Lacquered walls are on the decorating scene for ages, but they are white hot these days. There’s something magnetic about that inimitable patent leather shine — it seems elegant, classic, glamorous and unexpected all at once. It is a terrific method to ratchet up the drama and add another layer of depth to a space.

Composed of insecticides and resin, lacquer has a special property that yields its liquidlike sheen: Implementing a new coat on top of one that has dried will dissolve the resin from the dry coat. Thus, the different coats melt into one another to make a flawless surface and a smooth gleam. Lacquer dries fast into a very tough, durable finish, making it ideal for high-traffic rooms.

What do you consider lacquered walls? Can you give them a whirl? Tell us why or why not in the Remarks!

Branca, Inc..

Dark colors look most dramatic. Black, charcoal, navy and other shadowy hues have an inherent glamour and mystique that lacquer amplifies 10-fold. The gloss of the finish combined with the thickness of the color creates a spectacular contrast. Although lighter shades look lovely in lacquer too, the effect may be subtler.


Imperfections will be magnified. When you intend to lacquer a surface, make sure it’s in impeccable form. Even barely discernible bumps, nicks and ripples will stand out sharply, emphasized by the sheen. You might have to skim coating walls, patch divots, fix unevenly taped drywall and more.

Hint: Hold a flashlight parallel to the wall and then perform with the beam slowly over the surface to pinpoint imperfections.

Anthony Baratta LLC

Lacquer generates electricity. Light reflecting off that shiny surface calms the pulse of a space, so be cautious about using lacquer in bedrooms and other areas in which you might prefer to unwind. The red walls within this living area were so high octane to begin with; lacquer kicked them to overdrive.

Elizabeth Reich

In a similar manner, a normally restful lavender color roars to life under its shiny topcoat. Lacquer may be an perfect choice for smaller spaces such as this, adding dimension and depth.


Costs for lacquering accumulate fast. Not only if you factor in labor and supplies for routine prep, but good-quality lacquer is expensive, as well as notoriously difficult and time consuming to employ. It is generally sprayed , rather than brushed or rolled, which may stipple the end. Which brings us to the following point…

Lea Bassani Design

You will want professional assistance. True lacquering isn’t considered a DIY-friendly job. It is tricky to spray on lacquer properly, and the fumes are highly flammable and rather toxic. In certain areas, it’s against the law to employ lacquer without adequate space and ventilation.

You can approximate the appearance by applying several coats of high-gloss paint or adding a layer of varnish or polyurethane as a top coat (understand that this will make your wall color look slightly darker). While this will not replicate lacquer’s sheen exactly, it’s a fantastic compromise if you don’t have the funds or inclination for the real thing. Fine Paints of Europe also produces a lacquer-finish paint, though it’s very pricey.

It is also possible to start looking for a vinyl background that has a lacquerlike finish. 1 line we like: Phillip Jeffries’ Lacquered Impact wall coverings.

Rikki Snyder

Lacquer reflects neighboring items. Lacquer’s intense shine gives it a mirrorlike quality, so make sure the setting it reflects is attractive. By the same token, it begs to get striking lighting to set it off.

In this area, the ceiling pulls the colors of the art, the design of the drapery panels and the glow from the chandelier upward, creating a lovely illusion of height.

Works Photography Inc..

Similarly, this lacquered wall reflects the shoji screen–style door and allows light to reverberate around the space.

Lacquer isn’t the lowest-maintenance end — it seems best when it’s kept pristine, but dust and finger smudges can build up fast. Dust walls after a week with a rather soft, lint-free cloth such as microfiber, or use a feather duster. To remove smudges, wipe the walls down with a soft cloth soaked in warm water and then wrung out until only moist, then follow with a dry cloth to remove any residual moisture.

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