Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A silver frame of mind

Silver leaf is one of the most versatile finishes. Because it reflects the surrounding area, it can look many different colors, including gold. Turn on a few lights and the whole wall or ceiling changes. It is a perfect backdrop on which to paint a single flower or a detailed mural.

Silver leaf may also not be what it appears to be. If the squares are 5.5 inches, then the leaf is actually aluminum. In fact, most of the silver leaf you see is actually aluminum leaf, made out of pure aluminum. If real silver leaf were to be used, the squares would measure 3.75 inches and would have to be sealed immediately to prevent tarnish. If the conditions are right, it can even tarnish overnight, before the sizing underneath is dry and cured. 

Traditional Home  Photo by Werner Straube

Designers Here and There by Michele Keith Photo by Simona Aru and Luca Guarneri

A fabulous silver leaf fireplace
Traditional Home    Photo by Werner Straube

Glowing and reflective: this silver leaf screen was also painted. 

Please forgive me. I cannot find the manufacturer's name!  

Silver leaf used on furniture details.

Traditional Home   Photo by Werner Straube

Gold and silver leaf work beautifully together here.

 Traditional Home   Photo by Werner Straube

The limed oak floor (covered here) in the chevron pattern is striking, wouldn't you say?

Here is an aluminum leaf backdrop in schaibin form- bits and pieces of all sizes, rather than squares. The photo on the left has over-stained gold leaf squares in the narrow panel; the photo on the right has a narrow panel with glass bead striae over silver metallic paint.


  1. I want that bathroom in the first picture. I would love to gold leaf my half bath's ceiling. I have these fabulous dark chocolate walls... It would be dreamy! And that chandi in the last pic, I am sure it is a Julie Neil piece.

  2. I think that the silver leaf in the first photo was also glazed or shellacked to give it that umber look. Gorgeous with the chocolate brown- the perfect amount of lightening up the room without a white ceiling.

  3. Ann,
    I am nuts about this post! I looked at last night, but was buried in work when my kiddies went to bed that I forgot to come back to visit and leave a comment. Silver leaf is fabulous when done right, as shown in every photo your featured! Yes, I do answer your question on my comments section today. Hmmm...why do you ask?

  4. Lisa-
    Just curious. I have several sisters in the Boston, NH area and they are getting ready to design some rooms.

    I'll pass along the info to them.

  5. Gorgeous, gorgeous. Love that ceiling in top photo. Trish