How To Give Your Living Room Venetian Plaster Walls

If you want your living room to have a decidedly European feel, you may be thinking of adding Venetian plaster walls to the space. The good news is that you do not have to tear down your drywall to achieve this look. You can instead apply the Venetian plaster over the existing drywall, resulting in an interior, stucco-like finish. Here's how.

1. Buy the right supplies

Visit your local hardware store, and look for 5-gallon pails labeled "Venetian plaster." You will need approximately one pail of plaster for a 12 x 12-foot room. If you have a room larger than this, buy two pails of plaster. You will also need:

  • A large trowel (drywall knives work well)
  • Sandpaper
  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Plenty of rags
  • A drop cloth
  • A paint roller
  • Acrylic indoor paint in your preferred color
  • A paint roller tray
  • Painter's tape
  • A trim paintbrush

2. Tape off the area

Lay drop clothes down on the floor, and seal them to the baseboard with painter's tape. Also tape off along the ceiling. 

3. Apply the plaster

Open your bucket of plaster, and scoop some up onto your trowel. Now comes the hardest part — applying the plaster to the wall. Start at the top of the wall, and hold the loaded trowel at a 45-degree angle to the wall. Drag it across the wall on the diagonal, depositing the plaster as you go. Then, make a second stroke, which should overlap about 1/4 of the previous stroke. Keep repeating this motion, adding more plaster to the trowel as you go. Do not worry about getting the plaster completely smooth. You want to leave it with some texture, as that is the classic look of Venetian plaster.

4. Finish the corners and borders

Once you have plaster all over the walls, you'll want to go back to the corners and sides of the walls. Use your trowels to smooth and even them, again keeping the trowel at 45 degrees to the wall. 

5. Dry and finish the wall

Let the wall dry for at least two days. If you applied a somewhat thicker layer of plaster, it may need three or four days to dry. When you're confident it is stable, you can paint the wall. The easiest way is to first "cut in" the walls, which means using the brush around the edges. Then, roll the rest of the walls. Rollers tend to do a better job of getting in the texture of the plaster than do brushes. Let the paint dry, and enjoy your new wall!