Venetian Plaster

The details of a room, like textured or marbled surface, have an amazing ability to make the space unforgettable. Having a colored Venetian plaster finish on your walls, ceiling, or fixtures can create such an elegant feel, without the cost of actual marble. To assist you in getting started or to help you to decide, here is a brief guide to Venetian plaster.

The Basics

Venetian plaster is a finish used most often on walls and ceilings. It is made from a mixture of plaster and marble dust. To apply the finish, one must use a spatula or trowel to spread this mixture on the desired surface in many thin layers. Left alone, this finish will dry to become a matte, rough, stone-like surface that is quite brittle and easily damaged. However, if properly burnished, a Venetian plaster finish will create a highly polished, smooth look with the illusion of texture and depth, and a rock-hard durability. Oftentimes people like to tint or color their Venetian plaster, which can really add to the marble look. This beautiful wall covering is especially useful if you have got a spot that you would like to look like marble, but is too difficult a shape to actually use marble, such as a curved wall or column.


There are many different ancient techniques that are applied to Venetian plaster today. Marmorino is one of the more beautiful styles of application, but has a deeper value than its beauty. Marmorino has the benefit of being both waterproof and anti-bacterial, making it perfect for a luxurious bathroom or pool house, or wherever you need to hold up in wet conditions while still remaining beautiful. Sgraffito may be the technique most appealing to art lovers; for this style, contrasting tones of plaster are layered, and then art is scratched into the surface (the word sgraffito actually comes from the Italian word “graffiare,” which means “to scratch”). Scagliola is the technique that might be used to sculpt with Venetian plaster, for example it would be perfect to create a unique set of columns.

Professional Application

Because Venetian plaster is so difficult to apply correctly, and very difficult to paint, if you do decide to use it in your home, make sure that you contact a professional painting company. Though painting it yourself is certainly possible, the result will just not be as nice and clean, and may have you wishing you had refrained for years to come. An expert application will give this classic finish the look it deserves.