design

Bright-Blue-Lacqer-WallsDesign by Miles Redd

Black-Lacquer-Feature-WallHome of Jackie Astier

Damask-Lacquer-WallDamask Lacquer Wall via Traditional Home

Traditionally, wall surfaces need to be free of imperfections for a lacquer finish to be successful. The glossiness tends to feature any defect – though many feel that lacquer on an uneven wall lends an air of history and personality to a space. Creating a perfect lacquer finish, however, requires a labor-intensive, repetitive regimen that includes the spraying of multiple layers of paint and varnish on ultra-smooth walls with wet sanding in between. Color is also a consideration as when light tones are used, non-yellowing top-coats will need to be incorporated. When the process is completed, the resulting surface should have a luminous glass-like patina.

Lacquered-Walls-and-Cabinetry-by-Celerie-KembleDesign by Kemble Interiors

Tangerine-Lacquer-CeilingDesign by Jeffrey Bilhuber as featured in Elle Decor

Turquoise-Blue-Lacquer-Flooring-Home-of-Chip-Bohl-in-Metropolitan-HomeVia Bohl Architects

Poison-Green-Lacquer-Ceiling-kips-bay-show-house-2012-habituallychic-thom-filiciaDesign by Thom Filicia as featured in Habitually Chic

Although walls are the most popular surface for a lacquer finish, floors, ceilings and cabinetry are perfect recipients as well. High gloss ceilings have a very artistic feel and tend to make the walls appear taller. When used on a floor or furniture built-ins, the areas take center stage, but maintenance is always a key consideration. As with walls, however, the high-shine effect is unexpected, luxurious and completely charming.

Deep-Turquoise-Lacquer-WallsDesign by Miles Redd

Turqouise-Lacquer-WallsDesign by Melissa Rufty of MMR Interiors as featured in Big Easy Style

Creamy-Beige-Lacquer-WallsDesign by Melissa Rufty of MMR Interiors as featured in Big Easy Style

White-Lacquer-CeilingDesign by Pamplemousse Design, Inc.

The high-glitz style of lacquered surfaces has been on trend for a few years. It’s a design that can be both calming and also have a sparkly verve of pop. Many modern designers use the look to make a sensational statement and most love the bedazzling effect given both day and night. One could also go for a ‘lacquer light’ finish with tone-on-tone glossy stripes or stenciling. Have you been inspired to add a little shine to your space?


  1. What material used for gloss ceilings, walls, ect

  2. Hello, Erma! Once you have a smooth surface (level 5, preferably) you can use a combination of hi-gloss paints and topcoats. Shellac is wonderful as a varnish but you may need to consider an acrylic topcoat with non-yellowing qualities. The best look comes from spraying and wet sanding in between your multiple coats of both the paint and varnish. I would consult local finishing and painting studios for the best materials and course of action after an assessment of the surfaces you’d like to lacquer. We hope this helps – and please share pics! 🙂

  3. Wow . I like that beautiful finish

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