Interior wall plaster is often overlooked when we think about decorating our walls.
There's so much available in paint finishes or wallpapers that we automatically take those solutions into consideration first.
Also, plaster is usually looked on as a temporary surface. Once it has been applied we leave it to dry, and then paint it or cover it with wallpaper, tiles, or some other exotic covering.
But don't immediately rush to cover up your interior wall plaster. There's a lot you can do with it to give your room an interesting finish.
Plaster can look good on its own
Old fashioned interior wall plaster was applied to a wire mesh on the walls. The plaster itself was made from a mixture of lime and wet sand. Because the mesh could be formed into different shapes, it was a good way to get a curved finish if desired.
Modern plaster mixes are somewhat easier to deal with, but you still need quite a bit of practice before you can get anything near to a uniform finish. If you have any doubts about your ability, it would be best to employ a professional.
Whatever type of plaster you use, it's usually left to dry for anything between three and six months. Then the surface can be painted or papered.
But natural plaster has an attractive creamy pink finish, and can often look perfectly acceptable left as it is. The plaster looks even better if it's given a coat of sealant or is wax-polished.
If you want to get a different color, it's possible to mix a coloring agent in. But again, this needs some skill to achieve a good result.
Textured and smooth interior wall plaster
If you want a bit more of a texture, you can use marble or metallic powder. To get a rougher finish straw, wood chips or sawdust are often used.
On the other hand, if you don't want a texture but would prefer a very smooth finish, the best way is to burnish it with kaolin. This is used to whiten porcelain, and when you rub it onto plaster it gives it a really white gleaming finish.
Italian plaster finishes
The more popular of the Italian finishes is Venetian plaster. This is made from a number of ingredients including marble dust. The original idea was to provide a less expensive way of getting a marble look.
You'll probably be able to find a professional decorator who has learned how to use Venetian plaster. The technique has become much more popular in the last few years.
Today you can even get faux Venetian plaster in different colors, and it's not too difficult to apply, so with a bit of practice you could even do the job yourself.
There are many other companies who supply plaster and tools. Vasari videos seem to us to be the best produced and illustrate what you can achieve.