Fake It Till You Make It: Imitating Luxury Surfaces

 toklo equestrian collection cleveland bay

You don’t need to spend lots to get the look of a luxury surface. Plenty of products reproduce the look, without the high cost. Here are some ideas.


Ah, to have an exposed brick wall in my kitchen, wood panelling in my bedroom, and beautiful tile in my bathroom. (My rental agreement forbids me to do anything with my walls or floors, but a girl can dream.)

If you’re big on decor but tight on budget and dream of luxury surfaces for your home, don’t despair. There are plenty of cheap ways to get the look you want without spending a fortune on the actual thing. More benefits: these imitation solutions tend to be temporary, which means that you can change the surface on a whim if you get tired of the look.

Let’s explore the world of luxury surface imitations!

Warm and rustic brick walls

Nothing says “this is a comfy place” like a brick wall. Exposed bricks gives restaurants, bakeries and homes a rustic yet welcoming look that urges you to stay and enjoy the moment. Linked to fireplaces and early 20th century architecture, exposing a brick wall can dramatically change the ambiance of a space.

You can easily get the brick wall look without having to actually use brick. One trick is to install brick wallpaper. Yes, wallpaper has come a long way in the last few years, and can now successfully imitate plenty of more luxurious surfaces.

Traditional Bedroom by Baytown Paint & Wall Coverings Total Wallcovering

The beauty of brick wallpaper is that you can easily install it on large surfaces, which would cost a lot more using other methods. There are also plenty of different textures and colors to choose from, meaning that you can choose the right look for your room without too much hassle.

If you want to add some actual brick texture to your wall, you can use brick paneling or brick veneer instead of a wallpaper. Available in large sheets, you simply stick it over whatever wall surface you have and, voilà, a beautiful almost-brick wall that even feels like brick to the touch.

Modern Living Room by Montreal Interior Designers & Decorators Esther Hershcovich

Another advantage of brick paneling is that you can easily paint it over with whatever color strikes your fancy this season. This is harder to do with brick veneer, so make sure you ask which one is best for your decor purposes.

Sophisticated, design-conscious tiles

If I could design my own bathroom, it would have an amazing tile mosaic inspired by Van Gogh’s Almond Blossom(Just one of my favorite paintings ever). But until the day I can actually knock down the plaster of my bathroom walls, I can get a bit of satisfaction getting what looks like tile, without the bother and cost of actual tile.

Plenty of wallpaper and wall covering makers are now providing bathroom-friendly imitation tile designs, meant to bring out the sophisticated qualities of real tile mosaics for a fraction of the price.

Contemporary Powder Room by Minneapolis Interior Designers & Decorators Eminent Interior Design

Sure, the effect is a little less convincing than real tile, but only when you look at it up close. If budget is an issue for you and yet you want the sophistication of a beautiful tile wall, you might want to try it.

Also, if you look beyond the bathroom and into more graphic types of tile, you might be surprised by what wallpaper and wall covering companies have to offer! Plenty of bold, original designs are available to change the look of your room–without having to install actual tile.

Contemporary Bedroom by East Midlands Interior Designers & Decorators Michelle Chaplin Interiors

Luxurious wood floors

Of course, I couldn’t write this article without mentioning alternatives to wood flooring–which we actually specialize in. If you follow our Facebook page, you’ve seen one of our little “contests”–guessing whether the floor is actual wood flooring, or a vinyl cover. Yes, vinyl flooring can be THAT convincing.

Despite its traditional beauty and value, wood flooring is notoriously difficult to keep clean and maintain–not speaking of the initial installation! But the much easier, budget-friendly imitation-wood vinyl flooring can be a great alternative if you would rather spend your time doing things other than waxing your wood floors.

Eclectic Living Room by London Interior Designers & Decorators Under Foot Inc.

And vinyl flooring doesn’t limit itself to wood imitation: you can also get a beautiful tile impression with high-quality (yet still budget-friendly) tile vinyl floors. Not only are they also easier to clean and maintain than real tile, but it’s also much easier to change the look of your floor if you ever want to redecorate.

Modern Kitchen by St Louis Kitchen & Bath Designers NEXT Project Studio

Who needs the real stuff?

Well, okay, if you really want the real stuff, you should get it. But if you want the look of real luxury surface coverings without its cost, there are plenty of alternatives around. Whether it’s a brick veneer, a tile wallpaper or a vinyl floor, you can have the beautiful luxury look you crave… without the luxury price.

Have you ever used an imitation surface covering? How did it turn out? Let us know in the comments!

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